Research published in time for the introduction on 1 January 2007 of European legislation to regulate the recycling of electronic waste shows IT professionals are ill prepared.

Over half of the businesses questioned by law firm Eversheds had yet to put a scheme in place to dispose of electrical waste. This is despite the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive (WEEE) Directive mandating all those involved in business-to-business sales of electronic equipment to join an approved scheme by 15 March 2007.

A huge 73% of in-house IT professionals still either have no idea what their obligations are, or need more information than is being provided at present. And 75% of them believe costs to their businesses will increase as a result of WEEE, while 55% believe that they will be paying higher prices in future from suppliers.

Jane Southworth, senior associate in the Regulatory Group at Eversheds told CIO organisations must update procurement policy and educate those who enforce it, as well as define exactly what assets come within the new law’s scope.

She said businesses are supposed to meet the same recycling targets as producers and keep records of equipment disposal or replacement. And illegal dumping could result in prosecution by the Environment Agency.

Other recent research by analyst group Gartner estimates the cost passed onto IT departments from manufacturers and retailers could be as much as 40 Euros (£27) per PC.