Guidance

WEEE: collecting used and waste electrical and electronic equipment

Guidance for designated collection facilities (DCF) and charities on how to comply with WEEE and waste regulations.

Charities

If you run a charity or not-for profit organisation and receive used electrical and electronic equipment (EEE) for resale, which still work and you intend to reuse and sell, then the waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) regulations don’t apply.

If the item is unsuitable for reuse and you intend to discard it then it’s classed as waste. You will be the waste producer so must follow waste regulations:

If the used EEE becomes WEEE and you are unable to return it to a DCF you may be able to return it to a producer compliance scheme (PCS) for recycling.

If you want to set up and run a DCF or become an approved authorised treatment facility (AATF), you will need to follow the same steps as a commercial company.

DCFs

DCFs are places where some household WEEE is collected before being sent for treatment, reuse and recycling. WEEE collected at DCFs will generally be recycled under a system financed by EEE producers.

Local authorities (LAs), or their contractors, run most DCFs at civic amenity and waste collection sites. Other organisations may manage DCF sites, including distributors, retailers, producers, charities and social enterprises.

See the list of local authority DCFs and the name of the PCS they’re registered with.

Approval to become a DCF

You register online on the Valpak website. Valpak WEEE Retail Services Ltd is the appointed operator of the Distributor Take back Scheme (DTS) and manages the registration of all DCFs. They submit sites to Defra for approval.

DCF: your duties

You must

  • comply with the DCF Code of Practice
  • have capacity and arrangements in place to collect WEEE in line with the code of practice
  • have the necessary environmental permit or exemption
  • keep WEEE stored separately from other waste and split in 6 separate areas or containers for different types
  • ensure the WEEE (classed as household) collected at your site is handed over to a PCS for proper treatment and recycling or reuse or self-cleared as notified to Defra

LA DCFs must notify Defra in writing by 31 January each year of any WEEE collection streams they intend to retain instead of passing to a PCS. The necessary details and data must be provided.

Email: weee@defra.gsi.gov.uk

If you fail to comply with the code of practice your DCF approval may be withdrawn.

Managing non household WEEE

Local authority (LA) waste sites and waste transfer stations can accept business waste EEE providing they are permitted to receive this waste type. If there’s a local policy in place LAs can charge for the service.

You need to manage business WEEE in 2 ways:

  1. if it falls within the definition of ‘private household’ WEEE (business to consumer – B2C) then it can be handed to a PCS and have evidence issued on it
  2. if it is classed as business to business WEEE (business to business – B2B) then it must be separated and the LA incurs the cost of dealing with it. The LA should keep records of this waste

Definition of ‘private household’ WEEE

This is WEEE which comes from private households and WEEE which comes from commercial, industrial, institutional and other sources which, because of its ‘nature’ and ‘quantity’, is similar to that from private households. Subject to the nature and quantity, where the waste from EEE was likely to have been by both a private household and users of other than private households, it will be classed as private household WEEE.

Items which fall under the ‘nature’ criteria could be domestic refrigerators, kettles, gas discharge lamps and computers.

The ‘number’ of items being disposed of will determine whether they can be treated as B2C WEEE. For example, a private household is likely to dispose of one domestic refrigerator over a number of years, at most two on one occasion, so a business disposing of more than this number and with any more frequency is unlikely to be able to justify that the refrigerators should be classed as B2C WEEE.

The decision to classify B2B WEEE as B2C WEEE must always be made at the point of collection, and must be justified. See the guidance on how to correctly identify B2B and B2C EEE and WEEE.

Checking WEEE from business sources

The environmental regulators will monitor the issuing of B2C evidence on WEEE from businesses on a case by case basis in the course of routine compliance monitoring. Where B2C evidence has been issued an audit trail should be available to justify the classification of B2B WEEE as B2C.

WEEE and the Controlled Waste Regulations

The definition of WEEE from private households under the WEEE Regulations is narrower than set out in the Controlled Waste Regulations. WEEE from educational establishments, hospitals, prisons and penal institutions will not qualify as WEEE from private households and should be treated as non-household WEEE.

More information

The legislation and government guidance:

Additional advice on collecting and treating WEEE:

Published 6 May 2014
Last updated 18 January 2016 + show all updates
  1. Code of practice link updated to link to the new version Code of practice.
  2. First published.