Guidance

Regulations: Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE)

Guidance for manufacturers, importers and distributors.

Overview

Electrical and electronic equipment (EEE) is regulated to reduce the amount of waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) incinerated or sent to landfill sites.

Reduction is achieved through various measures which encourage the recovery, reuse and recycling of products and components.

The Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Regulations 2013 (as amended) is the underpinning UK legislation.

What is covered

The regulations cover EEE defined in 14 broad categories.

The regulations do not apply to:

  • products for military use
  • a piece of equipment designed for and installed in another type of equipment which can only function within that product, for example a built-in satellite navigation system installed into cars, boats or aeroplanes
  • filament bulbs apart from LED filament bulbs, to which the regulations do apply
  • equipment designed to be sent into space
  • large-scale stationary industrial tools
  • large-scale fixed installations which perform specific industrial operations
  • transport for persons or goods, excluding electric 2 wheeled vehicles which are not type-approved
  • off-road mobile machinery for professional use only
  • equipment designed only for research and development use and only available via business to business (B2B)
  • implantable medical devices
  • medical devices that are infective at end-of-life

Further information on EEE scope is available from the Environment Agency.

Extent of obligation

Producers who:

  • manufacture and sell EEE under their own brand in the United Kingdom (UK)
  • buy EEE and then make changes to rebrand the product and resell to the UK market. (If the maker’s brand appears on the equipment, then they are the producer)
  • import EEE on a commercial basis into the UK
  • are established outside of the UK and supply EEE directly to the UK market by distance selling e.g. online, mail order, or by phone

Distributors (including retailers) who make EEE available on the UK market, including by distance selling.

Producers may also be distributors and can often be the same business. However, private individuals importing products are not liable to comply with the regulations.

How to comply

Producer obligations

Register as a producer annually. How producers do this depends on how much EEE they have placed on the UK market in the previous calendar year (also known as a compliance year):

  • if they place less than 5 tonnes of EEE on the UK market in a compliance year, they can register directly with their environmental regulator as a small producer
  • if they place more than 5 tonnes of EEE on the market, they must join a producer compliance scheme (PCS)

The PCS takes on their obligations to finance the collection, treatment, recovery and environmentally sound disposal of household WEEE collected in the UK,

The weight of any batteries in this EEE must be subtracted and reported separately, under the regulations covering waste batteries.

Ensure a ‘crossed out wheeled bin’ symbol of appropriate size as per the BSI EN50419 standard is displayed on the product.

Within one year of placing new EEE on the UK market, ensure information is made available on the reprocessing of EEE components and materials.

Retain all relevant documentation for at least four years.

Further information and templates to help producers comply with the regulations are available from the Environment Agency.

Distributor obligations

All distributors must:

  • offer free take back on WEEE
  • accept WEEE for free from customers supplied with like-for-like products, regardless of whether this is done in store, online or by mail order
  • retain a record of all WEEE taken back for at least four years
  • provide customers access to written information on the service provided and what they should do with their WEEE

Retailers with a sales area of EEE greater than 400 square metres must also accept small WEEE (less than 25 cm on its longest side) for free from private household customers at their retail site or close to it without the requirement to purchase new EEE.

If your business sells less than £100,000 of EEE per year, you can join the Distributor Takeback Scheme (DTS) now.

Read further information to help distributors comply with the regulations

Download templates for distributors operating a take-back scheme

Download templates for distributors who are DTS members

The role of the Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS)

The Office for Product Safety and Standards has been appointed by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to enforce the regulations in the UK in relation to:

  • marking of EEE with the ‘crossed-out wheeled bin’ symbol
  • distributor obligations

Where to find out more

WEEE regulations

Distributor information

Producer information from the Environment Agency

Guidance for designated collection facilities and charities

Guidance on how to apply to be an AATF

Lists of EEE producers, PCSs, AATFs, approved exporters and the WEEE Regulations 2013 (as amended)

Contact us

If you have a specific enquiry about compliance or wish to contact us regarding suspected non-compliance we recommend that you complete the online enquiry form, choose the relevant legislation and follow the on screen instructions.

Alternatively you can contact our helpdesk on 0121 345 1201.

Or in writing to:

Office for Product Safety and Standards
4th Floor Cannon House
18 The Priory Queensway
Birmingham
B4 6BS
United Kingdom

Subscribe to our free email alert service to keep up to date on the latest developments concerning the legislation that OPSS enforces.

Published 8 January 2018
Last updated 1 January 2021 + show all updates
  1. Updated at the end of the transition period to reflect minor amendments to the regulations, which do not impact on how to comply.

  2. EU Exit Update

  3. Updated to reflect changes to the scope of the regulations.

  4. First published.