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WEEE Directive 2002/96/EC & 2003/108/EC

The "Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment" Directive promotes the recycling of Electrical and Electronic Equipment (EEE) and their components at end-of-life or when being replaced. Environmentally responsible practices are encouraged among all those who are involved in the life cycle of EEE.

The WEEE Directive:

  • Mandates a number of recycling procedures
  • Lays out responsibilities
  • Sets a series of recycling and waste treatment goals

Who does it apply to?

The Directive applies to those manufacturing, selling, distributing, recycling and treating Electrical and Electronic Equipment (EEE) in the European Union.

The following product categories are affected by WEEE:

  1. Large Household Appliances
  2. Small Household Appliances
  3. IT and Telecommunications Equipment
  4. Consumer Equipment
  5. Lighting Equipment
  6. Electronic and Electrical tools
  7. Toys, Leisure, and Sport Equipment
  8. Medical Devices
  9. Monitoring and Control Instruments
  10. Automatic Dispensers

What is required of me?

The WEEE Directive requires EEE to be collected, treated and recycled either at the end-of-life or if it is being replaced. To accomplish this, the amounts of EEE manufactured or imported into the EU must be registered and then annually (or more frequently in some countries) reported to the Competent Authorities. However, each individual EEA (27 EU Member States and 4 EFTA countries) has its own interpretations of and requirements for the implementation of the Directive within that country.

The WEEE Directive places the following main responsibilities on the European Union's manufacturers or importers (a.k.a. "producers"):

  • Producers, either individually or on a collective basis, must set up systems for the treatment of Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (with the WEEE treatment facilities required to operate at high environmental standards);
  • Producers have to finance the following operations: the collection, treatment, recovery and environmentally sound disposal of WEEE from private households deposited at collection facilities;
  • Producers have to provide recovery and re-use of separately collected WEEE with recovery, re-use and recycling targets set as a proportion of collected WEEE and ranging from 50 to 80 percent depending on the category;
  • Producers have data reporting obligations relating to the amount of EEE put on the market and relevant levels of recycling achieved must be fulfilled;
  • Producers have to provide guarantees for the financing of future waste to minimize number of "orphan" products of whom original producers are no longer on the market.
  • Producers are required to provide information on request on components and materials used in new types of equipment put on the market after August 2005 to enable treatment facilities, re-use centres and recycling facilities to disassemble, re-use and recycle them.
  • Producers are also required to provide information on request to treatment facilities to identify specific components and materials in the equipment which must be removed

Compliance Scheme

Compliance schemes maintain and assist with the WEEE process. The volume of EEE imported into the EU by the manufacturer will need to be documented and reported to a compliance scheme. A scheme company also assists in the actual "take-back" or recycling process for the EEE.

You will need:

  • List of approved schemes in each country
  • Recommended scheme, if any, in each country
  • List of services offered by schemes
  • Registration and contact information for schemes

Take-Back Center

Take-back centers are a key step to full WEEE compliance. They are always required, though a scheme company may also serve as a take-back center. This entity provides the actual collection, treatment and recycling for your EEE products.

WEEE Compliance

  1. Register with the National Authorities
  2. Register with a scheme company (in each country)

    Registration requirements are different in every country; fulfilling the obligations required of you from each place your product is circulating is complicated. Nearly every country requires registering with a national body (National Authority).

    To register, you will need to know the specific requirements for each Member State you are involved with, including:

    • How often must registration be renewed?
    • Is it required to register on a regional level?
    • Who registers: the company or the scheme?

    Country specific registration forms are also necessary.

  3. Report

    Reporting also differs in every country. However, most require yearly reporting to a national body.

  4. Take-back process

    Your product will be taken off the market, when replaced or at end-of-life, in an orderly and systematic manner.

  5. Notify responsible party

    European "Green" Directives and Regulation, like the WEEE, are becoming prevalent and crucial points of interest for anyone involved in placing products on the European market. A comprehensive Environmental Strategy is necessary to study and satisfy the requirements you are constrained to abide by.

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