Friday, 17 April 2009

5 Things You Might Not Know About The WEEE Directive:

1. The WEEE Directive became European law in February 2003 and Britain has been famously slow to adopt the legislation. It was supposed to be implemented by Member States by 13 August 2004 and come into force by 13 August 2005. In the UK it was finally adopted at the beginning of 2007, but full producer responsibility was delayed until 1 July. It imposes responsibility for the disposal of waste electrical and electronic equipment on the manufacturers of such equipment. Those companies should establish an infrastructure for collecting WEEE, in such a way that "Users of electrical and electronic equipment from private households should have the possibility of returning WEEE at least free of charge".

2. All electronic/electrical distributors who are not a member of the DTS (Distributor Take-back Scheme) are obliged to provide a free disposal scheme for household equipment when you purchase a replacement piece of equipment. This does not have to be exactly the same product, for instance, you can swap your big old telly for a fancy new plasma TV and still expect the retailer to take away the old one. If you are not making a like-for-like (i.e. of equivalent type or fulfills the same function) purchase the distributor is not obliged to dispose of your old equipment. So, don’t expect to drop off your washing machine if you are buying a toaster!

3. As a consumer you are in no way legally obliged to separately dispose of your WEEE, you are however strongly encouraged to make use of the free disposal services on offer to reduce the amount of electronic waste going to landfill, and to help save energy and resources.

4. As with most technical areas, there are lots of acronyms related to the WEEE Directive. For instance your council will almost certainly be able to accept WEEE at your local tip for free, but only if your HWRC (Household Waste Recycling Facility, or local tip) is classified as a DCF (Designated Collection Facility), and the DCF is likely to send the material to an AATF (Approved Authorised Treatment Facility) or for export via an AE (Approved Exporter). Most tips are classified now as DCFs. It just means they are allowed to accept WEEE, AATFs are places that are allowed to process WEEE in the UK and the amount they process is recorded and used to measure against the amount of WEEE produced or imported.

5. Product categories included within the WEEE Directive include: large household appliances, small household appliances, IT and telecommunications equipment, consumer equipment, lighting equipment, electrical and electronic tools, toys leisure and sports equipment, medical devices, monitoring and control instruments & automatic dispensers.

If you have any problems when disposing of WEEE, your local council can generally help you, but for further information you can contact the VCA who are responsible for enforcing legislative compliance in the UK. For more information on the WEEE directive see; BERR, The Environment Agency or Netregs.

I hope this helps cast some light on what is quite confusing piece of legislation.

Onwards & upwards!


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1 comment:

  1. The Waste Electric and Electronic Equipment directive which came into force fully in 1st July 2007 puts the responsibility for disposal of electrical equipment with the manufacturers of electrical and electronic equipment, and requires them to dispose of unwanted items in an environmentally-friendly manner. IT Support Services