What did the Romans ever do for us? Who remembers that old chestnut from the Monty Python classic, The Life of Brian. So what the hell has this got to do with the recently introduced re-use standard for used electronic and electrical equipment, PAS 141…….Answer – bugger all! Not entirely true. Let’s explore the aim and requirements of the standard to see how it could benefit end users, manufacturers and the recycling industry.
What is PAS 141?
It is a standard for the preparation of used waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) for re-use to ensure that the equipment has been repaired and tested to a minimum acceptable level. Records of the results of these tests must be retained by the refurbisher of the equipment. These can be in paper or electronic format. Clearly, refurbishers operating recycling software with workflow capability should be readily able to satisfy these requirements.
What are the benefits of PAS 141?
The introduction of the PAS 141 in June 2012 is one of a number of certification standards that have recently been implemented in order to introduce best practise in EEE treatment and encourage re-use. It is hoped that PAS 141 will also provide wider benefits including:
- Implement a baseline quality level for recovered products
- Raise consumer and corporate confidence levels in re-use
- Ensure that re-used products are safe to operate
- Reduce percentage of WEEE being disposed of in landfill
- Reduce level of illegal exports of WEEE
- Reduced carbon impact in that re-use typically results in significantly lower lifecycle emissions that recycling (20x according to UNU)
- Encourage job creation associated with re-use and recovery or recycling
For the recycling industry, PAS 141 certification should provide a significant differentiator that will give manufacturers, retailers and compliance schemes a level of comfort that their UEEE (used electronic and electrical equipment) is being processed properly and not illegally exported.
Key requirements of PAS 141
The standard sets out to define a minimum acceptable level of processing steps to ensure that REEE (re-used electrical and electronic equipment) is in fact suitable for re-use. The standard calls for each asset to have a unique identifier and to be tracked through each stage of the re-use process. Organisations operating track and trace recycling software will be ideally placed to cope with this requirement. Hmmm! Wonder where we could get that from…..click here if you’re man (or woman!) enough!
Inventory segregation is also a must to avoid cross contamination of UEEE, REEE and WEEE…..with the right software system and disciplines this should be eeezy J
Not surprisingly, those of us who’ve been involved in setting up warranty returns processes within manufacturers repair centres will be pretty familiar with the requirements. This should also serve to give consumers and business a level of comfort when buying re-used equipment from certified suppliers. Some industry experts actually argue that in many cases buying re-used equipment is a much better bet than purchasing new for a whole host of reasons including cheaper, burned-in, environmental etc. For more insights on buying new vs used computers check out this informative blog by Joe Wilcox.
These steps typically include:
Visual Inspection – identifying any obvious product damage and focusing on key susceptible or known issues depending upon the product or model
Safety Test – typically this is facilitated by applying a PAT (portable appliance test) test to ensure that the product is electrically safe
Functional Test – to ensure that product fully meets the original equipment manufacturers (OEM) functional requirements
Data Eradication (data carrying assets only) – ensure that any data storage devices are wiped using a government approved software
Software removal/uploading – any unlicensed software must be removed otherwise the software license should be provided
Cleaning – ensuring that the product is suitable to be presented for re-use. Removing any asset tags, labels and stickers
Other requirements are product or category specific.
WRAP has published a set of protocols as reference guidance to companies seeking to implement proper re-use and recovery processes and attain the standard.
Who administers the scheme?
Valpak was appointed by BIS as the PAS 141 Scheme Administrator in March 2012 and will work with a Technical Advisory Committee to ensure the roll out of PAS 141 in the UK
So, all good stuff! Suggest that the extremely professional ITADs and WEEE recyclers reading this should add PAS 141 to their New Year list of standards to get along with ADISA certification. And if you happen to have the We3 AMS track and trace software…….in case you haven’t noticed this is where I’m about to sell to you…..I think I’ve done pretty well, that’s over 600 words of informative content without trying it on…..anyway back to the story in hand. If you happen to have We3 AMS track and trace software then you’ll know that you can easily create workflows for each of the specific required processing steps. You’ll automatically have a detailed audit trail and reports showing the unique asset identifier, who tested or processed it, when it was processed and the result. You’ll be able to manage your separate inventory locations and you’ll also be able to see who the re-used asset was sold or shipped to. Result!!!
Right, that’s the sales piece over with. Here are some links to useful resources that you might want to check out:
WRAP protocols – http://www.wrap.org.uk/content/re-use-protocols-electrical-products
Get the standard – http://shop.bsigroup.com/en/ProductDetail/?pid=000000000030245346
Scheme administrator – Carys White, Valpak, (email: carys.white@Valpak.co.uk ; tel: 08450 682 572).
As part of the official launch of PAS 141 BIS are holding an event on 27 February 2013. The event is kindly being hosted by the RDC at their Braintree facility – the largest IT recycling site in the EU with a keynote presentation from Mat Crocker, the Head of Illegals & Waste at the Environment Agency. To register call 08450 682 572 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Get a free 30-day trial of We3 AMS today! We’ll even help you to create your PAS 141 workflows