WEEE Recast Directive Scope Adoption Timeline

Distance selling

August 2017

EU Member States are currently in a ‘transitional period’ in regards to the product scope of the WEEE Recast Directive and until the 15 August 2018, the current scope of 10 EEE categories will remain in place.

From 15 August 2018, the WEEE Recast Directive requires a new product scope to be introduced. As well as the concept of the ‘open scope’, the new product scope will include:

  • Six new categories to replace the current 10.
  • Additional exemptions and definitions: in particular, definitions are introduced for 'large-scale fixed installation', 'large-scale stationary industrial tools', 'medical device' and 'in vitro diagnostic medical device'.

The six new categories which will apply from 15 August 2018 are:

  1. Temperature exchange equipment
  2. Screens, monitors, and equipment containing screens having a surface greater than 100 cm2
  3. Lamps
  4. Large equipment (any external dimension greater than 50cm) including, but not limited to: Household appliances; IT and telecommunication equipment; consumer equipment; luminaires; equipment reproducing sound or images, musical equipment; electrical and electronic tools; toys, leisure and sports equipment; medical devices; monitoring and control instruments; automatic dispensers; equipment for the generation of electric currents. This category does not include equipment included in categories 1 to 3.
  5. Small equipment (no external dimension more than 50cm) including, but not limited to: Household appliances; consumer equipment; luminaires; equipment reproducing sound or images, musical equipment; electrical and electronic tool; toys, leisure and sports equipment; medical devices; monitoring and control instruments; automatic dispensers; equipment for the generation of electric currents. This category does not include equipment included in categories 1 to 3.
  6. Small IT and telecommunication equipment (no external dimension more than 50 cm).

However, Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland, Slovenia and Sweden will introduce the six new categories on 01/01/2018, earlier than outlined in Article 2 of the WEEE Recast Directive. France and the UK on the other hand will delay implementation until 01/01/2019. Some countries, Austria as an example, have already adopted the new categories.

The practical implementation of the change is still largely unknown and for the UK, with 14 current categories and on the verge of leaving the EU, the future is even more uncertain. DEFRA is currently assessing various options to streamline the process, such as amending the UK regulations to retain the existing 14 categories but create protocols to report to the EU under the six new categories. Nevertheless, as the categories become wider, and since recycling costs are based on the producer’s market share of the category, DEFRA have suggested that some recycling fees may increase. For example, in the new category 4, producers of large household appliances may end up subsiding the cost of recycling large complex medical devices and vice versa.