The UK Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Regulations 2013 require companies to take responsibility for reducing the environmental impact of electrical items they place on to the UK market, when the products reach the end of their lives. The aim of the regulations are to reduce the amount of waste electrical and electronic equipment that ends up in landfill and to encourage producers to promote reduction, reuse and recycling of waste electrical items.
A Government consultation into future Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) reform for the WEEE regulations in the UK is expected to take place in 2022.
If your business manufactures, imports, rebrands or distance sells to end-users in the UK electrical or electronic equipment in the UK, then the WEEE regulations apply to your organisation. This means you will be required to act either through registration and reporting or financing waste collection.
If the WEEE regulations apply to your business you are classed as a ‘producer’. However, your obligations will vary according to the amount and type of EEE you actually produce.
If the WEEE regulations apply to your organisation you must:
Join a WEEE compliance scheme within 28 days of when you first placed electrical items on to the market (Producers below the five tonne threshold have the option of registering direct with the Environment Agency)
Report on the weight of EEE that you’ve placed onto the UK market
Ensure the reports categorise your EEE correctly
Ensure your data is ‘as accurate as reasonably possible’
Finance a proportion of the costs for the collection, treatment and recovery of the EEE you have placed on the UK market
Mark products with the crossed-out wheeled bin symbol and a date mark
Provide information on reuse and environmentally sound treatment of the products and components (includes materials, dangerous substances and preparations) within one year of putting them on the market
Make sure that distributors you supply have your producer registration number
Keep records for at least four years of the amount of EEE put on the market by category
And if you are a distributor of electrical items, you also have the following obligations:
Provide information to consumers
Offer free in-store take back on a “like for like” basis
As an obligated WEEE producer you will need to join a compliance scheme (unless you put on the market less than 5 tonnes of EEE a year in which case you may register directly with the regulator). The compliance scheme takes on your obligation, but still needs data from you to submit to the environmental regulators and to calculate your total obligation.
There are 14 categories of EEE products outlined in the regulations, of which producers must report the weight they have placed on the market. These categories include large household appliances, display equipment and electronic tools. There are some exemptions from the WEEE obligations, including equipment designed for military purposes and medical devices.
If you are a large producer (placing more than 5 tonnes of EEE on the market per year) you must register with a compliance scheme. Your reporting requirements will include:
For B2C producers and large B2B producers, you must submit quarterly EEE data to your compliance scheme, by the middle of the month the following quarter, listing placed on market EEE for the preceding quarter by category.
For small B2B producers you must submit annual EEE data to your compliance scheme, by the middle of the month following the last quarter of the year, listing placed on market EEE for last year by category.
The data provided will give B2C producers a market share, which will then be used to calculate their financial obligation to collect and treat a proportion of WEEE at registered Designated Collection Facilities (DCFs) - often Local Authority waste sites. This is done via your compliance scheme, who contract with local authorities and recyclers to offset their combined members’ obligation.
The total amount of WEEE to be treated in each of the 14 categories annually is confirmed by the Secretary of State by each year, and individual compliance schemes are given an annual recycling target based on their total EEE producer membership.
Producers of B2B WEEE are required to offer take-back of their products at the end life:
For EEE placed on the UK market after 13th August 2005 the producer finances the collection, treatment and recovery of the product when the enduser is done with it.
For EEE placed on the UK market before 13th August 2005 the producer is only responsible when the end-user brings it back on a like-for-like basis when purchasing a new product.
Distributors of B2C EEE are also required to offer take-back of products at end of life:
You must offer to take back of the same type as the item your customers buy from you, regardless of the brand of item and whether the new purchase is completed in-store, online or by mail order. You must:
Offer the in-store service for free - but you can charge to cover transport costs if you’re collecting items from customers’ homes.
Give customers at least 28 days to bring back their waste item after purchase.
Take back all types of electrical and electronic equipment that you sell - you can choose to extend your service to cover all kinds of electrical and electronic waste.
For stores with >400m2 sales area, you must offer take-back of all ‘very small WEEE’:
If your electrical and electronic equipment sales area is greater than 400 square metres including aisle, display and shelf space, you must take back all items of ‘very small WEEE’ in store.
‘Very small WEEE’ are items of waste electrical and electronic equipment that are less than 25cm on their longest side.
You must provide this service to everyone for free, regardless of whether they’ve bought anything from your store.
All producers offering take-back must provide free written information to their customers on:
Which take back service you provide, including collection or delivery
How they can reuse and recycle electrical and electronic equipment
Why this waste needs to be separated from other waste
The damaging environmental effects of not recycling electrical and electronic equipment
The meaning of the crossed-out wheelie bin symbol
The regulations are enforced by the Environment Agency and failure to meet your obligations may result in prosecution through the courts, with fines for non-compliance. Ignorance of the regulations is not a defence and every year of non-compliance will be counted, so it’s fair to say it’s easier to comply than risk the fall-out from non-compliance!
No matter how large the undertaking, Ecosurety can assist and guide you every step of the way to ensure your organisation is no longer in breach of the regulations.
A Government consultation into future Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) reform for the WEEE regulations in the UK is expected to take place in 2022 or 2023.
As your WEEE compliance scheme we will take full responsibility for your adherence to the UK Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Regulations.
Our WEEE compliance service for producers covers all your requirements to meet the WEEE regulations including registration, auditing, collection, reporting and evidencing against your obligations, as well as ensuring timely submission to the Environment Agency.
With dedicated lobbying, proactive support and industry-focused expertise, Ecosurety’s WEEE compliance scheme delivers not only value for money, but strategic competitive advantage.
Remove the hassle involved in meeting a complex regulation
Influence the shape and direction of government WEEE legislation on your behalf
Keep you updated with specific WEEE compliance training
Provide advice and support across a number of other environmental compliance regulations including batteries and packaging
Provide full transparency on WEEE evidence pricing and market fluctuations
Provide updates and support for future WEEE EPR reform
If you are not yet a WEEE compliance member with Ecosurety, simply call our team on 0333 4330 370 or email email@example.com to get started.
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