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Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE)

Last updated: 24 March 2010

The Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) DirectiveOpens in New window, was published on 27 January 2003.

Contact our WEEE Team on:

Tel: 028 9056 9387
Email: weee@doeni.gov.ukOpens in New window

Purpose of the Directive

  • ‘as a first priority the prevention of waste electrical and electronic equipment and in addition the reuse, recycling and other forms of recovery of such wastes so as to reduce the disposal of waste. It also seeks to improve the environmental performance of all operators involved in the life cycle of electrical and electronic equipment, for example producers, distributors and consumers and in particular those operators directly involved in the treatment of waste electrical and electronic equipment’

Who is affected by the Directive?

The WEEE Directive has implications for:

Aims of the Directive

  • reduce waste from Electric and Electronic Equipment (EEE)
  • increase recovery and recycling rates of WEEE
  • encourage the separate collection of WEEE and minimise the disposal of it as unsorted municipal waste
  • improve the environmental performance of all operators involved throughout the lifecycle of EEE
  • implement producer responsibility for 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
  5. Lighting equipment
  6. Electrical and electronic tools
  7. Toys, leisure and sports equipment
  8. Medical devices
  9. Monitoring and control instruments
  10. Automatic dispensers

Annex 1B 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. The European Commission is currently consulting on a new WEEE collection target.

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 Article 7
  • Different targets are set for different categories of WEEE