Quality & Standards >> WEEE
The Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEE) Directive aims to reduce the amount of WEEE being produced and encourages everyone to reuse, recycle and recover it. It also aims to improve the environmental performance of businesses that manufacture, supply, use, recycle and recover electrical and electronic equipment (EEE)
The directive requires EU member states to minimise the amount of WEEE they dispose of as unsorted municipal waste. It also:
- sets targets for the amount of WEEE to be collected separately from private households
- requires the UK to establish and maintain a register of EEE producers
- makes distributors and retailers responsible for making arrangements to take back WEEE free of charge in convenient way for customers
- introduces recycling and recovery targets for WEEE
- introduces requirements to mark EEE products with a 'crossed out wheelie bin' symbol
- requires all separately collected WEEE to be treated
The directive was amended in December 2003 in response to concerns from producers about their long-term financial liability for WEEE from products sold before 13 August 2005. This means that their liability for recycling and recovering historic WEEE applies only to WEEE from private household users and also in cases where historic WEEE from non-household users is being replaced by similar new products. If the non-household WEEE is not being replaced, the customer is responsible.
Along with other member states, the UK had until 13 August 2004 to turn the directive into national legislation. After this, different aspects of the directive would then come into force in 2005 and 2006.
However, like many other member states, the UK government has found it difficult to meet this deadline and has announced that it will introduce regulations in the summer of 2005. Details of this announcement can be found on the Department for Trade and Industry's (DTI) website.
What is the scope of the WEEE and RoHS directives?
The Restriction on Hazardous Substances (RoHS) Directive covers the use of substances such as lead and mercury. Together, these directives cover a wide range of electrical and electronic products, although some are exempt from certain requirements.
The types of products covered are:
- large and small household appliances
- IT and telecommunication equipment
- consumer equipment such as TVs, videos, hi-fis
- lighting, electrical and electronic tools (except large stationary industrial tools)
- toys, leisure and sports equipment
- automatic dispensers
- medical devices (these are exempt from RoHS and the WEEE re-use and recovery targets)
- monitoring and control instruments (exempt from RoHS)
In the absence of UK Regulations and the Government's accompanying guidance, the Environment Agency is unable to offer guidance on whether products will definitely be included or excluded from the scope of UK Regulations.
The Environment Agency is not responsible for regulating the RoHS Directive. Further information on the RoHS Directive and the WEEE Directive is available from the DTI.
- Department of Trade & Industry (dti)
Who does the WEEE Directive affect?
Any business that manufactures, brands or imports electrical or electronic products within the EU, is known as a 'producer' and is affected. Businesses selling electrical items or those that store, treat or dismantle WEEE will also be affected.
- Read the 2002/96/EC WEEE Directive in full
- Read the 2003/108/EC WEEE Directive in full
Key timings for the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Directive
We will have an exact timeline when the UK Government introduces the regulations. On 10 August they announced that the regulations are likely to be made in the next few weeks, they have also announced that Electrical and Electronic Equipment (EEE) producers will need to register with the Environment Agency and registrations are expected to occur during January and February 2006.
We are waiting for more details on how and when producers will register and what information they will need to submit. We can only begin to register applicants after the Government has introduced the necessary regulations.
The Government has consulted on the proposed fees for registering and monitoring producer and retailer obligations. This consultation closed on 22 June and copies are available on the DTI website. The Consultation outcome will be announced soon.
Product marking requirements for WEEE will be implemented when the regulations are introduced. This will mean a 'crossed-out wheelie bin symbol' will need to appear on all products put on the market after this date. This aims to minimise the disposal of WEEE with unsorted municipal waste and to encourage greater recycling and recovery. The markings must also identify the producer and date the product was placed on the market.
From June 2006 the Government will implement the directive's producer responsibility obligations for household and non-household WEEE and the take back obligations on retailers and distributors.
Source : http://www.environment-agency.gov.uk/business/444217/444663/1106248/ 1106255/?version=1&lang=_e