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Home > NIEA > Waste and Resources > Regulation > Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE)

Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE)

Last updated: 11 May 2015

The Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) DirectiveOpens in New window, was published on 27 January 2003. This was replaced by the recast Directive (Directive 2012/19/EU) on 4th July 2012 (all references to the Directive from this point refer to the recast).

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Purpose of the Directive

  • To contribute to sustainable production and consumption by as a first priority, the prevention of WEEE and, in addition, by the reuse, recycling and other forms of recovery of such wastes so as to reduce the disposal of waste and to contribute to the efficient use of resources and the retrieval of valuable secondary raw materials. It also seeks to improve the environmental performance of all operators involved in the life cycle of EEE (eg producers, distributors and consumers) and, in particular those operators directly involved in the collection and treatment of WEEE.

Who is affected by the Directive?

The WEEE Directive has implications for:

Aims of the Directive

  • Encourage the reuse of EEE
  • Reduce waste from Electric and Electronic Equipment (EEE)
  • Increase collection, recovery and recycling rates of WEEE
  • Encourage the separate collection of WEEE and minimise the disposal of it as unsorted municipal waste
  • Ensure that separately collected WEEE undergoes proper treatment.
  • Improve the environmental performance of all operators involved throughout the lifecycle of EEE
  • implement producer responsibility for WEEE
  • Introduce formally minimum requirements to distinguish between shipments of EEE and WEEE.

Scope of the Directive

The WEEE Directive covers all electrical and electronic equipment used by consumers and electrical and electronic equipment intended for professional use. The Directive sorts EEE into 10 categories:

  1. Large household appliances
  2. Small household appliances
  3. IT and telecommunications equipment
  4. Consumer equipment and photovoltaic panels.
  5. Lighting equipment
  6. Electrical and electronic tools (with the exception of large scale stationary industrial tools)
  7. Toys, leisure and sports equipment
  8. Medical devices (with the exception of all implanted and infected products)
  9. Monitoring and control instruments
  10. Automatic Dispensers

Annex II of the WEEE Directive provides a list of products that fall under each category. The list is not exhaustive but shows examples of the type of products included in the broader categories.

What are the Directive targets for Collection and Recovery?

By 31 December 2006, the UK was to achieve a rate of separate WEEE collection of four kilograms per person per year from private households. Under the 2012 Directive this target remained in effect until 31 December 2015. From 2016 the minimum WEEE collection rate will be 45% of the average total weight of EEE placed on the market over the preceding three years. From 1 January 2019, it will be 65%.

Please Note:

  • where possible, priority should be given to the reuse of WEEE
  • Where reuse is not possible, all WEEE separately collected should be sent for recovery
  • Producers must meet recovery and recycling targets set out in Annex V.
  • Different targets are set for different categories of WEEE