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What Is WEEE?

WEEE Symbol

The WEEE Symbol

You will often hear WEEE discused in relation to recycling, but what does it mean to the average recycler?

WEEE stands for Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment.

The WEEE 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.

There are 10 different categories of equipment that WEEE relates to:-

  1. Large household appliances
  2. Small household appliances
  3. IT and telecommunications equipment
  4. Consumer equipment
  5. Lighting equipment
  6. Electrical and electronic tools
  7. Toys, leisure and sports equipment
  8. Medical devices
  9. Monitoring and control equipment
  10. Automatic dispensers.

As an ordinary consumer you do not have to worry about complying with WEEE regulations; the onus is upon businesses involved in the manufacture, distribution, storage, retailing and disposal of the equipment to be in compliance.

The directive states that 'Consumers will be able to return their equipment free of charge' for recycling. Therefore retailers selling electrical goods must provide their customers with a clear explanation of how they can return their WEEE - whether the old equipment was bought from them or not.

As consumers however we must be responsible for ensuring that we dispose of items in an environmentally friendly manner. We can either by take up retailers on the offer of accepting our unwanted electrical or electronic items, disposing of them at our nearest recycling centre or putting them out with our kerbside collection where this is permitted (check with your local council). Items will then be disposed of in accordance with the WEEE regulations.

For the most up to date UK government guidence on WEEE regulations visit https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/weee-regulations-2013-government-guidance-notes

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