How do the WEEE regulations affect you?
The WEEE Directive was introduced to protect natural resources and manage e-waste for the benefit of consumers and the environment, the WEEE Regulations specify obligations that producers who place electrical and electronic equipment (EEE) on the UK market must meet.
The WEEE Directive is a ‘producer responsibility’ directive which means that producers of electrical and electronic equipment (EEE) are required to take financial responsibility for the environmental impact of the products that they place on the market, specifically when those products become waste.
In the UK, the WEEE Directive has been transposed into national law by The Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Regulations 2013, as amended.
What is WEEE?
WEEE is waste electrical and electronic equipment. It is end-of-life electrical and electronic equipment (EEE) and covers virtually everything with a plug or battery. It is classed as either household (B2C) or non-household (B2B).
What’s in scope?
In January 2019, the WEEE Regulations moved to ‘open scope’, meaning that all equipment that falls under the definition of EEE is in scope unless specifically listed as exempt or excluded. In the UK, EEE must be reported in one of the 14 EEE categories, which can be found here.
More information on the definition of EEE, the exemptions/exclusions from open scope, and the 14 EEE categories, can be found in the full guidance from the Environment Agency on gov.uk.
Are you an EEE Producer?
You are a producer if you:
- Manufacture and sell EEE under your own brand
- Or, are established outside the UK and sell EEE directly to the UK market by distance selling
Here “sell” means placing on the UK market for the first time.
This definition therefore covers EEE supplied whether at a cost or free of charge and those producers selling direct to end users through the internet as well as those selling their own branded EEE through third parties such as distributors.
Your obligations as an EEE Producer
- If you place, or expect to place, in a year more than five tonnes of EEE on the UK market, you must register with an approved WEEE Producer Compliance Scheme (PCS) such as REPIC by 15th November prior to each compliance year. You will need to provide registration information about your company and the EEE products it sells, which has to be signed by a director or company secretary (or relevant authorised person of a partnership or individual). REPIC’s straight forward registration process will guide you through this.
- New producers entering the UK market must register with a PCS, or as a small producer (see below) within 28 days of first placing EEE on the market or forming the intention to do so.
- Declare your EEE producer registration number to any distributor who sells or otherwise supplies your B2C EEE. The registration number is in the generic format of WEE/AB1234CD and is provided to the PCS that a producer first registers with.
- Mark EEE products with the crossed out wheeled bin symbol, a date mark and Producer Identification Mark (PIMs).
- Where you are registered with a PCS:
- Notify your PCS of any changes to your registration information within 28 days of the change.
- Provide details of your PIMs.
- Calculate and provide information on a quarterly basis on the amount, in tonnes, of B2C EEE that you have placed on the market in each of the fourteen categories. This information is required annually in relation to B2B EEE although we strongly recommend you also provide this information quarterly.
- You must finance the cost your PCS incurs in collecting and treating WEEE, or otherwise finances, on your behalf. For household EEE producers this is your share of the annual WEEE collections target set by government in each of the categories of EEE your company places on the UK market; your share is calculated using the EEE tonnes your company placed on the UK market in the preceding compliance year compared to all other registered producers in the same category of EEE. For non-household EEE producers, unless your company passed on its financing responsibility with the original sale of a product you must finance the treatment of your own products when they reach end of life and the end user contacts you to request disposal.
- Your PCS will register you with the appropriate environment agency, as well as provide them with relevant information about the EEE you have placed on the market and details of the WEEE they have collected and delivered for treatment and recycling to an approved treatment facility on your behalf.
- Retain records pertaining to your producer obligations for a period of four years from the date that they are produced.
- Provide information on reuse and environmentally sound treatment of each new type of EEE put on the market within one year of it being placed on the market, including:
- The location of dangerous substances and preparations
- The different components and materials included in the EEE
- This information can either be provided in the form of manuals or by way of electronic media
- Comply with the requirements of Article 8 of the WEEE Directive where you put EEE on the market by means of distance communication in any member state except the UK on or after 1st July 2007. Article 8 applies only to B2C sales.
- If you place 5 tonnes or less of EEE on the UK market in a year you are regarded as a small producer and are not required to join a PCS but must register directly with the relevant environment agency by 31st January of each year
If you sell EEE directly to a UK householder, you will also be classed a distributor and must comply with these obligations separately. For more on distributor responsibilities, click here.