How to correctly dispose of WEEE waste

What is WEEE?

WEEE stands for Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment. This term covers most electrical products that are battery or plug operated. This includes products such as:

  • Hard drives containing sensitive information.
  • IT and telecommunications equipment such as monitors, servers, keyboards and printers.
  • Household equipment such as TVs, radios and video cameras and musical instruments.
  • Electrical and electronic tools such as drills, sewing machines and nail guns.
  • Solar panels
  • Lighting equipment such as straight fluorescent lamps and compact fluorescent lamps.
  • Medical devices such as dialysis machines, ventilators, monitoring appliances and radiotherapy equipment

 

You can find a comprehensive list here.

Why is WEEE recycling important?

In the last 10 years, technology has evolved very quickly. We are now surrounded by amazing smart-phones, tablets, TVs, laptops and other gadgets that we use on a daily basis. The dark side of this is the fast technology turnaround that it creates, resulting in a large amount of obsolete products that end up in the landfil.

Not only does this lead to waste cannot be reused, it also has to be transported and takes up a lot of space. Furthermore, it can result in harmful metals soaking into landfill soils and polluting water supplies.

How do I get rid of unwanted WEEE?

Households and businesses in the UK throw away an estimated 2 million tonnes of WEEE goods each year. As a result WEEE recycling has turned into a specialised field within the waste and recycling industry. It is a fast developing sub-sector, thanks to the 2006 WEEE Regulations. These regulations have the objective of limiting the amount of WEEE and their harmful components ending up in landfill. 

Under the WEEE regulations, householders have a duty to dispose of their electrical waste in the correct manner. This means that if electrical or electronic equipment has a crossed out wheelie bin symbol on it, you should not dispose of in your household bin.

There are a few different ways to safely dispose of unwanted WEEE including recycling schemes, confidential waste collection and council recycling systems.

1- Retail return recycling

To avoid WEEE being disposed off incorrectly by consumers, the 2006 WEEE regulations stipulate that producers and retailers are responsible for collecting, repurposing or disposing of electrical and electronic equipment brought back by businesses and individuals. This means that distributors have to offer to consumers a take-back system where WEEE items can be disposed of free of charge. Retailers and producers will recuperate your WEEE free of charge and will also take old appliances when you are purchasing a new one.

2-Council Recycling system

Another way to dispose of WEEE is to bring your unwanted technology to your local recycling centre for free disposal. You can find more information on your local council’s website, as the services offered will depend on your local authority.

3-Professional WEEE recycling service

If you have a large amount of WEEE waste that needs to be correctly disposed of then you can contact a waste management company. Here at Flexible Storage, we offer ad-hoc as well as regular collections from offices or home offices to dispose of confidential waste. This includes electrical equipment, sensitive documents and data tapes. To find out more about how we can support your business, please contact our team.

If you wish to learn more, the Department for Innovation and Skills has issued Government Guidance Notes (PDF) that provide more information on the WEEE Regulations.

Christmas Decoration and Seasonal Storage

As Christmas comes and goes, one of the biggest hassles can be storing Christmas Decorations and Seasonal goods! Using external storage solutions may be a way to help you optimise your space from year to year, only having your decorations around through the festive period. We have put this blog together to help you understand the benefits of using Christmas decoration and seasonal storage out with your property.

Christmas Decoration and Seasonal Storage for Businesses

If you are a business with a physical location, it is likely you will have a large tree. Along with this, there will be baubles and other ornaments to hang on the tree. Additionally, you might have other decorations around your office, store, restaurant, or other commercial property. These can take up a lot of space when it comes to storing them year-on-year!

As property prices in London and the South-East continue to rise, space becomes increasingly valuable. Using off-site self-storage solutions has become a popular way of optimising business space and storing Christmas decorations efficiently.

One of the most important factors to consider when looking into off-site self-storage solutions for Christmas decorations is flexible and cost-effective contracts. This helps keep margins as low as possible with the option to adapt as your business needs change. At Flexible Storage we give short-term rolling contracts which help keep costs to a minimum. You can also rent storage units when required, which is cost-effective for seasonal decoration storage. Our storage facilities also offer high levels of security, which gives you the peace of mind that all items are safe.

Christmas Decoration and Seasonal Storage for Personal Use

Christmas decoration and seasonal storage for personal use can become very difficult. This is especially true if you don’t have an attic or other large area for storage in your home because Christmas lights, artificial trees, garlands, and baubles can take up significant room. Many of us have experienced trying to cram everything into a cupboard at the start of January, hoping the pile won’t collapse and fall out on top of us!

One way that you can store Christmas decorations for your home is through flexible self-storage options. This means that you don’t need to think about decorations for the majority of the year, only having them in your property when they are required! You can then use your space efficiently, keeping hold of the items you need on a regular basis. Additionally, all items are held securely with effective measures in place to prevent damage or theft.

Another option you have for Christmas decoration and seasonal storage is grouping together with some friends or neighbours. You can then share the cost of a storage unit throughout the year. This is a great way of keeping your costs even lower!


If you are interested in Flexible Storage providing you with Christmas decoration and seasonal storage, please do get in touch. Our consultants will help you assess your storage needs and put together a cost-effective quote. 

A Guide to Storing Medical Files 

Storing medical files securely is essential, and there are a number of regulations which must be met. Mistakes can be damaging to your organisation and the patient. We have put together a guide to storing medical files in order to help you understand the best practices.

Length of Storage for Medical Files

The minimum length of retention for storing medical files can vary depending on their purpose.

In the UK, physical GP records must be kept for the patient’s lifetime and 10 years after the death of a patient. Furthermore, electronic patient records must not be destroyed or deleted for the foreseeable future.

The length of storage for hospital records in the UK has more variation. You need to store most hospital records for 8 years after the conclusion of treatment or death. Exceptions include maternity records, which must be kept for 25 years after the birth of the last child. Files for children and young people are to be stored until the patient’s 25th birthday or 26th if the young person was 17 at the conclusion of treatment, or 8 years after death. Furthermore, mental health records are stored for 20 years or 8 years after the patient has died.

It is important to note that there are different regulations for storing medical files in Scotland.

How to Store Medical Files

Most medical files are now stored online. However, there are many cases where storage of physical, paper copies are also a requirement. For example, the Lloyd George medical records.

Because the nature of medical files is highly confidential, strict procedures must be in place. One of the most important legal regulations to follow is the UK GDPR and Data Protection Act 2018 which sets in law how to handle personal information. Other legal regulations include Public Records Act 1958 and Local Government Act 1972, Freedom of Information Act 2000 and the Health and Social Care Act 2008. The Records Management Code of Practice 2021 provides comprehensive details on all requirements for storing medical files.

Where to Keep Medical Files

It is possible to store physical and digital medical files both on-site or off-site. Storing files off-site is often the most practical option, as you save physical space and file management is made very convenient. You can then easily access digital files from a secure digital platform.

Off-site solutions such as Flexible Storage must ensure that there is a full inventory of what is held off-site, and a disposal log is kept. They also must apply retention periods to each record and show evidence of secure disposal of records and information.

Protecting Medical Files

In order to meet legal regulations, precautions must be taken to keep files confidential. One of the major benefits of storing medical files off-site is the high level of security. At flexible storage solutions, we use steel storage units to store medical files. Protection against fire and water is important to ensure the files are not damaged. Additionally, files must have 24-hour security and surveillance to prevent theft and vandalism.


If you are looking for more information about securely storing medical files for your organisation, get in touch with one of our professional storage consultants today. We will create a quote based on your medical archive storage needs. 

What do I need to do with my practices old medical records?

What do I need to do with my practices old medical records

Medical practices in the UK are required to store medical records for long periods of time, which can make storage a bit of a challenge, especially for smaller practices. NHS standards mean long periods of retention for most medical records including notes, medical records and legal documents in case they are needed in the future.

How to decide which records to dispose of and which to store?

As mentioned above, most medical records are required to be stored for long periods of time, so it is vital you correctly identify which documents can be disposed of and which require storage.

Categorising paperwork is the easiest way to begin the process of deciding what can be disposed of and what needs to be kept. Any materials that can be categorised as financial, meeting minutes or marketing material should be able to be disposed of without hassle. We do recommend utilising a certified confidential waste disposal service when disposing of and shredding to ensure you maintain patient confidentiality and comply with GDPR policies.

Patient records are usually required to be stored safely and accessibly for the duration of the patient’s life, and in some cases for up to 10 years after death. You can use a range of government tools to cross-reference information including the government’s Will and Probate Search. If you are a small practice, it is likely you won’t have the physical storage space to safely store all documentation. This is why we offer medical archive storage as well as providing you with medical storage boxes also known as ‘Lloyd George’ storage boxes.

Can Flexible Storage Solutions store my practice’s old medical documents?

Yes, here at Flexible Storage we offer medical archive storage solutions to make the storage of your documents simple and reduce the amount of paperwork stored on-site at your practice. We store medical records using Lloyd George records boxes, these boxes have been used for years in the UK and provide secure storage of confidential medical records and documents. 

Our team have years of experience safely and securely storing medical records. Our file management system is fully GDPR-compliant and gives you online to access to manage and retrieve medical documents stored at our facility from your desk.

Can Flexible Storage Solutions destroy my practice’s old medical documents?

At Flexible Storage, we offer a confidential waste service, meaning that we can indeed dispose of any obsolete medical documents. We can facilitate the secure destruction of your confidential medical waste through our fully licensed, GDPR-compliant partner. Our service guarantees that your documents will be professionally shredded, and each destruction will come with full certification for peace of mind.

To find out more about our medical archive storage and medical confidential waste disposal services, contact our team.

Why should I use a confidential waste disposal service for my business?

Confidential Waste Disposal Service For My Business

As the UK slowly moves towards a new normal and many begin their gradual return to the office, it may be time to consider how you dispose of your confidential waste and whether there is a more efficient way to do so. This blog will outline the reasons why a confidential waste disposal service could be the right solution for your business.

Our business has decided to introduce hotdesking, how can we implement a clean desk policy?

Although restrictions in the UK have started to lift, many businesses are still choosing to limit the occupancy of their office to allow for social distancing and to minimise contact. Many staff members are now working to rota systems and hotdesking with the rest of their team. Hotdesking comes with many benefits as well as some flaws, one of those being the need for clean desk policies. Gone are the days of leaving your files on your desk or in your desk drawers, this is where a confidential waste disposal service can help.

Flexible Storage Solutions’ confidential waste disposal service includes collection of confidential waste. Your confidential documents will be collected by a member of our vetted team in one of our GPS tracked vehicles, for complete peace of mind that your documents are being transported securely. Confidential documents will then be sent to our licensed waste management partner for secure shredding. 

As an added bonus, your documents will be recycled and turned into toilet paper that is used across the UK. So not only will our service help implement your clean desk policy, but it also helps your business comply with any environmental and Corporate Social Responsibility policies you may have.

Once your documents have been securely disposed of, you will receive certification of destruction.

Can you assure me that my documents are in safe hands?

We understand how important it is to know that your confidential documents are being handled correctly. That’s why all of our staff are fully vetted, and DBS checked, our vehicles are GPS tracked, and we implement a number of policies to ensure confidential waste is dealt with securely.

Our processes are fully GDPR-compliant, and Flexible Storage Solutions is both ISO 27001 and ISO 9001 accredited. You can find out more about the ISO 27001 and ISO 9001 accreditations in our blog, read it here.

How often can my confidential document waste be collected?

At Flexible Storage Solutions, we know things don’t always go to plan, so offer both a monthly and ad-hoc confidential waste collection service. By offering both monthly and ad-hoc collections, we can tailor a confidential waste collection service that suits your business’s needs. We also supply confidential waste bins, so you won’t need to interact with any other company apart from the team at Flexible Storage Solutions.

If you would like to discuss how our confidential waste disposal service can support your business, please contact our team on 0800 652 1117 or complete our online contact form and our team will be in touch. 

Is Archive Storage a good option for Probate Lawyers

Archive Storage for Probate Lawyers

Despite much digitalisation of the legal professional, some aspects still require traditional letters and paper documents. Research by Exizent revealed that 80% of probate cases require a minimum of 10 letters to be sent whilst 33% of probate cases require up to 50 letters to be sent to parties involved. 

With so many letters and pieces of paperwork being sent backwards and forwards, it is no surprise that the probate industry is very paper heavy. Archive storage is a great solution for legal professionals in the probate industry, and here’s why.

Space-saving

Many legal professionals have made the decision to downsize their offices or move to remote working as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. A smaller office, of course, means less storage space. This is a challenge for those working in probate as so many documents need to be stored during the probate process and with some probate cases taking years to resolve, this can cause a big problem. 

Our archive storage offers a secure facility to store important documents. Whether you are a small legal firm that requires a couple of boxes or a larger firm that requires many more, Flexible Storage Solutions can help. Our archive storage service also includes indexing of documents and file management, so should you require documents stored in our archive facility, we can access them quickly for you.

Regulatory compliant

For those working in the legal profession, compliance with data and privacy laws is of upmost importance. Our archive storage service complies with GDPR regulations as well as data protection laws. We pride ourselves on the safe and secure storage of any documents in our care when utilising our archive storage service, and to provide further peace of mind, all of our staff are security vetted.

A bespoke archive storage service

As a legal professional, your job is stressful enough without having to think about where to securely store your clients’ documents. Flexible Storage Solutions can take care of every aspect of archive storage. Our team can collect, index, and store all your records and documents in our secure archiving facility. We also offer an online file management service that will provide you with full access to manage and retrieve documents via our website. 

Archive storage is a great option for those working in probate, particularly as probate documents are required to be retained for a minimum of 16 years. To discuss how Flexible Storage Solutions can support your business with our archive storage service, please contact the team on 0800 52 1117 or use our online contact form. 

How do I know my documents and data are protected?

How do I know my documents and data are protected?

Here at Flexible Storage Solutions, we have years of experience storing and managing confidential, sensitive documents and items. To give you complete peace of mind your documents and belongings are in safe hands, we have detailed each of the steps we take to ensure the highest security standards below.

ISO 27001and ISO 9001 accredited 

What is the ISO 27001 accreditation? The ISO 27001 accreditation is an internationally recognised best practice framework for Information Security Management Systems (ISMS). The accreditation demonstrates that a business is run to the highest information security standards and has taken the necessary steps to protect against potential threats. ISO 9001 is a Quality Management System with clearly defined business processes. The ISO 9001 accreditation demonstrates that a company is committed to providing products and services to a defined, high standard.

Flexible Storage Solutions is proud to be ISO 27001 and ISO 9001 accredited, proving we have extremely high standards when it comes to safely storing and managing our customer’s documents and data.

Fully GDPR compliant

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDRP) came into effect in 2018, businesses are required to store and protect data in line with these regulations. We are fully GDPR compliant across all of our services including document storage, management and destruction. At Flexible Storage Solutions, we take all the necessary precautions and procedures to ensure your data is always protected.

Secure storage facility

Our storage facility is both water and fireproof, the units we use are made from 2mm thick steel and are protected by hardened steel locks. Our premises also have the highest security standards with security alarms, 24 hour CCTV surveillance and on-site staff to ensure protection 24/7 for all items in our care. We also use a secure code system that allows customers to access their storage units using a unique code that can only be used by them.

Vetted staff

To provide you with greater peace of mind, all of our staff have been security vetted and DBS checked. Every member of staff at our facility from our drivers to admin team, have been through rigorous background checks. We also provide our staff with full professional training in accordance with GDRP and security regulations.

If you would like to find out more about the protocols in place to protect your documents or items, or if you would like to enquire about our services, please call the team on 0800 652 1117 or use our online contact form.

Preparing to return for the office after lockdown

Preparing to return for the office after lockdown

For many of us, it has been a very long time since we were last in the office. Covid-19 has meant the majority of the UK workforce have turned kitchens, bedrooms and garden buildings into home offices. As restrictions begin to lift and we begin to return to some form of normality, there are a few things to consider when preparing to bring your team back into the office.

Space

As your employees return to the office, some form of social distancing is likely to remain in place and as a result of the pandemic your team are probably going to want a little more distance between them and their colleagues. 

The needs for more space between desks could leave you with surplus furniture, of course you won’t want to dispose of the furniture so you will be looking for storage. At Flexible Storage Solutions we offer secure self-storage at our storage facility. Our storage facility is fire and waterproof, has 24/7 CCTV surveillance and on-site staff giving you complete peace of mind that your furniture is safe and secure, ready for whenever you may need it.

Destruction or storage of confidential documents

A return to the office means there will be confidential documents on site once again, it is paramount that documents are stored or disposed of correctly. This is particularly important for those in financial, legal and medical sectors. 

At Flexible Storage Solutions we offer a range of options to ensure your documents are handled correctly. We offer a complete confidential waste disposal service that includes a scheduled or ad-hoc collection from your office, secure transfer of your documents for destruction and a certificate of destruction. Our confidential waste disposal service is fully GDPR compliant and all of our staff are vetted and trained to the highest standards. We also offer confidential waste bins with flexible contracts to support the implementation of clean desk policies.

Perhaps you don’t need to dispose of your confidential documents yet and instead need somewhere to securely store them. If this is the case, we recommend utilising our archive storage service which includes collection, indexing and tracking your documents. We also offer a document scanning service that allows instant retrieval and copies of your archived documents, this service uses our secure online file management system to ensure an efficient system for tracking and recording documents.

Safety protocols

As a business owner, you will likely need introduce some new safety protocols for your team, whether it’s a new health and safety assessment or a social distancing policy. You may also wish to implement new first aid and mental health training. There are lots of great places for information and we are always happy to discuss how we can help support your business.

For more information on any of our services please contact us on 0800 652 1117 or use our online contact form.

Returning to the Office after Lockdown

2020 has been a time of uncertainty for most.  With the shock of the Covid-19 pandemic, nobody was prepared for what the year had in store, let alone business owners.

Although there are no guarantees, all we can hope is that we can start to get back to some kind of normality soon.  Most governments have started to re-open their countries and hope to improve the economy by easing the lockdown measures so businesses can start to function as they once did.

We are still being advised to work from home if we can, but that is not always possible for some businesses. Now is the best time to start preparing yourself for returning to the workplace.  Before you can do that, there are certain measures you will need to put in place.

Before allowing your staff to return to the office, you will need to make sure it is safe for them and any potential visitors who may attend your premises.

Steps you can take before returning to work

Here is a list of tasks you can carry out to ensure the safety of your employees and customers.

  • Carry out a full risk assessment and make sure you share this information with your employees to put their minds at rest. 
  • Ensure you have washing facilities readily available to make sure everybody adheres to the local health authority guidelines. 
  • If certain staff can work from home, try to make that possible for them where you can.  
  • Explain social distancing measures and ensure all of your staff follow the procedures. 
  • Advise your employees of the importance of healthy living to boost their immune system.

How can you use self-storage post lockdown?

During the lockdown period, businesses had to close, which no doubt had a huge impact on sales and the movement of stock.  When you return to the work premises, it may be beneficial to have a temporary place where you can store your goods.

It may be that you sell a product that is sensitive to harsh elements such as the cold, heat or dust.  By choosing to store your products in a secure storage facility, you will be keeping them safe until such time they are needed again.  An example of this could be leather items or other delicate materials.

You may also notice an increase in hand sanitisers, cleaning products and PPE that you didn’t have to store before now.  By keeping them in a self-storage facility, they will be out of the way but on hand as and when you need them.

Make more room for social distancing

If you have a small workspace, it can be difficult to put social distancing in place.  It may be that you have bulky furniture or too many filing cabinets.  This poses the risk of your employees accidentally bumping into each other.  Now would be time to have a clear out.  You don’t have to permanently remove the items, but by storing them in a self-storage facility, they will be on hand ready for when it’s ‘business as usual’!

Keeping secure data secure during and after lockdown

During the pandemic, it is likely you have been working from home.  It would be tempting to dispose of commercial waste in your own bins, avoiding cluttering up your home.  Not only is this a breach of data protection, but you are also risking the possibility of crimes such as fraud, and you could potentially be faced with fines. 

As a business owner, it is your responsibility to prove any confidential waste is destroyed of in a responsible manner, not only yours but your employees who are also working from home.

Offering your employees the option of temporary storage will prevent any possible data protection issues.  Confidential waste that is no longer needed could be taken to a secure facility where they provide an archive storage and confidential waste service.

At Flexible Storage Solutions, we can help you get back on track. We offer a reliable and professional self-storage and waste management service.

Should you wish to discuss your requirements in more detail, please don’t hesitate to contact us, and we will be happy to assist.

Storage Solution for when you are downsizing your business premises

If you are a business owner and own or rent your premises, you will understand how difficult these unprecedented times are at the moment with the current COVID-19 pandemic.  Office space can be costly, and perhaps you have reached a point that downsizing your business seems like the only realistic option.  It is not an easy decision to make!  The reality is, to keep your business running and stay competitive, downsizing your office or storage space will reduce costs in the long run.

Benefits of downsizing

Running a successful business is stressful at the best of times.  From worrying about cash-flow, keeping you and your employees safe and in some cases, being unable to borrow as and when needed.  Most businesses will agree that if they find themselves in financial difficulty, by reducing upfront costs is key.

Although downsizing isn’t always a choice, there are several benefits to gain.  Not only are you freeing up your financial resources, but you will also be allowing greater flexibility by generating an additional income. 

Another benefit is being able to relocate.  Due to lowering your costs, you are more likely to improve your operations and allow new customers to find you.

When is it time to downsize your business?

It is unlikely you will wake up one morning and decide now is the time to downsize.  Chances are you have probably noticed a change in your finances over time, and will need a plan of action. Ask yourself the following questions!

  • Have you noticed an increase in your overheads?
  • Are you paying suppliers more money due to recession?
  • Have you noticed your sales have decreased dramatically and you are struggling to restock?
  • Is it impossible to undercut your competitors?

If you answer yes to any or all of these questions, the best option is to reassess your finances. Once you have made that decision, put together a plan and be proactive.

How can self-storage help your business?

Every business will benefit from taking stock of what they need and anything that is simply collecting dust.  When choosing self-storage for your business, this will be the perfect opportunity to have a clear out, making more room to expand.

With that said, all businesses will have a collection of paperwork they have stored over the years.  Some may include confidential information such as invoices and private records for your employees.

Flexible Storage Solutions covers Central London and the home counties, offering a self-storage service that will take care of your requirements. Not only will we keep your furniture and equipment safe, but we also have a confidential waste disposal service, destroying any data you no longer need to keep.

We offer a bespoke archive storage solution and can give you a price based on your individual needs. 

You can rest assured that whilst you are concentrating on keeping your business thriving, your belongings will be in safe hands.  We have various size units available and allow easy access as and when needed. For more information on how we can help with your self-storage needs, please don’t hesitate to contact us, and we will be happy to answer any questions you may have.