If you manufacture, distribute or sell electrical and electronic equipment such as computers, fridges, mobile phones, EU and national laws require that you contribute to ensuring it is disposed of and treated properly. This means:
- registering with the responsible national authorities ("registers") in each country where you distribute or sell equipment
- filing a regular report on the amount of sold electrical and electronic equipment,
- organising or financing the collection, treatment, recycling and recovery of your products
- as a distributor, providing a take-back service, whereby your customers can return electric and electronic waste free of charge
- as a manufacturer, complying with the directive on the restriction of hazardous substances
Waste generated by such products is referred to as WEEE: Waste of Electrical and Electronic Equipment. You can find an indicative list of equipment that falls under the related laws in the directive on WEEE.
Register with national WEEE authorities
You must register your company with the authorities in charge of WEEE management in each EU country (In this case, the 27 EU member states) where you sell your products. You can find the contact details of the national registers at the European WEEE Registers Network.
Submit a report
Once you start selling WEEE-labelled products on the EU market, you must submit to the national authorities a regular report detailing the types of equipment you manufactured, distributed or sold, and in what amounts.
You can obtain the formats for registration and reporting from the national registers.
Manage your EEE waste
You must contribute to the proper disposal of equipment that you manufacture, distribute or sell once the consumer discards it. You either choose to join an existing WEEE collective compliance scheme, or to set up your own scheme.
Join an existing compliance scheme or set up an individual one
Collective compliance schemes
Collective compliance schemes exist in most EU countries, set up by either the private sector or government. The schemes allow manufacturers, distributors and sellers to meet their waste‑management obligations jointly. They function on a paid membership basis.
In addition to financing and organising the collection, treatment, recovery and recycling of WEEE for their members, the schemes' services can include:
- keeping records on all products manufactured, distributed or sold by members
- submitting reports to national authorities
- increasing consumer awareness of the importance of properly disposing of EEE
Individual compliance schemes
Depending on the type and amount of products that you produce or distribute, you might be able to set up your own compliance scheme. This could be the case if you sell specific devices produced in limited series for a specific industry, such as medical devices used in hospitals. Bear in mind that the rules on such schemes may differ depending on the country.
For information on collective and individual compliance schemes in a particular EU country, check the national registers linked to from the European WEEE Registers Network.