WEEE - Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment

The UK Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Regulations were first introduced in 2007 and updated in 2013 as ‘The Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Regulations 2013’ (SI 2013 no 3133), which came into force on 1 January 2014. They implement an EU Directive that aims to reduce the amount of waste generated by these items and increase, recovery, re-use and recycling of a large range of appliances, equipment and devices.

Who is obligated?
All organisations who produce, distribute, recycle or use Electrical and Electronic Equipment (EEE). Adhering to the Polluter Pays Principle, these organisations, rather than private householders are expected to finance implementation of the directive. Organisations with WEEE obligations may also have to comply with RoHS and Battery requirements.

The law affects all companies who:

  • Manufacture, import into the UK, or sell ‘own label’ EEE in the UK (Producer activity)
  • Meet the description of ‘Producer’ but place 5 tonnes or less of EEE on the UK market per calendar year (Small Producer activity)
  • Sell EEE to consumers (non-business users), regardless of the sales channel. (Distributor activity)
  • Sell EEE direct to consumers in other EU Member States (Overseas Distributor activity)
  • Are Distributors, but sell from retail premises where at least 400m2 of floor space (including aisle, shelving and product display, but excluding vertical shelf space) is dedicated to EEE. (Large Distributor activity)
  • Use EEE in their business (Business end-user activity)
  • Meet obligations on behalf of overseas sellers without a UK presence (Only Representative activity).
At present, only EEE included in one of 14 categories: Large household appliances; Small household appliances; IT and Telecommunications equipment; Consumer equipment; Lighting equipment; Electrical and electronic tools (excluding certain large-scale industrial tools); Toys, leisure and sports equipment; Medical devices (other than implanted and infected products); Monitoring and control instruments; Automatic dispensers; Display equipment (a subset of IT and Telecommunications and Consumer categories); Cooling appliances containing refrigerants (a subset of Large and Small household categories); Gas discharge lamps (a subset of Lighting); and Photovoltaic Cells (solar panels) a subset of Consumer equipment.
See the Categories boxes below for more detailed information.
Obligations vary depending on the type of activity. In outline:

Producers must register; provide information about the EEE they place on the market and pay levies to support the recycling and recovery of that EEE. They must also ensure that product is correctly marked and provide their producer number to all their distributors;

Small producers must register and provide information, but do not need to pay levies. They must still meet the marking requirements and provide their producer number to distributors;

Distributors must provide systems for customers to return WEEE when they buy replacement EEE, either directly or through a national scheme and keep records of all WEEE returned to them;

Overseas distributors must meet the obligations in the other Member States to which they sell;

Large distributors must also provide for anyone to return ‘Very Small WEEE’ to their stores;

Business end users must ensure that WEEE they produce is dealt with correctly;

Only representatives, as stated, meet all pertinent obligations on behalf of overseas producers who do not have a UK presence.

See the Obligations boxes below for more detailed information

The weights of EEE, by category and by route to market, placed on the market in the preceding period and reported in metric tonnes to three decimal places. Data submissions are either quarterly or annual, depending on the type of actor and the routes to market.

Additionally, there should be:

  • A clear, preferably written, methodology;
  • Source identification;
  • Clear audit trail with all relevant paperwork; and

All returns and supporting data must be kept for at least four years.

A number of criminal offences are possible, including:

  • Failing to register as a producer;
  • Failing to finance collection, treatment, recovery and disposal of obligated WEEE;
  • Failing to join a scheme if required to do so;
  • Failing to meet obligations in another member state:
  • Providing false or misleading information;
  • Failing to correctly mark products;
  • Failing to provide take-back ; and
  • Failing to provide adequate customer information;

Penalties are currently up to £5,000 per offence with the possibility of imprisonment for directors/statutory officers in some cases. WEEE offences are subject to criminal prosecution as they do not currently fall under the Civil Sanctions regime.

Think your company may be obligated, but is not registered? If your company is obligated but not registered you are seriously exposed to the risk of prosecution by the enforcement agencies. Non-compliance is an offence under criminal law and prosecution carries substantial penalties of fines plus costs, as well as legal fees, adverse publicity and considerable senior management input. We recommend you urgently take expert advice to protect your company.

Let us help you find the most cost effective way of complying with these Regulations.
Contact J Williams & Associates’ WEEE expert on 01491 682850 or email Hazel Lobo for advice

Who enforces WEEE?

Producer obligations under WEEE are enforced by the Environment Agency in England and the devolved agencies in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales: Northern Ireland Environment Agency; the Scottish Environment Protection Agency; and Natural Resources Wales.

Distributor obligations are enforced by the Vehicle Certification Agency. The boxes below provide more details about the obligations and WEEE categories.

The boxes below provide more details about the obligations, whilst those on the right provide more information about WEEE categories.

 

Detailed obligations Note: you may have more than one set of obligations.

Producer obligations
Producers must:
Calculate the weight, by category, of household EEE placed on the market each quarter and report this to a compliance scheme;
Calculate the weight, by category, of non-household EEE placed on the market each year and report this to a compliance scheme;*
Pay levies to the compliance scheme to support the recycling and recovery of a portion of their market share of collected household

WEEE;
Declare your WEEE Producer number to all distributor clients;
Ensure that product is correctly marked with the Producer Identification Mark and Crossed Out Wheelie Bin symbol;
Ensure that any product they import is declared, either by themselves, or by an Only Representative appointed by the non-UK Producer.

Small Producer obligations
Small Producers (less than 5 tonnes p/a) must:
Register as producers, but can do this direct, by 31 January each year;
Calculate and report, by category, the weight of household EEE placed on the market in the prior calendar year;
Calculate and report, by category, the weight of non-household EEE placed on the market in the prior calendar year;
Declare your WEEE Producer number to all distributor clients;
Ensure that product is correctly marked with the Producer Identification Mark and Crossed Out Wheelie Bin symbol.
Distributor obligations
All Distributors must:
Either provide free take-back facilities (either in store or by mail) for products on a like for like basis (accept back a kettle if the customer buys a new kettle) or;
Join the Distributor Take-back Scheme (DTS) and pay an annual fee to enable your customers to take WEEE to municipal facilities; or
Make alternative arrangements for free and accessible take-back services (for example, by joining a local take-back scheme);
Provide information to their customers on the take-back options available to them and on the environmental consequences of WEEE;
If providing in store take back, keep records on the WEEE received and subsequently disposed of. Records must be retained for four years;
Large Distributors (EEE retail sales area ≥400m2) who are not members of the DTS must:
Provide take back of very small WEEE (EEE with no external dimension greater 25cm) for all consumers (no purchase necessary);
Take-back must be provided on the retail premises or “in its immediate proximity”
Exemptions are possible if alternative schemes are available, but must be applied for in the year BEFORE the exemption will apply.
Overseas Seller obligations
Businesses who distance sell direct to end-users in other EU Member States must:
Either register as a producer in the other EU Member State(s); or
Appoint an Only Representative in the other EU Member State(s) to meet their Producer obligations in that state.
Business end-user obligations
Business end-users must:
Ensure that all WEEE for discarding is properly treated and reused/recycled in preference to other disposal methods. The methods for achieving this are not prescribed.
Indicative lists of EEE products in each category.
Note: this list is not exhaustive.
Category 1 – Large Household Appliances
Large cooling appliances
Refrigerators
Freezers
Other large appliances used for refrigeration, conservation and storage of food
Washing machines
Clothes dryers
Dish washing machines
Cookers
Electric stoves
Electric hot plates
Microwaves
Other large appliances used for cooking and other processing of food
Electric heating appliances
Electric radiators
Other large appliances for heating rooms, beds, seating furniture
Electric fans
Air conditioner appliances
Other fanning, exhaust ventilation and conditioning equipment
Category 2 – Small Household Appliances
Vacuum cleaners
Carpet sweepers
Other appliances for cleaning
Appliances used for sewing, knitting, weaving and other processing for textiles
Irons and other appliances for ironing, mangling and other care of clothing
Toasters
Fryers
Grinders, coffee machines and equipment for opening or sealing containers or packages
Electric knives
Appliances for hair-cutting, hair drying, tooth brushing, shaving, massage and other body
care appliances
Clocks, watches and equipment for the purpose of measuring, indicating or registering
time
Scales
Category 3 – IT and Telecommunications Equipment
Centralised data processing: Mainframes; Minicomputers; Printer units;
Personal computing: Personal computers (CPU, mouse, screen and keyboard included); Laptop computers (CPU, mouse, screen and keyboard included); Notebook computers; Notepad computers
Printers
Copying equipment
Electrical and electronic typewriters
Pocket and desk calculators
Other products and equipment for the collection, storage, processing, presentation or
communication of information by electronic means
User terminals and systems
Facsimile machine (fax)
Telex
Telephones
Pay telephones
Cordless telephones
Cellular telephones
Answering systems
Other products or equipment of transmitting sound, images or other information by
telecommunications
Category4 – Consumer Equipment and Photovoltaic Panels
Radio sets
Television sets
Video cameras
Video recorders
Hi-fi recorders
Audio amplifiers
Musical instruments
Other products or equipment for the purpose of recording or reproducing sound or
images, including signals or other technologies for the distribution of sound and image
than by telecommunications
Photovoltaic panels
Category 5 – Lighting Equipment
Luminaires for fluorescent lamps with the exception of luminaires in households
Straight fluorescent lamps
Compact fluorescent lamps
High intensity discharge lamps, including pressure sodium lamps and metal halide lamps
Low pressure sodium lamps
Other lighting or equipment for the purpose of spreading or controlling light with the
exception of filament bulbs
Category 6 – Electrical and Electronic Tools
Drills
Saws
Sewing machines
Equipment for turning, milling, sanding, grinding, sawing, cutting, shearing, drilling,
making holes, punching, folding, bending or similar processing of wood, metal and other
materials
Tools for riveting, nailing or screwing or removing rivets, nails, screws or similar uses
Tools for welding, soldering or similar use
Equipment for spraying, spreading, dispersing or other treatment of liquid or gaseous
substances by other means
Tools for mowing or other gardening activities
Category 7 – Toys, Leisure and Sports Equipment
Electric trains or car racing sets
Hand-held video game consoles
Video games
Computers for biking, diving, running, rowing, etc.
Sports equipment with electric or electronic components
Coin slot machines
Category 8 – Medical Devices
Radiotherapy equipment
Cardiology equipment
Dialysis equipment
Pulmonary ventilators
Nuclear medicine equipment
Laboratory equipment for in-vitro diagnosis
Analysers
Freezers
Fertilization tests
Other appliances for detecting, preventing, monitoring, treating, alleviating illness, injury
or disability
Category 9 – Monitoring and Control Instruments

Smoke detector
Heating regulators
Thermostats
Measuring, weighing or adjusting appliances for household or laboratory equipment
Other monitoring and control instruments used in industrial installations (for example, in control panels)

Category 10 – Automatic Dispensers
Automatic dispensers for hot drinks
Automatic dispensers for hot or cold bottles or cans
Automatic dispensers for solid products
Automatic dispensers for money
All appliances which deliver automatically all kind of products

Want to reduce the hassle of compliance? Contact us now for a free initial consultation.