WEEE

Do the WEEE regulations apply to your business?

The primary aim of the waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) regulations is to reduce the impact of electrical products and electronic equipment on the environment when no longer wanted. To achieve this, companies who produce or distribute electrical equipment are obliged to cover the costs involved in collecting, refurbishing or recycling their products when disposed of by the end user.

If your business produces electrical equipment onto the UK market for use by the general public or business you will probably be affected by the WEEE regulations and will need to take further steps to ensure compliance with them. If your business activities include one or more of the following elements you will probably need to register as a producer in the UK if you have not already done so.

Do you qualify as a manufacturer?

Under the WEEE Regulations, you would qualify as a Producer if you manufacture and sell electrical and electronic equipment under your own brand, irrespective of the selling technique used, including distance selling. If this applies to your business you would need to comply with the Regulations. To find out more, get in touch and we will happily run through what this will mean for you.

Do you qualify as an importer?

Under the WEEE Regulations, you would qualify as a Producer if you import electrical and electronic equipment on a professional basis for sale within the UK, irrespective of the selling technique used, including distance selling. If this applies to your business you would need to comply with the Regulations. To find out more, get in touch and we will happily run through what this will mean for you.

Do you qualify as a rebrander?

Under the WEEE Regulations, you would qualify as a Producer if you resell electrical and electronic equipment produced by other suppliers under your own brand. However, you would not be classed as a Producer if the brand of the original supplier appears on the products alongside yours. If this applies to your business you would need to comply with the Regulations. To find out more, get in touch and we will happily run through what this will mean for you.

Do you qualify as a Small Producer?

The WEEE Regulations now allow producers that place less than 5 tonnes of EEE onto the market during a Compliance Period to register as small producers, so avoiding the administrative and cost implications of joining a producer compliance scheme.  This also allows qualifying companies supplying EEE to householders to avoid an obligation for the collection and treatment of WEEE based on market share and so further reduces cost.  However, the obligations placed on producers supplying to business users for collection and treatment at end of life remain. More detail about the requirements for registration and also obligations for the collection and treatment of WEEE can be found here

The WEEE regulations apply to companies supplying products whether for domestic or business use and there is no exemption for businesses only placing a small amount of electrical and electronic equipment onto the UK market.

More detailed information about how the WEEE regulations may affect you can be found here or you can call us on 0845 2011 380 for answers to specific questions from one of our experienced team or to find out if you are obligated under the WEEE Regulations. As a member of the A1 Compliance Producer Compliance Scheme, one of the many benefits will be an initial audit to see how we can reduce the cost of compliance for your business. If you are ready to join the A1 Compliance scheme, just fill out our application form and one of our account managers will be in touch to talk you through the registration process.

The WEEE regulations apply to companies supplying products whether for domestic or business use. Further information on the regulations can be found in our members area.

What is the WEEE Directive?

Householders and businesses across the UK discard over a million tonnes of Electrical and Electronic Equipment each year with this figure expected to grow by up to 80,000 tonnes a year. Due to the manufacturing processed and materials used in their manufacture, to allow waste electrical and electronic equipment to be put into landfill would create a significant risk to the environment and human health.

To address this and other waste issues, the European Parliament devised and implemented the Waste Framework Directive which promotes three key areas:

The re-cast to the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Directive was passed by the European Parliament in August 2012 and sets out a range of requirements for Member States including targets for the re-use, recycling and recovery of such WEEE which would result in a reduction of WEEE sent to landfill of for incineration.

The WEEE Directive aims to both reduce the amount of electrical and electronic equipment being produced and to encourage everyone to reduce, reuse and recycle in line with the general waste framework..

The Directive also aims to improve the environmental performance of businesses that manufacture, supply, use, recycle and recover electrical and electronic equipment.

Adopting the Directive in the UK: The WEEE Regulations

The original Directive was incorporated into UK law through The Waste Electrical & Electronic Equipment Regulations, 2006 which came into force on 2nd January 2007. New WEEE Regulations to support the re-cast of the Directive were enacted in December 2013 and came into force on 1st January 2014.

Under this legislation, producers of EEE are encouraged to consider the environment during the initial stages of design and manufacture in order to take into account the REDUCE element of the WFD. They are also required to take responsibility for the impact on the environment when their products become waste by financing the collection and treatment of EEE.

There is a requirement to prioritise reuse of whole appliances specifically written into the regulations in order to promote the REUSE element of the WFD and where this is not possible to ensure suitable treatment at a regulated recycling facility.

Any business that is a Producer of electrical and electronic equipment and has, or intends to, place more than 5 tonnes of EEE onto the UK market during a calendar year is required to:

  • Register with an Approved Compliance Scheme, such as A1 Compliance
  • Mark their products with standard markings to ensure customers can identify them as EEE and also who produced the item
  • Finance the recovery and treatment of WEEE in order to meet the targets set by the EU

The WEEE Regulations, 2013 have for the first time introduced a de minimis and so a Producer placing less than 5 tonnes onto the UK market during a Compliance Period will now have the option to register as a small producer for a one off annual charge of £30.  This can be done directly with the Environment Agency or through an intermediary, a role A1 Compliance will happily undertake.

Further Information and FAQs relating to the WEEE regulations and associated producer responsibilities can be found on our WEEE Info pages in the member’s area.

Recast of the WEEE Directive and the potential implications

In August 2012 the European Parliament passed the re-cast of the WEEE Directive which member had to implement by 14th February 2014, however the UK Government chose to implement the changes on 1st January 2014 to prevent the need for change part way through a Compliance Period.  There have been some significant changes as a result of the re-cast.  The Department for Business Industry and Skills, who are tasked with issuing new WEEE Regulations to support the Directive, undertook a consultation process with stakeholders. Details of their findings, impact assessments and draft Regulations can be found here

One of the major changes relates to targets set for collection and treatment of WEEE.  The original WEEE Directive set this at 4kg per person, per year.  With little effort, the UK has achieved a figure of 8kg per person, per year.  However, the re-cast sees a change to the way in which targets are set and instead of a weight per person, it will switch to a percentage of the amount of new EEE placed onto the market for each year.

The first target is set for 2016 when 45% must be collected and treated.  This rises to 65% by 2020.  This change will bring about significant challenges for all involved; whether producers, distributors, compliance schemes or re-use companies and recycling facilities.  The target for 2014-2015 will be to match current figures and so will remain at 8kg per person, per year.