WEEE - Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment
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).
See the Categories boxes below for more detailed information.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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
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
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.
Note: this list is not exhaustive.
Category 1 – Large Household Appliances
Other large appliances used for refrigeration, conservation and storage of food
Dish washing machines
Electric hot plates
Other large appliances used for cooking and other processing of food
Electric heating appliances
Other large appliances for heating rooms, beds, seating furniture
Air conditioner appliances
Other fanning, exhaust ventilation and conditioning equipment
Category 2 – Small Household Appliances
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
Grinders, coffee machines and equipment for opening or sealing containers or packages
Appliances for hair-cutting, hair drying, tooth brushing, shaving, massage and other body
Clocks, watches and equipment for the purpose of measuring, indicating or registering
Category 3 – IT and Telecommunications Equipment
Personal computing: Personal computers (CPU, mouse, screen and keyboard included); Laptop computers (CPU, mouse, screen and keyboard included); Notebook computers; Notepad computers
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)
Other products or equipment of transmitting sound, images or other information by
Category4 – Consumer Equipment and Photovoltaic Panels
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
Category 5 – Lighting Equipment
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
Equipment for turning, milling, sanding, grinding, sawing, cutting, shearing, drilling,
making holes, punching, folding, bending or similar processing of wood, metal and other
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
Hand-held video game consoles
Computers for biking, diving, running, rowing, etc.
Sports equipment with electric or electronic components
Coin slot machines
Category 8 – Medical Devices
Nuclear medicine equipment
Laboratory equipment for in-vitro diagnosis
Other appliances for detecting, preventing, monitoring, treating, alleviating illness, injury
Category 9 – Monitoring and Control Instruments
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 or cold bottles or cans
Automatic dispensers for solid products
Automatic dispensers for money
All appliances which deliver automatically all kind of products
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