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Waste electrical and electronic equipment

The European Union (EU) is taking measures to prevent the generation of electrical and electronic waste and to promote reuse, recycling and other forms of recovery in order to reduce the quantity of such waste to be eliminated, whilst also improving the environmental performance of economic operators involved in its management. In addition, in order to contribute to the recovery and elimination of equipment waste and the protection of human health, the EU is also taking measures to restrict the use of hazardous substances in this type of equipment.

ACT

Directive 2002/96/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 27 January 2003 on waste electrical and electronic equipment [See amending acts].

Directive 2002/95/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 27 January 2003 on the restriction of the use of certain hazardous substances in electrical and electronic equipment [See amending acts].

SUMMARY

Directive on waste electrical and electronic equipment

Scope

This Directive applies to the following categories of electrical and electronic equipment:

  • large and small household appliances;
  • IT and telecommunications equipment;
  • consumer equipment;
  • lighting equipment;
  • electrical and electronic tools (with the exception of large-scale stationary industrial tools);
  • toys, leisure and sports equipment;
  • medical devices (with the exception of implanted and infected products);
  • monitoring and control instruments;
  • automatic dispensers.

Product design

Member States are to encourage the design and production of electrical and electronic equipment which take into account and facilitate dismantling and recovery, in particular the reuse and recycling of waste electrical and electronic equipment.

Separate collection

Member States are to minimise the disposal of waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) as unsorted municipal waste and are to set up separate collection systems for WEEE. In the case of electrical and electronic waste, Member States are to ensure that, as from 13 August 2005:

  • final holders and distributors can return such waste free of charge;
  • distributors of new products ensure that waste of the same type of equipment can be returned to them free of charge on a one-to-one basis;
  • producers are allowed to set up and operate individual or collective take-back systems;
  • the return of contaminated waste presenting a risk to the health and safety of personnel may be refused.

Producers must make provision for the collection of waste that is not from private households. Member States must ensure that all waste electrical and electronic equipment collected is transported to authorised treatment facilities.

By 31 December 2006 at the latest, a rate of separate collection of at least 4 kg on average per inhabitant per year of waste electrical and electronic equipment from private households must be achieved. A new target rate to be achieved should be proposed by the Commission.

Treatment

Producers of electrical and electronic equipment must apply the best available treatment, recovery and recycling techniques. Such treatment is to include the removal of fluids and selective treatment in accordance with Annex II to the Directive. Waste treatment and storage must be in conformity with Annex III to the Directive.

Establishments responsible for treatment operations must obtain a permit from the competent authorities. They are encouraged to participate in the Community eco-management and audit schemes (EMAS).

Treatment operations may also be undertaken outside the Member State concerned, or even outside the Community, subject to compliance with Council Regulation (EEC) No 259/93 on the supervision and control of shipments of waste within, into and out of the European Community. Treatment outside the Community only count for the fulfilment of the targets of the Directive if the exporter can prove that treatment operations took place under conditions that are equivalent to the requirements of this Directive.

Recovery

Producers must set up systems for the recovery of waste electrical and electronic equipment collected separately.

By 31 December 2006, the rate of recovery by an average weight per appliance must be at least 80 % in the case of large domestic appliances and automatic dispensers, 70 % in the case of small domestic appliances, lighting equipment, electrical and electronic tools, toys, leisure and sports equipment and monitoring and control instruments, and 75 % in the case of IT and telecommunications equipment and consumer equipment. By the same date, the rate of component, material and substance reuse and recycling by an average weight per appliance must be at least 80 % in the case of discharge lamps, 75 % in the case of large domestic appliances and automatic dispensers, 50 % in the case of small domestic appliances, lighting equipment, electrical and electronic tools, toys, leisure and sports equipment and monitoring and control equipment, and 65 % in the case of IT and telecommunications equipment and consumer equipment.

By 13 December 2008, the Commission is to lay down new rules on compliance with the rates specified. Producers or third parties acting on behalf of producers record the electrical and electronic waste entering and leaving treatment and recovery or recycling facilities in weight registers. The European Parliament and the Council are to set new targets for recovery, recycling and reuse.

Financing

By 13 August 2005, producers must provide for the financing of the collection, at least from the collection point, of the treatment, recovery and environmentally sound disposal of waste electrical and electronic equipment. In the case of products placed on the market later than 13 August 2005, each producer is responsible for providing financing in respect of his own products. When a producer places a product on the market, he must furnish a guarantee concerning the financing of the management of his waste. Such a guarantee may take the form of participation by the producer in financing schemes, a recycling insurance or a blocked bank account. In the case of products placed on the market before 13 August 2005 ('historical waste'), financing is to be provided by the producers existing on the market, who are, for instance, to contribute proportionately to their share of the market.

By 13 August 2005, financing is to be covered by producers in the case of waste from holders other than private households and placed on the market after that date. In the case of waste from products placed on the market before 13 August 2005, management costs are to be borne by producers when supplying new equivalent products or new products fulfilling the same function. However, Member States may provide that users be made responsible, partly or totally, for this financing. When historical waste is not replaced, by new equivalent products, the costs shall be provided for by the users other than private households.

Information

Users of electrical and electronic equipment in private households must have access to the necessary information on the requirement not to mix this type of waste with unsorted municipal waste and to ensure separate collection, collection and take-back systems, their role in the recovery of waste, the effects of such waste on the environment and health, and the meaning of the symbol which must appear on the packaging of such equipment (a crossed-out wheeled bin).

Producers must mark electrical and electronic equipment placed on the market after 13 August 2005 with the above-mentioned symbol.

For each new type of electrical or electronic equipment, producers must provide, within one year after it is placed on the market, information on its reuse and treatment. Such information is to identify the components and materials present in the equipment and the location of dangerous substances and preparations. Such information must be communicated to reuse centres and treatment and recycling facilities. Producers of electrical and electronic equipment placed on the market as from 13 August 2005 will be identifiable by a mark on each appliance.

Reporting and penalties

Member States are to draw up a register of producers and keep information on the quantities and categories of electrical and electronic equipment placed on the market, collected, recycled and recovered in their territory. Every three years, they must also send a report to the Commission on the implementation of this Directive. The first such report will cover the 2004-2006 period. The Commission is then to publish a report on the same subject within nine months after receiving the reports from the Member States.

Member States are to determine the penalties applicable to breaches of this Directive. These penalties must be effective, proportionate and dissuasive.

Directive on the use of certain hazardous substances

This Directive covers the same scope as the Directive on waste electrical and electronic equipment (except for medical devices and monitoring and control instruments). It also applies to electric light bulbs and luminaires in households.

From 1 July 2006, lead, mercury, cadmium, hexavalent chromium, polybrominated biphenyls (PBBs) and polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) in electrical and electronic equipment must be replaced by other substances. However, as it is not always possible to completely abandon these substances, the Commission provides for a tolerance level of 0.1 % for lead, mercury, hexavalent chromium, polybrominated biphenyls (PBBs) and polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), and a tolerance level of 0.01 % for cadmium. In addition, certain uses specified in the Annex to the Directive are tolerated.

At lease every four years the Commission undertakes an assessment of the exemptions (see Annexes to the Directive 2002/95/EC) in order to check whether the exemption are still justified in light of technical and scientific progress.

Member States are to determine the penalties applicable to breaches of this Directive.

REFERENCES

ActEntry into forceDeadline for transposition in the Member StatesOfficial Journal

Directive 2002/96/EC

13.02.2003

13.08.2004

OJ L 37 of 13.02.2003

Directive 2002/95/EC

13.02.2003

13.08.2004

OJ L 37 of 13.02.2003

DEROGATIONS TO DIRECTIVE 2002/96/EC

Decision 2004/486/EC [Official Journal L 162 of 30.4.2004].
This derogation is granted to Cyprus, Malta and Poland.

Decision 2004/312/EC [Official Journal L 100 of 6.4.2004].
This derogation is granted to the Czech Republic, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary, Slovenia and Slovakia.

Amending act(s)Entry into forceDeadline for transposition in the Member StatesOfficial Journal

Directive 2003/108/EC

31.12.2003

13.08.2004

OJ L 345 of 31.12.2003

Directive 2008/34/EC

21.3.2008

-

OJ L 81 of 20.3.2008

Directive 2008/35/EC

21.3.2008

-

OJ L 81 of 20.3.2008

Directive 2008/112/EC

12.1.2009

OJ L 345 of 23.12.2008

AMENDMENT TO THE ANNEXES

DIRECTIVE 2002/95/EC

Annex – Use of lead, mercury, cadmium, hexavalent chromium, polybrominated

biphenyls (PBB) or polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDE) which were exempted from the provisions of Article 4, paragraph 1
Decision 2005/618/EC [Official Journal L 214 of 19.8.2005];
Decision 2005/717/EC [Official Journal L 271 of 15.10.2005];
Decision 2005/747/EC [Official Journal L 280 of 25.10.2005];
Decision 2006/310/EC [Official Journal L 115 of 28.4.2006];
Decision 2006/690/EC [Official Journal L 283 of 14.10.2006];
Decision 2006/691/EC [Official Journal L 283 of 14.10.2006];
Decision 2006/692/EC [Official Journal L 283 of 14.10.2006];
Decision 2008/385/EC [Official Journal L 136 of 24.5.2008];
Decision 2009/428/EC [Official Journal L 139 of 5.6.2009];
Decision 2009/443/EC [Official Journal L 148 of 11.6.2009];
Decision 2010/122/EU [Official Journal L 49 of 26.2.2010].

DIRECTIVE 2002/96/EC

Annex II – Selective treatment for materials and components of waste electrical and electronic equipment
Directive 2008/112/EC [Official Journal L 345 of 23.12.2008].

RELATED ACTS

Application of the legislation

Report from the Commission of 20 November 2009 on implementation of the community waste legislation Directive 2006/12/EC on waste, Directive 91/689/EEC on hazardous waste, Directive 75/439/EEC on waste oils, Directive 86/278/EEC on sewage sludge, Directive 94/62/EC on packaging and packaging waste, Directive 1999/31/EC on the landfill of waste and Directive 2002/96/EC on waste electrical and electronic equipment for the period 2004-2006 [COM(2009) 633 final – Not published in the Official Journal].
The quantity of waste from electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) in the EU could reach around 12.3 million tonnes between now and 2020. The WEEE Directive aims to lower the environmental impacts of the disposal of this waste stream and optimise its collection, reuse, recycling and recovery at high environmental and health standards
According to the Report, only a third of EU waste electrical and electronic equipment is appropriately treated. The other two thirds are going to landfills and potentially to sub-standard treatment sites in or outside the EU. The collection target of 4 kg per person per year does not properly reflect the situation in individual Member States and has not been met by five Member States in 2006. In 2009, infringement cases for non-conformity with the WEEE Directive were pending against fourteen Member States and for failure to report against one. There were also eight pending infringement cases for non-conformity with the related RoHS Directive.

Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council of 3 December 2008 on waste electrical and electronic equipment [COM(2008) 810 final – Not published in the Official Journal].
The review of Directive 2002/96/EC has the aim of improving its effectiveness and implementation, and of reducing the administrative costs related to its application. In order to do this, the Commission proposes in particular to:

  • clarify the distinction between electrical and electronic waste (WEEE) from households and non-household waste, so that it is easier to determine which products fall under the Directive and to establish the obligations applying to equipment producers;
  • set an annual WEEE collection rate at 65 % per Member State as from 2016, according to the average quantity of equipment placed on the market in the two preceding years;
  • include the re-use of whole appliances in the increased target for recycling combined with re-use;
  • set a new target for the recycling of medical devices;
  • harmonise the requirements for registration and reporting falling upon producers;
  • set minimum inspection requirements for Member States.

Codecision procedure (COD/2008/0241)

Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council of 3 December 2008 on the restriction of the use of certain hazardous substances in electrical and electronic equipment [COM(2008) 809 final – Not published in the Official Journal].
The review of Directive 2002/95/EC has the aim of improving its implementation, its coherence with other pieces of Community legislation and adapting it to technical and scientific progress. In order to do this, the Commission proposes in particular to:

  • clarify the scope of the Directive, and, specifically, to integrate medical devices and monitoring and control instruments;
  • implement a mechanism allowing new bans to be introduced in line with the REACH Regulation;
  • set a maximum validity period of four years for exemptions so as to stimulate efforts to find substitute products;
  • introduce requirements for product conformity assessment, as well as mechanisms for monitoring the market, consistent with the common framework for the marketing of products.

Codecision procedure (COD/2008/0240)

Commission Decision 2005/369/EC of 3 May 2005 laying down rules for monitoring compliance of Member States and establishing data formats for the purposes of Directive 2002/96/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council on waste electrical and electronic equipment [Official Journal L 119 of 11.05.2005].

Commission Decision 2004/249/EC of 11 March 2004 concerning a questionnaire for Member States reports on the implementation of Directive 2002/96/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council on waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) [Official Journal l 78 of 16.03.2004].

Last updated: 23.02.2010
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