WEEE compliance: schemes, requirements, costs and fees
- WEEE compliance: Definition
- More on WEEE compliance: costs, fees, requirements and schemes
- WEEE compliance requirements
- B2C or B2B WEEE compliance – does it make a difference?
- WEEE compliance schemes in the UK
- Beyond WEEE compliance: RoHS and REACH
- RoHS and WEEE compliance: Better together
- How to achieve RoHS and WEEE compliance
- The complete trio: RoHS, WEEE, REACH compliance
- Do you need assistance in ensuring WEEE, RoHS & REACH compliance?
What is WEEE compliance?
In 145 countries around the world, laws and regulations are in place that hold manufacturers and distributors responsible for the waste management of their products. Within the European Union and in many other regions, the principle applies that manufacturers bear full waste management responsibility for their products. This means, among other things, that producers must take back certain products at the end of their life cycle and take care of their proper disposal. This concept is referred to as “extended producer responsibility” (EPR for short).
As far as electrical appliances are concerned, their proper disposal is regulated within the European Union by the so-called WEEE Directive. “WEEE” stands for “Waste of Electrical and Electronic Equipment”. The WEEE Directive sets international framework conditions which are implemented and handled differently by the respective EU member states at national level. Anyone who puts electrical equipment into circulation must ensure WEEE compliance. To achieve WEEE compliance it’s essential to meet all the requirements of the WEEE Directive.
WEEE compliance: Definition
WEEE compliance is considered to be achieved by observing all the obligations arising from national and international legislation on waste of electrical and electronic equipment. This includes registration or licensing, take-back, disposal and recycling, but also quantity reports and reporting to the authorities.
More on WEEE compliance: costs, fees, requirements and schemes
WEEE compliance costs and fees
Generally speaking, the idea is a cost sharing principle. Manufacturers and suppliers of electrical goods pay fees when marketing their products to cover the current recycling effort in a country. Costs are merely determined by the kind or categories and volume of products introduced into a market.
WEEE compliance costs depend on the country where you put electrical goods into circulation. WEEE compliance costs can include registration fees, disposal and collection costs and more. If you would like to know more, please contact us – we will be happy to support you with a compliance check to find out about your possible WEEE compliance costs and fees.
WEEE compliance requirements
The exact WEEE compliance requirements vary from country to country. Broadly speaking, WEEE Directive compliance can be described as follows: As an initial supplier, you are obliged to register with the national systems and authorities and to cover disposal costs. These obligations are always binding, even if you are not aware of them. These obligations and WEEE compliance requirements are described in more detail below. However, this is only meant to be illustrative, as each country has its own laws and associated obligations, that can differ greatly from one country to another.
As a matter of fact, not only the person who actually produces the goods is considered to be the producer. Rather, vendors can also be considered producers in the context of the WEEE Directive, for example if they sell appliances under their own brand name. Under certain circumstances, the so-called “producer fiction” applies: anyone who sells equipment that has not been properly registered is automatically considered a producer and is therefore subject to the corresponding obligations. Before distribution, it is therefore necessary to check whether the respective devices have been correctly registered.
Anyone who is considered a producer by the law is generally obliged to register himself and also the devices he manufactures or distributes. Before the actual registration, however, there is the “self-assessment”: First of all, it has to be determined whether a product is a device subject to registration. If this is the case, the correct device type must be determined for the respective product. A false assessment can result in sanctions.
It is important to note that registration in one country does not fulfil the registration obligations in other countries: Anyone who ships electrical equipment must always register this equipment in the specific country of destination. It does not matter whether deliveries are made regularly or only occasionally to the specific country. In addition, producers without a registered office in the country of destination must appoint an authorised representative based there who fulfils all obligations and requirements in accordance with the applicable laws in that country. Furthermore, before selling electrical and electronic equipment, traders are generally obliged to check whether the respective supplier or manufacturer as well as the corresponding brand and type of equipment are registered.
In addition, there is a labelling obligation: producers must ensure that the products they distribute are labelled in accordance with the laws in force in the country of destination. In addition to ensuring appropriate labelling, producers are obliged to fulfil their duty to inform private households. Depending on the country of destination, further obligations may apply, some of which differ greatly from those in other countries.
Ensuring WEEE compliance is therefore a complex undertaking and involves a great deal of effort. This is not least due to the fact that the respective nationally applicable jurisdiction changes regularly. Has your question “What is WEEE compliance?” been answered? If not, please feel free to contact us. We will be happy to support you in understanding and meeting WEEE compliance requirements.
B2C or B2B WEEE compliance – does it make a difference?
There is no distinction between business to business (B2B WEEE compliance), sales to intermediaries, business to consumer marketing or even distance selling via the internet. If in doubt, all parties involved will be prosecuted! Thus, meeting WEEE compliance requirements not only provides you with security, but also with competitive advantages as well as flexibility, proven sustainability, immense cost savings and increased social standing.
WEEE compliance schemes in the UK
Compared to other EU countries, it has taken a relatively long time to implement the EU WEEE Directive into British law. According to the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Regulations (WEEE regulations), every manufacturer and distributor of electrical and electronic equipment has been required since 2006 to join one of the 40 producer compliance schemes (also known as “WEEE compliance scheme”, “WEEE producer compliance scheme” or “PC” for short), which then assume all of the tasks and obligations arising from the WEEE Directive. Tasks that can be assumed by a WEEE compliance scheme in the UK include:
- Financing of all collection, treatment and devaluation costs
- Disposal and recycling of waste electrical and electronic equipment
- Registration and annual reporting of quantities
In addition, retailers in the UK are subject to the ‘in-store take-back obligation’: when selling a new product, they are all obliged to take back a waste electrical/electronic appliance from the same category free of charge – unless they have previously paid a fee to the retailer take-back system.
Beyond WEEE compliance: RoHS and REACH
Beyond WEEE compliance, there is more to observe that we can help you with too: RoHS and REACH!
When selling or putting electrical appliances into circulation, other regulations and laws beyond WEEE, such as REACH and RoHS, may also apply. The requirements contained therein concern, for example, product safety and the handling of hazardous substances.
This means: For your products to be fully compliant, you may need to comply with a greater number of directives and requirements. As a manufacturer, you are responsible for determining which of these laws and directives your products must comply with. These products may only be placed on the market and put into service if they comply with the legal obligations.
RoHS and WEEE compliance: Better together
The RoHS Directive (Restriction of Hazardous Substances) plays an important role in the EU legal basis for the disposal of waste electrical and electronic equipment. Its aim is to regulate, restrict and, where possible, avoid the use of harmful or hazardous substances. As a distributor or manufacturer, you may only use these substances in electrical and electronic equipment up to certain maximum concentration values.
With that in mind it is only logical to see the RoHS Directive in the context of the WEEE Directive: Together, the two Directives are oriented towards the prudent use of natural resources. Both pursue the goal of improving and increasing the recycling of waste electrical and electronic equipment. The RoHS and the WEEE Directives are both implemented nationally in the EU member states.
How to achieve RoHS and WEEE compliance
As an EU Directive, RoHS 2011/65/EU (RoHS2) is valid in all EU member states. Some countries outside the EU have also issued comparable regulations to reduce hazardous substances in electrical and electronic equipment. Those who want to achieve full RoHS and WEEE compliance must therefore meet the requirements of both the RoHS and WEEE Directive.
Do you have any questions about the legal requirements or your obligations, or do you need assistance with registration and approval? If you need support or advice, please do not hesitate to contact us. We are happy to support you – nationally and worldwide. Here is what we can do for you:
- Clarification of legal manufacturer obligations according to RoHS or related national legislation.
- Evaluation analysis of time limits and deadlines, requirements for information documents and possible exceptions.
- Acquisition and processing of the necessary information from the manufacturer’s supply chain and in the preparation of technical documentation.
- Communication with the relevant national and international authorities.
The complete trio: RoHS, WEEE, REACH compliance
The third important directive for all those who place electrical equipment on the market is, in addition to RoHS and WEEE, the REACH directive. REACH (short for Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals) was enacted with the understanding that the responsibility for the chemicals in question lies with those who come into contact with them: This applies to manufacturers and importers as well as downstream users.
The regulation, which came into force in 2007, aims to protect the environment and human health while allowing the free movement of chemicals within the European internal market. All stakeholders must ensure that the chemicals they distribute or use are used safely. REACH is one of the world’s strictest requirements for the handling of chemicals.
If you manufacture your products outside the EU, you can appoint an Only Representative in accordance with Article 8 of the Reach Regulation, who will assume all the obligations of the Reach Regulation. Deutsche Recycling provides you with competent and comprehensive support in this regard. In addition, we also take care of the necessary registration, from the development, realisation and submission of the registration documents incl. pre-registration to the notification and communication with the ECHA (European Chemicals Agency).
As an EU regulation, REACH is binding for all EU countries and thus contributes to the harmonisation of legal requirements for the handling of chemicals. If electrical and electronic equipment containing chemicals is placed on the market, distributors, manufacturers and importers are obliged to ensure REACH compliance and thus ensure that the chemicals they distribute or use are used safely.
Do you need assistance in ensuring WEEE, RoHS & REACH compliance?
We are happy to advise and support you in all the necessary steps and processes to ensure compliance in all three areas. With our extensive experience and a global network, we not only ensure your compliance, but also secure significant cost advantages for you. Feel free to contact us without obligation!