How do the regulations affect you?
A distributor is defined in the WEEE Regulations 2013 as any person in the supply chain who makes an item of EEE available on the market. However, the WEEE Regulations only place obligations on distributors that supply EEE to the household end user irrespective of the sales method. This includes sales to household end users through retail stores, internet sales, direct sales to staff or sales through exhibitions or similar shows.
There are no distributor obligations in relation to non-household (B2B) end users.
Distributors have obligations to facilitate customer ‘take-back’ of their waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE). The Regulations currently give distributors a choice of complying by either providing in-store take-back services or opting out of this and joining the Distributor Take-back Scheme (DTS). The DTS assists in the funding the establishment of the UK local authority Designated Collection Facility (DCF) network. The opt-out is changing for larger distributors in 2021. Full details of your distributor obligations can be found here.
As a distributor, you must provide free information to your customers on the type of take back service you provide. This information must cover:
- The take-back service you provide, including collect on delivery
- How they can reuse and recycle EEE
- Why WEEE must be separated from other waste
- The damaging effects of failing to recycle EEE
- The meaning of the below symbol
Distributors who sell more than 32 kilogrammes a year of portable batteries to end users must accept waste portable batteries back from end users without charge. This is regardless of the method of sale used. The regulations apply to shops selling portable batteries and to all distance sellers within the UK that sell portable batteries to UK end users. Distributors must also provide information to end users about their take-back arrangements at their sales points.
Distributors who sell equipment containing portable batteries do not have to take back portable batteries from end users, unless they also sell portable batteries separately. Distributors of such equipment also do not have to provide information to end users about take back of waste portable batteries unless they also sell portable batteries separately.
As a distributor you are entitled to free of charge collection of the waste portable batteries that you collect by a battery compliance scheme.
You can find full information on your obligations as a distributor on the gov.uk website
Retailers and distributors that use or handle packaging or packaging materials are obligated to comply with UK packaging waste regulations if:
- They have a turnover of more than £2 million (based on accounts from the previous financial year)
- They have handled 50 tonnes or more of packaging or packaging materials in the last calendar year
As a retailer or distributor, you will be classed as handling packaging if you or your group of companies carry out any of the following activities:
- Packing/filling – putting goods into packaging or put packaging around goods
- Selling – supplying packaged goods to the end user
- Importing – importing packaged goods or packaging materials from outside the UK
If you meet any of the above criteria, you are obligated to reduce the amount of packaging you produce, reduce the amount of packaging waste that is sent to landfill, and increase the volume of packaging waste that’s recycled and recovered.
Every year, retailers or distributors registered as packaging producers must also obtain evidence of compliance and submit a certificate of compliance by 31 January of the following year.
For more guidance on your packaging obligations as a distributor or retailer, visit the gov.uk website.