WEEE Legislation

Companies producing electronic and electrical products which fall into one of ten broad product categories will have to comply with two EC directives if they want to continue to sell these products in European Union (EU) Member States:

  • The Directive on Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE)
  • The Directive on the Restriction of the Use of Certain Hazardous Substances in Electrical and Electronic Equipment (RoHS)

The primary aim of the WEEE legislation is to reduce the impact of disposal of electrical and electronic equipment at end-of-life. The WEEE directive aims to reduce the amount of WEEE sent for disposal to landfill or incineration by requiring producers to arrange for collection and recycling. The RoHS Directive restricts the use of certain heavy metals and brominated flame retardants to reduce the environmental impact of WEEE which is landfilled or incinerated.

There are ten product categories which are covered by the WEEE Directive, which are set out in Annex 1B of the WEEE directive. It is important to note that Annex 1B provides a ‘list of products which shall be taken into account' for each of the ten product categories. Annex 1B provides an indicative list of products within each of the ten categories. It is not an exhaustive list. There is therefore considerable discussion as to what is or is not included. However, if a product does not fall within these indicative lists, it is not captured under the WEEE Directive. The RoHS Directive (2011/65/EU) contains 11 product categories which are set out in Annex 1 of the RoHS Directive.

We have developed a compliance tool which you can use to assess whether a product falls within the WEEE Directives.

The WEEE directive applies from August 2005 and requires producers to pay for the collection of their products at end of life and to meet targets for reuse, recycling and recovery of the components, materials and substances. The RoHS directive means that products containing more than the permitted levels of restricted substances can not be put on the market in EU member states after July 2006. These directives will increase costs for electronic and electrical manufacturing companies.