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1. WEEE evidence: what it is
WEEE evidence is proof of reuse or treatment by an approved authorised treatment facility (AATF) or export of whole appliance by an approved exporter (AE). Evidence is collected in the form of evidence notes issued by the WEEE Settlement Centre.
An AATF can issue evidence on UK WEEE that is:
- refurbished for reuse
An AE can issue evidence on UK WEEE exported as a whole appliance for reuse overseas.
Evidence can be issued on:
- household WEEE (also known as business to consumer (B2C), when it’s separately collected for a producer compliance scheme (PCS) by a designated collection facility (DCF), a distributor, or under a system set up to accept WEEE from final holders
- non-household WEEE (also known as business to business (B2B), when it’s collected by a PCS for non-household members, or by the non-household producer who, with agreement from their PCS, collect WEEE direct from customers
Household and non-household WEEE collected in these ways is ‘obligated WEEE’.
See the guidance on how to correctly identify Business to consumer (B2C) and business to business (B2B) EEE and WEEE.
You can’t issue evidence on ‘non-obligated WEEE’. This is WEEE received by an AATF or AE that is not from or on behalf of a PCS.
2. Evidence notes: who issues
The AATF who first receives the WEEE from a PCS and AEs can issue evidence notes.
When WEEE goes direct to an authorised treatment facility (ATF) for refurbishment and reuse under a contract with an AATF, the AATF can issue the evidence notes for the reuse. Both have a duty to keep records showing the audit trail of WEEE refurbished for reuse.
3. Evidence notes: who accepts
These are accepted by the PCS.
4. WEEE Settlement Centre
This is a secure website for creating, issuing and receiving evidence notes.
Your environmental regulator needs to give approval for you to operate in the compliance period. When the WEEE Settlement Centre receives confirmation of your approval you will be given login details to enter the WEEE Settlement Centre website.
5. Complete the evidence note
There are 2 types of evidence note on the WEEE Settlement Centre website, one for household WEEE and one for non-household WEEE.
Select the note you need for the WEEE you’ve received and treated. Each note gets a unique reference number. You must also provide:
- your operator name, address and site reference
- the name and address of the PCS that will receive the evidence note
- confirmation from you the WEEE has been received for treatment or reuse as a whole appliance
- tonnes or kilograms of WEEE the evidence note is for – you need to also break this down by WEEE category to the nearest kilogram (if displaying in tonnes, enter the weight to 3 decimal places)
- confirmation that the weights are either ‘actual’ or ‘protocol’ – ‘actual’ applies to measured weights, average weights ‘protocol’ applies to where the small mixed WEEE (SMW), large domestic appliance (LDA) or site specific protocol has been used
When complete, send the note to your recipient’s account for their approval. Once an evidence note is accepted by a PCS it can’t be transferred to another PCS.
6. Approve evidence note
Only the PCS named on an evidence note can approve it.
To view an evidence note, log into the WEEE Settlement Centre website. New notes will show in your account.
If the details on the note are correct, select ‘approve’.
If not, return the note to the AATF or AE for correction.
If you receive a note by mistake, decline it.
7. AATFs: recovery and recycling targets
You must prove you achieve the recovery and recycling targets listed in Part 2, paragraph 23, of Schedule 11 of the regulations.
Recovery and recycling targets for categories of WEEE in the period 1 January 2016 until 31 December 2018
|1||Large household appliances||85%||80%|
|2||Small household appliances||75%||55%|
|3||IT and telecommunications equipment||80%||70%|
|6||Electrical and electronic tools (with the exception of large-scale stationary industrial tools)||75%||55%|
|7||Toys, leisure and sports equipment||75%||55%|
|8||Medical devices (with the exception of all implanted and infected products)||75%||55%|
|9||Monitoring and control instruments||75%||55%|
|13||Gas discharge lamps and LED light sources||no target||80%|
To do this you will need to keep site input and output records of WEEE or WEEE derived materials that are:
- sent to a third party site for recovery and recycling
Where materials are sent to a third party you must maintain an audit trail which demonstrates that they are achieving the recovery and recycling targets.
The evidence needed to demonstrate that the targets have been met may vary depending on the WEEE and treatment activity.
For example, with some mixed WEEE waste streams, it may be enough to assume all the metal content is recycled.
The acceptable audit process is based on a mass balance of inputs and outputs from AATF sites. If you can show you have met the targets in another way that better suits you, that is acceptable.
Meeting the targets is a condition of AATF approval and if you can’t show you are meeting the targets, your AATF approval may be suspended.
Recovery and recycling targets: example using a mass balance
The table shows the inputs and outputs of an AATF for SMW.
|Input||Tonnes||Output material||Tonnes||% of input||Amount recycled %||Amount recycled (Tonnes)|
In this example 100 tonnes of SMW was treated, producing materials for reprocessing. This formula calculates whether the recovery targets for the categories in the SMW are met:
- total amount recycled (tonnes) divided by the total amount input (tonnes) x 100. So the percentage recovered recycled = 91.5 divided by 100 x 100 = 91.5%
The highest recovery target for any of the categories is 85%. As the overall recovery/recycling rate in this example is 91.5%, all the targets for categories in SMW are met.
The recovery and recycling targets flow chart shows how you can prove you’ve met the targets. It starts with the largest output by weight. Material outputs can be assumed to be 100% recycled if the reprocessor meets the recycling efficiency standards agreed by your environmental regulator.
How to complete the recovery and recycling rate template
You need to submit a completed actual recovery and recycling rate template each year when you apply for approval.
If you operate more than one site you can total up the recovery and recycling rates for all the sites and submit your data in one template.
You can report in the 6 collection streams, they are:
- large domestic appliances (LDA)
- cooling equipment
- display equipment
- small mixed WEEE (SMW)
- photovoltaic panels
If you treat only a single category (for example category 4, consumer equipment) within a stream you need to report by that category instead of the collection stream.
If you treat both SMW and individual categories of WEEE then apply the recovery and recycling rate for SMW to the individual categories as well. You must only do this if you use similar recycling processes. For example, if SMW is the main input (material entering your facility) but you also receive category 3 and 4 in smaller volumes, then report the SMW recovery and recycling rates to these categories as well.
You can use any of the following methodologies to calculate your recovery and recycling rates:
- mass balance data
- batch testing specific collection streams – you can choose your batch size
- another methodology – check your approach with your environmental regulator
You do not need to consider seasonal shifts in WEEE input because the impact on the overall recycling rate is likely to be minimal.
The data in your template lasts for one year. You only need to rerun your sample testing for future years if there is significant change to:
- the recycling technology, for example you install a water table for recycling residues which previously went to landfill
- your WEEE input streams, for example you change from just receiving category 3 to include SMW
- new technology or legislation that alters downstream recycling and recovery rates, for example implementation of persistent organic pollutants (POPs) may require UK disposal of brominated flame retardant (BFR) plastics
Acceptable reprocessor recycling efficiencies
|Waste received by a reprocessor||Percentage of waste which must actually be recycled (% recycling efficiency)|
|Paper and cardboard||85|
|Glass (at the container works)||98|
|Glass (at the cullet processing facility)||96|
|Steel (from the foundry, basic oxygen steelmaking*, and electric arc)||98|
*Note: basic oxygen steel making uses pure oxygen to produce steel from liquid blast-furnace iron and scrap. The electric arc method uses electricity at a high current to melt scrap steel into liquid steel.
If the recycling efficiency of the reprocessor meets the minimum percentages set out above you can assume that the material has been 100% recycled for the purpose of meeting the recovery targets. If the reprocessor recycling efficiency falls below the minimum you will need to take this into account in your recovery target calculation. In the recovery targets example above the reprocessor recycling efficiency for plastic was 50%, well below the acceptable efficiency, so the 50% figure should be used in the calculation.
8. AEs: recovery and recycling targets
You don’t need to meet recovery and recycling targets if you export WEEE derived materials that have evidence issued upon it by an AATF. But you may need to keep supporting information to show that WEEE materials sent to a reprocessor have been recycled to the required efficiency standards so the AATFs you work for can demonstrate that they have met the targets.
If you issue evidence notes for WEEE exported for reuse, you are expected to show 100% recovery.
9. AATFs and AEs: keeping records
Records support your evidence notes, and prove you are meeting recovery and recycling targets for the WEEE that you either treat in the UK or export. Your environmental regulator will check this information during compliance audits, so keep your records for at least 4 years.
The records can include:
- details of testing and repair
- protocols and weights for reuse
- input and output records
- duty of care waste transfer notes
- weighbridge tickets
- sampling records
- input logs
- treatment types
- transfer and consignment notes for movement of WEEE and WEEE materials
- bills of lading or transport documents
- details of reprocessor treatments and recycling efficiencies
For exported WEEE you will also have:
- customs documents – including container numbers if used
- bills of lading
- shipment details
- Waste Shipment Regulations documents (such as Annex VII documents) and invoices
- contracts and records between you and the receiving site
You may also use other means of evidence, for example, photographs of WEEE arriving or leaving your site.
Keep detailed and accurate records for any transactions, especially descriptions of WEEE on transfer notes, be as specific as possible. Any records held should also provide a link to the category and type of evidence issued.
If you operate as both an AATF and an AE, you will need documents showing the transfer from treatment to WEEE-derived materials for export.
For any unrecoverable WEEE you must keep records and supporting documents to show disposal was environmentally sound.
10. Offences and penalties
If you fail to comply with the regulations you may face criminal prosecution.
The penalties imposed for failing to keep to the regulations are fines and these will reflect the severity of the offence.
Magistrates’ court: maximum fine £5,000.
Crown Court: unlimited.
11. Testing and repair for reuse
You must show how you assess what WEEE you receive or export is reusable. This includes any regular testing or repair protocols.
You must also tell us how you:
- work out the weights and categories of WEEE you reuse
- account for WEEE unsuitable for reuse
Only issue an evidence note for WEEE on receipt if you’re sure it is reusable.
If you export used electrical and electronic equipment (UEEE), follow the minimum requirements specified in Schedule 9 of the WEEE Regulations 2013.
If you are issuing reuse evidence for another ATF, you must provide your environment regulator with full details of the testing and repair methods you use. Include a full audit trail for all the evidence issued. You must prove there are existing markets that will buy the reused WEEE.
12. Best available treatment recovery and recycling techniques (BATRRT)
ATFs must treat WEEE using BATRRT.
13. Batteries in WEEE
Do not include the weight of batteries in any evidence notes you issue, or in any quarterly return you send to your environmental regulator.
You must have a method for deducting the weight of batteries from the total weight of WEEE you receive.
For AATFs carrying out multiple activities on site this may not always be possible. See the examples for guidance on what to do for the activities listed.
Example 1: AATFs and AEs accepting single category WEEE streams
Remove batteries from the WEEE before treatment, this is a BATRRT requirement. Deduct the tonnage of batteries removed from the tonnage of WEEE received.
Example 2: AATFs and AEs with site-specific protocols
Where possible calculate the actual weight of batteries, otherwise use the site specific protocol agreed with your environmental regulator.
Example 3: AATFs carrying out continuous bulk processes or sending WEEE to other facilities for treatment
- develop a site specific protocol for the percentage weight of batteries to be deducted
- collate battery weight from treatment sites that take your WEEE and deduct this from the tonnage of WEEE you originally received
If neither of the above are practical, use the SMW protocol percentage, deducting 0.06 percent from the total weight of WEEE.
Keep records to prove this. The amount of WEEE evidence issued should match the amounts of WEEE treated, recovered and recycled, minus the weight of batteries.
14. Use of WEEE protocols
DCFs collect WEEE in 6 separate streams:
|A||Large domestic appliances (LDA)|
|C||Display equipment containing cathode ray tubes|
|D||Gas discharge lamps|
|E||All other WEEE (normally called small mixed WEEE - SMW)|
There are protocols for streams A and E. They provide an average percentage breakdown by category that you can apply to the total WEEE you receive.
The protocols can only be applied by AATFs receiving stream A or E WEEE for treatment from local authority DCFs (LA DCFs).
The SMW protocol (stream E) can also apply to WEEE not collected from LA DCFs, providing you meet all these conditions:
- the combined total of WEEE received is less than 500 tonnes a year
- you collect WEEE separately from households
- the WEEE is comparable to SMW from an LA DCF
- the WEEE collection is part of a contract with a PCS
With these conditions satisfied, the SMW protocol can be used for collections from:
- retailer take-back scheme
- kerbside or bring-bank business to consumer (B2C)
- mixed business to business (B2B) SMW
Don’t use the protocols:
- for reuse WEEE
- if you separate WEEE into reuse and treatment
- if you are an AATF receiving pre-segregated WEEE in a single category, or specific items within a category like mobile phones
15. SMW protocol
Use the percentages in the table below to calculate the weight of SMW received from DCFs for each category.
To calculate these figures use the total tonnage of SMW received multiplied by the percentage for the category.
Example: an AATF receives 4,466 tonnes of SMW from DCFs. They apply the protocol to work out the weight of WEEE for evidence notes and how much to allocate to each category. You can do this as a one step calculation and there is no need to deduct the weight of batteries first for each category.
Calculation for category 1: 4,466 tonnes x 12.6% = 562.720 tonnes.
Repeat the calculation for each category, including the non-WEEE and batteries fractions.
This means the AATF can issue a total of 4,194.470 tonnes of evidence.
16. LDA protocol
The protocol allows for 87% WEEE and 13% non-WEEE.
To calculate these figures use the total tonnage of LDA received multiplied by the percentage for the category.
Example: in 1 month an AATF receives 2,789 tonnes of LDA from a DCF. You can do this as a one step calculation and there is no need to deduct the weight of batteries first for each category.
Calculation for category 1: 2,789 tonnes x 87% = 2,426.430 tonnes.
Repeat the calculation for the non-WEEE fraction.
|Category 1 LDA||87%||2,426.430|
This means the AATF can issue a total of 2,426.430 tonnes of evidence.
17. Mixed SMW and LDA
An AATF receiving mixed SMW and LDA from a DCF can apply both protocols.
You must have accurate data on the percentage split of SMW and LDA within the load. Your environmental regulator will accept 2 methods for working this out:
- hand-sorting into separate loads of SMW and LDA
- regular sampling of a representative tonnage to find an average percentage split between SMW and LDA – how often you must do this will be agreed as part of your application for approval as an AATF
In your AATF application, you must always set out your chosen method.
18. Alternative protocols
A group of AATFs or AATF operators, trade bodies or other associations may develop a WEEE protocol, but before using it they must have the agreement of the UK’s environmental regulators.
You can submit a proposal for a protocol at any time, but you can’t apply an approved protocol retrospectively.
A protocol must specify:
- minimum sampling requirements as a percentage of the tonnage for a particular waste stream
- frequency of sampling
- use of other data, for example, if a retailer or producer holds accurate records of items through a return or take-back scheme
To apply for an alternative protocol you need to:
- send your proposed protocol to the environmental regulator of the UK country where most of your work takes place
- include evidence of sampling to support the protocol – your environmental regulator may also want see the sampling in action
If the results are acceptable to the environmental regulators, the protocol is accepted.
19. UK regulators
Environment Agency (England):
Telephone: 03708 506 506
Northern Ireland Environment Agency:
Telephone: 028 9056 9837
Scottish Environment Protection Agency:
Telephone: 01786 457700
Natural Resources Wales:
Telephone: 0300 065 3000