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.

Who is responsible for compliance?

Producers which:

  • manufacture and sell EEE under their own brand in the UK
  • resell equipment made by someone else under their own brand (if the maker’s brand appears on the equipment, it is 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 (for example online, mail order, by phone)

Distributors (including retailers) which make EEE available on the UK market, extending to any means of 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 do I 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 direct 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 Batteries and 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

Accept WEEE for free from customers purchasing like-for-like products, regardless of whether this is done in store, online or by mail order:

  • 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

Where a take back WEEE service is offered, retain relevant documentation of WEEE returned for at least four years.

Where a take back WEEE service is not offered, pay to join a Distributor Takeback Scheme (DTS) and direct end users to their local authority recycling centres.

Provide customers access to written information on the service provided, what they should do with their WEEE and the meaning of the crossed-out wheeled bin symbol.

Further information and templates to help distributors comply with the regulations are available.

What is the role of the Office for Product Safety and Standards?

Safety & 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

Other aspects of the regulations are enforced by the Environment Agency and its counterparts in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, in relation to the operation of:

  • Producer Compliance Schemes (PCS)
  • Approved Authorised Treatment Facilities (AATF)
  • designated collection facilities

Where can I find out more?

WEEE Regulations:

Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Regulations 2013

Distributor information:

B2C and B2B EEE and WEEE: how to correctly identify

Electrical waste: retailer and distributor responsibilities

Distributor Take back Scheme (operated by Valpak)

Distributor Take back Scheme (PV Cycle)

Producer information from the Environment Agency:

WEEE: apply for approval as a producer compliance scheme

WEEE: collecting used and waste electrical and electronic equipment

EEE producers: how to accurately identify EEE

How to assess and report B2C and B2B electrical and electronic equipment (EEE)

Guidance for designated collection facilities and charities:

WEEE: collecting used and waste electrical and electronic equipment

Guidance on how to apply to be an AATF:

WEEE: reuse and retreatment

Lists of EEE producers, PCSs, AATFs, approved exporters and the WEEE Directive (2012/19/EU):

WEEE public registers (Environment Agency)

WEEE (European Commission)

If you have a specific enquiry about compliance with the regulations in relation to the role of Safety & Standards, please use the contact details on our enforcement services page.

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Published 8 January 2018
Last updated 18 December 2018 + show all updates
  1. Updated to reflect changes to the scope of the regulations.
  2. First published.