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About the WEEE Directive

The “Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE)” already became European law on 13th February 2003.  This Directive aims at tackling the problem of increasing electrical and electronic equipment waste.  The WEEE Directive promotes the reuse and recycling of electrical and electronic equipment.  Producers will be responsible for taking back, treating and/or recycling of electrical and electronic equipment.

 

Requirements of the Directive are summarised below to allow manufacturers to have a brief understanding of the requirements.  For details of the Directives, it is suggested to visit the following websites:

http://europa.eu.int/eur-lex/pri/en/oj/dat/2003/l_037/l_03720030213en00240038.pdf

http://europa.eu.int/eur-lex/pri/en/oj/dat/2003/l_345/l_34520031231en01060107.pdf


WEEE Highlights

DIRECTIVE OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL
on Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE)

Objectives
WEEE Directive aims to
• Prevent waste electrical and electronic equipment
• Increase re-use, recycling and other forms of recovery
• Improve the environmental performance of all sectors in the supply chain

This Directive was scheduled for implementation on 13 August 2005. 

Scope
The WEEE Directive covers both commercial and domestic equipment, including products manufactured before the Directive comes into force.  This Directive covers ten categories of equipment designed for use with a voltage rating not exceeding 1000 volt for alternating current and 1500 volt for direct current.

Product Design
The design and production of electrical and electronic equipment are encouraged to take into account the dismantling and recovery of such equipment.

Separate Collection Requirements
Equipment falling under the ten categories shall be handled under separate collection systems.  Different member countries in the European Union may have different collection mechanisms.  Producers are suggested to note the respective requirements of different countries.
 
Selective Treatment Requirements
1. As a minimum the following substances, preparations and components have to be removed from any separately collected WEEE:
    - polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB) containing capacitors in accordance with Council Directive 96/59/EC of 16 September 1996 on the disposal of polychlorinated biphenyls and polychlorinated terphenyls (PCB/PCT) ,
    - mercury containing components, such as switches or backlighting lamps,
    - batteries,
    - printed circuit boards of mobile phones generally, and of other devices if the surface of the printed circuit board is greater than 10 square centimetres,
    - toner cartridges, liquid and pasty, as well as colour toner,
    - plastic containing brominated flame retardants,
    - asbestos waste and components which contain asbestos,
    - cathode ray tubes,
    - chlorofluorocarbons (CFC), hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFC) or hydrofluorocarbons (HFC), hydrocarbons (HC),
    - gas discharge lamps,
    - liquid crystal displays (together with their casing where appropriate) of a surface greater than 100 square centimetres and all those back-lighted with gas discharge lamps,
    - external electric cables,
    - components containing refractory ceramic fibres as described in Commission Directive 97/69/EC of 5 December 1997 adapting to technical progress Council Directive 67/548/EEC relating to the classification, packaging and labelling of dangerous substances ,
    - components containing radioactive substances with the exception of components that are below the exemption thresholds set in Article 3 of and Annex I to Council Directive 96/29/Euratom of 13 May 1996 laying down basic safety standards for the protection of the health of workers and the general public against the dangers arising from ionising radiation ,
    - electrolyte capacitors containing substances of concern (height > 25 mm, diameter > 25 mm or proportionately similar volume)

The above substances, preparations and components shall be disposed of or recovered in compliance with Article 4 of Council Directive 75/442/EEC.

2. The following components of WEEE that are separately collected have to be treated as indicated:
    - cathode ray tubes: The fluorescent coating has to be removed,
    - equipment containing gases that are ozone depleting or have a global warming potential (GWP) above 15, such as those contained in foams and refrigeration circuits: the gases must be properly extracted and properly treated. Ozone-depleting gases must be treated in accordance with Regulation (EC) No 2037/2000 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 29 June 2000 on substances that deplete the ozone layer.
    - gas discharge lamps: The mercury shall be removed.

3. Taking into account environmental considerations and the desirability of reuse and recycling, paragraphs 1 and 2 shall be applied in such a way that environmentally-sound reuse and recycling of components or whole appliances is not hindered.

4. Within the procedure referred to in Article 14(2), the Commission shall evaluate as a matter of priority whether the entries regarding:
    - printed circuit boards for mobile phones, and
    - liquid crystal displays
are to be amended.

Recovery/recycling targets
There will be percentage recovery targets for each category of equipment and specific targets within the recovery targets for re-use and recycling.

The following targets for separately collected waste are proposed by the Commission:


Categories


Recovery
Reuse /
Recycling
1. Large household appliances

80% 75%
2. Small household appliances

70% 50%
3. IT and telecommunications equipment

75% 65%
4. Consumer equipment

75% 65%
5. Lighting equipment

70% 50%
6. Electrical and electronic tools 
(with the exception of large-scale stationary industrial tools)

70% 50%
7. Toys, leisure and sports equipment

70% 50%
8. Medical devices 
(with the exception of all implanted and infected products)

No Target No Target
9. Monitoring and control instruments

70% 50%
10. Automatic dispensers 80% 75%

(a) for WEEE falling under categories 1 and 10 of Annex IA,
    - the rate of recovery shall be increased to a minimum of 80 % by an average weight per appliance, and
    - component, material and substance reuse and recycling shall be increased to a minimum of 75 % by an average weight per appliance;

(b) for WEEE falling under categories 3 and 4 of Annex IA,
    - the rate of recovery shall be increased to a minimum of 75 % by an average weight per appliance, and
    - component, material and substance reuse and recycling shall be increased to a minimum of 65 % by an average weight per appliance;

(c) for WEEE falling under categories 2, 5, 6, 7 and 9 of Annex IA,
    - the rate of recovery shall be increased to a minimum of 70 % by an average weight per appliance, and
    - component, material and substance reuse and recycling shall be increased to a minimum of 50 % by an average weight per appliance;

(d) for gas discharge lamps, the rate of component, material and substance reuse and recycling shall reach a minimum of 80% by weight of the lamps.

Producer responsibility in respect of WEEE
• Producers will have to bear all the recycling and recovery costs for domestic equipment and may also have to pay collection costs.

• For WEEE other than private households, producers or third parties acting on their behalf provide for the collection of such waste.

Information
Producers will have to provide information for:
• users – what to do with end-of-life equipment
• recyclers – how to do with end-of-life equipment
• government – on amounts of equipment sold, collected and recycled.


Categories of Electrical and Electronic Equipment Affected

Categories of Electrical and 
Electronic Equipment Affected  


Examples
Large household appliances
Refrigerators, washing machines, microwaves, air conditioners…

Small household appliances

Vacuum cleaners, irons, hair dryers, shavers, clocks…
IT and telecommunications equipment

Mainframes, personal computing, facsimile, telephone…
Consumer equipment

Radio, television, Hi-Fi…
Lighting equipment

CFLs, flow pressure sodium lamps…
Electrical and electronic tools 
(with the exception of large-scale 
stationary industrial tools)

Drills, saws, sewing machine…
Toys, leisure and sports equipment

Electric trains or car racing sets, hand-held video game consoles…
Automatic dispensers

Automatic dispenser for hot or cold bottles or cans