These regulations brought into UK law part of the provisions of the EU WEEE Directive which was introduced to encourage the reuse, recycling and recovery of end-of-life electronic and electrical equipment.
If you are a “producer” of EEE, ie you manufacture, import or rebrand new electrical or electronic equipment that is within the scope of the WEEE Directive (see below), then it’s likely that you’ll need to comply with the WEEE Regulations. You will have to make arrangements for the collection, recycling, recovery, treatment and environmentally-sound disposal of a certain proportion of the EEE you sell that arises as WEEE.
If you are a commercial or industrial organisation and need to dispose of electrical or electronic equipment or if you sell electrical or electronic equipment, you may also have other obligations under these Regulations.
How to comply
If you are a producer of EEE, you should join an approved compliance scheme and:
• pay the Environment Agency registration fee
• tell the scheme how much electrical and electronic equipment you place on the UK market each year
• tell the scheme whether you supplied the equipment for household or non-household (eg business) use
The scheme will make arrangements for the collection recycling, recovery and treatment (CRRT) of your proportion (as calculated by the government) of WEEE arising from households and charge you accordingly. It is also likely that the scheme will charge you a membership fee to cover administration costs. For your WEEE arising at businesses you have the option of arranging the CRRT yourself or of asking your compliance scheme to handle it – they will of, of course, charge you for this.
Additionally, you need to mark your EEE with the crossed-out wheelie bin symbol, a date mark and a producer identification mark. You will also need to have available information on how your equipment can be safely dismantled – although in practice this information is rarely requested by recycling and recovery operators. You will be provided with a Producer Registration Number which you will have to provide to your distributors.
If you are a “distributor” of EEE ie you sell EEE to the public, you have to ensure that your customers can return WEEE free of charge to you provided they are purchasing, on a one-for-one basis, new equipment of a similar type which has the same function as the old equipment. As an alternative to this, you can join a Distributor take-back scheme and direct your customers to the nearest Designated Collection Facility – usually a Civic Amenity Site.
Scope of the WEEE Regulations
WEEE is defined in the regulations as:
“electrical and electronic equipment” means equipment which is dependent on electric currents or electromagnetic fields in order to work properly and equipment for the generation, transfer and measurement of such currents and fields falling under the categories set out in Schedule 1 to the Regulations and designed for use with a voltage rating not exceeding 1,000 volts for alternating current and 1,500 volts for direct current;
The Categories set out in Schedule 1 of the Regulations are:
- Large household appliances
- Small household appliances
- IT and telecommunications equipment
- Consumer equipment
- Lighting equipment (with the exception of household luminaries and filament light bulbs)
- Electrical and electronic tools (with the exception of large-scale stationary industrial tools)
- Toys, leisure and sports equipment
- Medical devices (with the exception of all implanted and infected products)
- Monitoring and control instruments
- Automatic Dispensers
If you are unsure whether your products fall in any of the above categories, please contact WeeeCare for advice.