WEEE Directive

Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Directive (2002/96/EC)

This directive affects those involved in manufacturing, selling, distributing, recycling or treating electrical and electronic equipment. This includes:

  • household appliances
  • IT and telecommunications equipment
  • audiovisual and lighting equipment
  • electrical and electronic tools
  • toys, leisure and sports equipment
  • medical devices and
  • automatic dispensers.

The Directive aims to:

  • reduce the waste arising from electrical and electronic equipment; and
  • improve the environmental performance of all those involved in the life cycle of electrical and electronic products.

The Directive covers WEEE used by consumers and for professional purposes.

By the implementation date (Consultation process ends in October 2006):

  • Private householders will be able to return their WEEE to collection facilities free of charge;
  • Producers (manufacturers, sellers, distributors) will be responsible for financing the collection, treatment, recovery and disposal of WEEE from private households deposited at these collection facilities;
  • Producers will be responsible for financing the collection, treatment, recovery and disposal of WEEE from users other than private householders from products placed on the market after the implementation date
  • Producers will also be responsible for financing the management of WEEE from products placed on the market before the implementation date. However, it may be possible for all or part of these costs to be recovered from users other than private householders.
  • Producers will be required to achieve a series of demanding recycling and recovery targets for different categories of appliance
  • The UK must have reached an average WEEE collection rate of four kilograms for each private householder annually.

Regulations to bring the WEEE Directive into law are now expected in 2007. In common with many other EU member states, the Government has encountered major practical difficulties in meeting the Directive’s deadline of 13 August 2005 for implementation of its obligations on producers and retailers. As a result it intends to implement the Directive’s producer responsibility obligations for household and non-household WEEE and its take-back obligations on retailers and distributors in 2007.

What does this mean to the University?

There is still some doubt over the timescale and implementation of the WEEE Regulations. However, when these come into force, the University will be responsible for all associated costs of environmentally sound disposal of waste electrical equipment purchased before the implementation date (unless the University is buying replacement products when the producer supplying the equipment will be responsible). For equipment bought post implementation date, the producer will be responsible for the disposal costs unless an alternative arrangement is negotiated.