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This publication is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/waste-electrical-and-electronic-equipment-weee-collection-code-of-practice/collection-of-waste-electrical-and-electronic-equipment-weee-from-designated-collection-facilities-dcfs-code-of-practice
1. WEEE code of practice: who it applies to
This code applies to:
- operators of approved designated collection facilities (DCFs)
- approved WEEE producer compliance schemes (PCSs)
This code only covers household WEEE. See the guidance on how to correctly identify business to consumer (B2C) and business to business (B2B) electrical and electronic equipment and WEEE.
A DCF operator is the organisation responsible for the whole site and who holds the DCF approval. The DCF operator or the onsite contractor also holds the relevant environmental permits and exemptions.
2. WEEE code of practice: when it doesn’t apply
This code does not cover:
- the relationship between local authorities and the Distributor Takeback Scheme
- household waste recycling centre provision or the upgrade needed to get approval to become a DCF
- DCF approval - see the guidance on getting Department of Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) approval
- PCS approval - see the guidance on getting environmental regulator approval
- non-household WEEE
3. Why you must meet the code
This code of practice is issued by BIS and sets out the rules on how the DCF and PCS partnership must operate. You must follow the rules in this code - it’s a condition of your DCF and PCS approval.
Government has implemented a WEEE system to maximise the amount of WEEE sent for reuse and recycling. In certain circumstances producers of electrical and electronic equipment must take responsibility for proper treatment, reuse and recycling when it becomes waste. See the producer responsibility guidance for more details.
4. DCF operator responsibilities
- aim to maximise separate collection of WEEE
- provide sufficient space to collect the 5 waste streams separately (see section 4.1)
- provide suitable information and signage for the public
- manage the WEEE as waste
- give access free of charge to your contracted PCS(s) to collect all WEEE received, unless you are a local authority DCF with approval from BIS to retain specific collection streams
You must take steps to:
- prevent mixing WEEE with non-WEEE waste
- minimise contamination within separately collected WEEE, and ensure it’s safe and can be transported and treated appropriately
Examples of contamination for each WEEE stream include:
- cooling equipment: food
- display equipment: cardboard
- lamps: cardboard and plastic bags
- all other WEEE: cardboard, plastic bags, out of scope lighting, scrap metal
You must get approval from your PCS to:
- contact an approved authorised treatment facility (AATF) to request collection
- remove any WEEE
4.1 WEEE collection streams
There are 5 WEEE collection streams, they are:
- A - large household appliances
- B - cooling equipment
- C - display equipment, eg cathode ray tube (CRT), liquid crystal display (LCD) and plasma displays (eg TVs and monitors)
- D - lamps (not filament light bulbs)
- E - all other WEEE (also known as small mixed WEEE except photovoltaic panels)
Photovoltaic panels are included in the WEEE system. Currently you do not have to provide dedicated space for collection as you’re unlikely to receive them from households in a big enough quantity. If you do receive these panels, they should be kept separate from other waste and you should contact your contracted PCS to arrange separate collection, treatment, recovery and sound environmental disposal. Household items powered by solar need to be put in the most appropriate collection stream.
For items in streams A and B you must provide space for containers, or an impermeable surface. For items in streams C, D and E you must provide space for containers of the appropriate type and size.
If you’ve been unable to store WEEE in containers (this is unusual) then your PCS (or its appointed contractor) is responsible for handling the WEEE off site.
You must meet the hazardous waste rules when you deal with hazardous WEEE.
If you can’t collect each of the 5 WEEE streams separately you must get BIS approval to collect fewer streams. You:
- may collect large household appliances (A) and small mixed WEEE (E) together
- must separate display equipment (C) and lamps (D)
- must ensure cooling equipment (B) is easy to separate
You must provide BIS evidence to show:
- why you are restricted, eg lack of space
- the options you’ve explored, eg use of smaller containers or more frequent collection
- your local authority provides facilities for other WEEE streams which are accessible to all and offers an equivalent service
4.2 Reuse of whole items
You must work with your contracted PCSs to prioritise separate collection of suitable whole appliances for treatment for reuse.
The PCS and DCF operator must ensure suitable whole items go to legitimate reuse organisations that are capable of:
- providing information on their downstream processes
- meeting all relevant legal requirements
- carrying out or arranging refurbishment
- guaranteeing reuse does happen
- producing evidence of reuse
The holder of the material supply contract with the reuse operator is responsible for ensuring legitimate reuse takes place.
PCSs can offset whole items for reuse against their collection targets providing the WEEE has had evidence issued against it by an AATF.
4.3 DCF self clearance and treatment
If you’re a local authority DCF operator you can retain responsibility for clearance of one or more WEEE collection streams and arrange your own treatment. You are financially responsible for these streams. You must ensure the WEEE is:
- transported legally
- treated by an AATF for reuse or recycling
By 31 January of the compliance year (calendar year) that you want to retain specific collection streams, you must tell BIS:
- the specific waste streams you will arrange for reuse and treatment
- the previous year’s tonnage you collected for those streams
- the details of the AATF(s) who will receive the WEEE
- contact details of the relevant local authority to answer queries
You must tell BIS every year you do this. Email BIS at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you put this option in place you cannot then get a PCS to collect this WEEE during the compliance year.
You must tell BIS the tonnage you collected in the compliance year by 31 January of the following year.
You must contract one or more PCSs to arrange clearance and treatment of the WEEE streams you do not retain yourself.
4.4 Chose a PCS
When you select a PCS you can check how it will:
- apply the waste hierarchy, in particular how it prioritises the reuse of whole WEEE
- meet your expected service level
- comply with this code of practice
- manage the order request and service delivery process
- manage the collection of, and provide you with the data you need to report to UK Waste Dataflow
- ensure the AATFs it uses will comply with environmental waste legislation
- advise to what extent your collections are needed when added to its existing collections to meet its own collection targets
- support you to educate and raise awareness of WEEE recycling to householders
- share with you any income derived from net scrap value of WEEE collected from you
5. Contract between the DCF and PCS
To ensure the DCF site is cleared of WEEE, a DCF operator can have:
- a single contract for all the WEEE streams it doesn’t self treat
- more than one contract for specific WEEE streams
The DCF must have a contract with each PCS it uses.
BIS or the environmental regulators have no involvement in drawing up a contract.
The contract must be legally binding between the 2 parties. It may include:
- a service level agreement to maximise separate collection of WEEE
- an agreement to comply with the rules in this code - you may include additional clauses which go beyond the requirements as long as you both agree to them
- a commitment to prioritise the collection of whole items for reuse
- the details of the reuse company(s) where whole WEEE will be sent for refurbishment and reuse
- the roles and responsibilities of the DCF and PCS
The contract must not include a ceiling on the quantity of separately collected WEEE a PCS will collect. This is because a PCS must still collect and finance all the WEEE from their contracted DCFs even if it has achieved its collection target for the compliance year for any or every category of WEEE.
A local authority DCF operator can request clearance of its WEEE by any PCS if during the compliance year (or previous compliance year) the contract with its contracted PCS has either expired or been terminated and has not been renewed or replaced. The quantity available must be enough to ensure an acceptable environmental and commercial outcome.
The PCS requested to clear the WEEE may ask the DCF operator for evidence that the contract has expired or terminated before it arranges to clear the WEEE. The DCF operator must provide it to make their request for WEEE clearance valid.
Where a PCS fails to comply with a request to clear WEEE, the DCF should inform the relevant environmental regulator and provide evidence that their contract has expired or been terminated.
PCSs receiving this type of request must arrange clearance, or arrange with another PCS to clear on its behalf. The PCS does not have to clear any specific WEEE streams the DCF operator opted to self treat (see section 4.3 for details).
A DCF operator must tell BIS who its contracted PCS(s) is and if it changes the appointment(s). Email BIS at email@example.com.
6. Third party arrangements
If a local authority subcontracts its site operation to a waste management company or other organisation the local authority remains responsible for ensuring:
- the appropriate environmental permit or exemption registration is in place
- compliance with the WEEE Regulations and this code of practice
- the correct authorisations are in place when the WEEE is transported from the site
- all separately collected WEEE is available to a PCS to collect for reuse or treatment
- it gets approval from BIS to retain specific WEEE collection streams for reuse and treatment at its own cost
The PCS contracted to the DCF is responsible for deciding which AATFs will treat the separately collected WEEE. If the waste management company or other organisation operating the DCF also runs an AATF they must get advance agreement with the relevant PCS to have the WEEE treated at their AATF site.
Evidence can only be issued on WEEE delivered from the DCF to the AATF where the PCS has agreed to this arrangement. See the WEEE evidence and national protocols guidance.
7. DCF: site practice
You must always observe health and safety requirements.
You must make sure each WEEE collection stream is separated and provide clear directions to the defined area with correctly labelled containers.
The PCS provides your containers free of charge for the contracted WEEE.
The local authority, or its waste management or other contractor covers the cost of:
- containers for the WEEE it clears itself
- running the site, eg layout, facilities, staff
You must not do any treatment to the WEEE beyond sorting equipment for reuse. You must not remove any components (eg compressors from fridges) from the equipment. The only exception is where a health and safety risk assessment document requires specific action to mitigate risk. If the specified action is to remove any item or component from the WEEE, then this should always be retained with the separate collection and passed onto the assigned PCS.
8. PCS responsibilities
You must work with a DCF operator to:
- maximise separate collection of WEEE
- prioritise collection of whole items that can be treated for reuse
You must adhere to the contract you have formed with the DCF operator. You must continue to collect WEEE from your contracted DCFs even if you’ve achieved your collection target for the compliance year in any or every WEEE category.
You must respond to a request from a local authority DCF site operator, or its contracted site operator, to clear its WEEE when its PCS/DCF contract(s) has expired or terminated. You can ask for proof of the expired or terminated contract to validate the request. And you should check the quantity available for collection is enough to be environmentally and commercially viable. You must clear, or arrange for another PCS to clear the WEEE within 5 working days of receiving a validated request.
You must give local authorities the information they need to meet their statutory reporting obligations on waste and recycling. This must be within one month from the end of the last collection month. Provide the information in electronic format unless you’re asked for paper copies.
8.1 WEEE collection containers
For WEEE that’s made available to you by a DCF, you must provide, maintain, refurbish and replace the containers at your cost. Containers must meet waste storage and transport of waste rules. See the:
8.2 Transporting the WEEE
All separately collected WEEE must be taken to an AATF for treatment.
You are responsible for the cost of transporting the WEEE. You may transport from one or more DCFs to a central transport point for:
- transport to an AATF
- an AATF to collect
You may use a contractor to move the WEEE but you will retain responsibility for its legal transportation.
8.3 WEEE treatment standards
All separately collected WEEE you clear from DCFs must be treated in line with best available treatment, recovery and recycling techniques.
9. Failure to meet the code
If you don’t meet the rules set out in the code you may:
- face enforcement action from BIS or your environmental regulator
- have your DCF or PCS approval cancelled
A DCF operator must try to resolve contractual failures direct with its PCS. If the DCF and PCS cannot resolve their issues and their contract is terminated then the local authority DCF will need to make a contract with an alternative PCS.
Until the new contract is set up a local authority DCF can ask any PCS to arrange clearance of its separately collected WEEE. The local authority should report the PCS to the appropriate environmental regulator with details of the contractual failure. The environmental regulator may withdraw the PCS’s approval for failing to comply with this code.
A PCS must tell BIS if it:
- cannot access the DCF site free of charge to clear the contracted WEEE
- can prove not all the WEEE arising at the site is being made available for collection, excluding any WEEE streams the DCF has opted to self-treat with the agreement of BIS
You must give BIS evidence to back up your claims. BIS will only act where the issues cannot be resolved between the PCS and DCF and if valid evidence is given. If BIS concludes the DCF is failing to meet this code it will give the DCF corrective actions to follow. If the DCF fails to implement the actions then BIS may withdraw its approval.