Reuse and recycling of Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment – WEEE

The WEEE Regulations were introduced to the UK in 2007. Their purpose is to make sure Electronic and Electrical Equipment (EEE) is recycled; keeping this harmful waste stream from landfill.

The regulations aim is to improve the environmental performance of businesses that manufacture, supply, use, recycle and recover EEE. You may have obligations under the WEEE Regulations if you are a business which sells electrical or electronic equipment.

The WEEE directive covers a wide range of electrical and electronic products including TVs, DVD and video recorders, IT equipment, medical devices and monitoring and control instruments.

The Regulations affect all parties in the electronics industry in one way or another but the primary groups are producers who become responsible for financing the end-of-life treatment of their products, and distributors who become responsible in some cases for taking-back end-of-life products when new products are purchased.

The regulations require all producers of electrical and electronic equipment to join a compliance scheme which manages the process on their behalf, and schemes such as Recolight – which works on behalf of the lighting industry – provide these services free of charge to the end user.

Under the Regulations the producer funds its share of the collection, recycling and environmentally friendly disposal. But it is the end user that has ultimate responsibility for making sure the product is recycled when it reaches end of life.

09 (2)

WEEE Regulation updates

2019 Move to an open scope

In January 2019, The Regulations moved to an open scope. This means all products which meet the definition of electrical products are in scope, unless they are covered by an exclusion. The previous household luminaire exclusion has been removed bringing them into scope. Other lighting products now in scope are wiring accessories such as plugs, sockets, switches

DOWNLOAD > Household luminaires and WEEE open scope – A Definitive Guide for Lighting Published by Recolight.


Changes implemented in January 2014

  • Gas Discharge Lamps and LED light sources in the same category.
  • Change to the household WEEE system – incorporating collection targets and a compliance fee alternative if targets are not met by a Producer Compliance Scheme.
  • De minimis threshold of 5 tonnes – In the regulations there is no requirement for a producer of EEE to join a compliance scheme if their put on market is less than five tonnes a year. For more information about the De Minimis and the options available, please go to our page for Small Producers.

EEE Producers

  1. No change to the visible fee – it is still not allowed for sales to households.
    However, the regulations are silent on using it for professional channels. This means it is allowed for sales to non-household end-users.  Regulation 51
    It is for each member to decide if, and to what extent to make the fee visible.
  2. Producers based outside the UK can either appoint an “Authorised Representative”, or can join a PCS.  Regulation 14(2)
    There is no difference in cost.  International members of Recolight therefore do not need to change their registration.
  3. Small Producers (companies that placed less than 5 tonnes put on market in the previous year) do not have to join a PCS. Instead they have an option to register direct with the EA at a cost of just £30.  Regulation 15
    Alternatively, they can become associate members of Recolight for a low all-inclusive fee.  This option seems set to continue into 2015.
  4. Producers are no longer required to have a producer identification mark on products put on market. Regulation 23
  5. EA charges to producers remain unchanged.  Regulation 59
    • Not VAT registered – £30
    • Small Producer (less than 5 tonnes) – £30
    • Turnover
    • Turnover >£1m – £445

Alternative arrangements

The new regulations change the way “alternative arrangements” work for sales to businesses. Regulation 12(2). Alternative arrangements were used by some Producers as a way of passing the responsibility for funding recycling onto their B2B customers. The agreement must now be between B2B end users and producers.

Distributors and retailers

Distributors are principally retailers who sell direct to consumers.

  1. They have to offer to accept WEEE free of charge from a consumer, if that customer buys WEEE of a similar type.  Regulation 42(1)
  2. Retailers with a floor space of more than 400m2 for EEE sales also have to provide for collection of “very small WEEE” (no external dimension more than 25cm) with no obligation for the consumer to buy.  25cm means that such retailers would need to collect CFLis.  Regulation 42(2)
  3. Retailers can join and fund the Distributor Takeback Scheme (DTS), and if they do so, they do not need to comply with 1 and 2 above. Regulation 46
  4. If retailers collect consumer WEEE they can offer it to a PCS.  They do not have a mandatory right to a collection, and a PCS can ask the retailer to deliver the WEEE to a specific location (e.g. Recycler site).  Regulation 43

Local Authorities

  1. Local Authorities can collect and fund WEEE themselves if they want to. Regulation 53
  2. Any PCS must collect from any Local Authority DCF* (Household Waste Recycling Centre) if requested by that Local Authority, and if that Local Authority has no contract with a PCS. Regulation 34

Producer Compliance Schemes

  1. By the end of March in each year, each PCS will receive a fixed target for the collection of household WEEE for that year.  Regulation 11(7)
    The total national target will be largely based upon the average of the three previous years’ WEEE collections. The PCS share of the national target will be based on the PCS members’ household EEE tonnage sales in the previous compliance year.

Arrangements with other PCSs

  1. The 100% market in which a PCS is required to purchase evidence from other PCSs has been removed.
  2. If a PCS does not obtain enough household evidence, they will no longer be forced to buy from other PCSs.  Instead, they can choose to pay a compliance fee.  Regulations 33 and 76
    The compliance fee will not be set until late in the year.