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Waste Electrical & Electronic Equipment (WEEE)

What’s new ?

  • 19 February 2019: The Commission adopted the Implementing Regulation (EU) 2019/290 establishing the format for registration and reporting of producers of electrical and electronic equipment to the register.
  • 26 April 2018: The final report of the WEEE compliance promotion exercise has been published.
  • 10 January 2018: Notice to stakeholders – Withdrawal of the United Kingdom and EU rules in the field of industrial products
  • 18 April 2017: The Commission adopted the “WEEE package” including:
    – The Commission implementing Regulation 2017/699 establishing a common methodology for the calculation of the weight of electrical and electronic equipment (EEE) placed on the national market in each Member State and a common methodology for the calculation of the quantity of waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) generated by weight in each Member State.
    – The report on the review of the scope of Directive 2012/19/EU on WEEE and on the re-examination of the deadlines for reaching the collection targets and on the possibility of setting individual collection targets for one or more categories of electrical and electronic equipment in Annex III to the Directive.
    – The report on the re-examination of the WEEE recovery targets, on the possible setting of separate targets for WEEE to be prepared for re-use and on the re-examination of the method for the calculation of the recovery targets set out in Article 11(6) of Directive 2012/19/EU on WEEE.
    – The report on the exercise of the power to adopt delegated acts conferred on the Commission pursuant to WEEE Directive.

 

Waste of electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) such as computers, TV-sets, fridges and cell phones is one the fastest growing waste streams in the EU, with some 9 million tonnes generated in 2005, and expected to grow to more than 12 million tonnes by 2020.

WEEE is a complex mixture of materials and components that because of their hazardous content, and if not properly managed, can cause major environmental and health problems. Moreover, the production of modern electronics requires the use of scarce and expensive resources (e.g. around 10% of total gold worldwide is used for their production). To improve the environmental management of WEEE and to contribute to a circular economy and enhance resource efficiency the improvement of collection, treatment and recycling of electronics at the end of their life is essential.

To address these problems two pieces of legislation have been put in place: The Directive on waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE Directive) and the Directive on the restriction of the use of certain hazardous substances in electrical and electronic equipment (RoHS Directive)

The first WEEE Directive (Directive 2002/96/EC) entered into force in February 2003. The Directive provided for the creation of collection schemes where consumers return their WEEE free of charge. These schemes aim to increase the recycling of WEEE and/or re-use.

In December 2008, the European Commission proposed to revise the Directive in order to tackle the fast increasing waste stream. The new WEEE Directive 2012/19/EU entered into force on 13 August 2012 and became effective on 14 February 2014.

EU legislation restricting the use of hazardous substances in electrical and electronic equipment (RoHS Directive 2002/95/EC) entered into force in February 2003. The legislation requires heavy metals such as lead, mercury, cadmium, and hexavalent chromium and flame retardants such as polybrominated biphenyls (PBB) or polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDE) to be substituted by safer alternatives. In December 2008, the European Commission proposed to revise the Directive. The RoHS recast Directive 2011/65/EU became effective on 3 January 2013 (more information about RoHS is available here).

 

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The RoHS Directive

What’s new?

 

old TVEU legislation restricting the use of hazardous substances in electrical and electronic equipment (EEE) and promoting the collection and recycling of such equipment has been in force since February 2003. The legislation provides for the creation of collection schemes where consumers return their used waste EEE free of charge. The objective of these schemes is to increase the recycling and/or re-use of such products. The legislation also requires certain hazardous substances (heavy metals such as lead, mercury, cadmium, and hexavalent chromium and flame retardants such as polybrominated biphenyls (PBB) or polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDE)) to be substituted by safer alternatives. Waste EEE poses environmental and health risks if inadequately treated. The RoHS and WEEE directives on electrical and electronic equipment were recast in 2011 and 2012 to tackle the fast increasing waste stream of such products. The aim is to increase the amount of waste EEE that is appropriately treated and to reduce the volume that goes to disposal.

The 2017 RoHS 2 scope review proposal

In January 2017, the Commission adopted a legislative proposal to introduce adjustments in the scope of the Directive, supported by the impact assessment. The preparatory RoHS 2 scope review studies are also available. The respective legislative act amending the RoHS 2 Directive, adopted by the European Parliament and the Council, has been published in the Official Journal on 21 November 2017.

The 2011 RoHS recast

The aim of the RoHS recast was, among other things, to reduce administrative burdens and ensure coherency with newer policies and legislation covering, for example, chemicals and the new legislative framework for the marketing of products in the European Union. The RoHS Recast Directive (RoHS 2) was published in the Official Journal on 1 July 2011.

History of the RoHS Recast:

Other important steps following the RoHS Recast

Frequently Asked Questions have been answered in the RoHS 2 FAQ document. Furthermore, consolidated guidance for applicants for an exemption and related application form pursuant to RoHS 2 Article 5(8) have been drafted.

 

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Restriction of Hazardous Substances in Electrical and Electronic Equipment

old TVRoHS 2

Directive 2011/65/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 8 June 2011 on the restriction of the use of certain hazardous substances in electrical and electronic equipment (recast). A consolidated version is available.

Legislation amending RoHS 2 Directive

Delegated directives amending RoHS 2 Annexes

Restricted substances (Annex II)

Exemptions (Annex III and IV)

report from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council on the exercise of the power to adopt delegated acts conferred on the Commission pursuant to RoHS 2 was published on the 18 April 2016.

RoHS 1 (repealed 3 January 2013)

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. Consolidated version (status after Commission Decision 2010/571/EU and Corrigendum).

Directive 2008/35/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 March 2008 amending Directive 2002/95/EC on the use of certain hazardous substances in electrical and electronic equipment (RoHS), as regards the implementing powers conferred on to the Commission.

 

RoHS 1 secondary legislation and interpretation

 

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Restriction of Hazardous Substances in Electrical and Electronic Equipment

old TVFAQ guidance document

RoHS 2 FAQ guidance document

The new RoHS Directive 2011/65/EU (RoHS 2) entered into force on 21 July 2011 and requires Member States to transpose the provisions into their respective national laws by 2 January 2013. The FAQ document was drafted by a Member States working group under a mandate from the RoHS/WEEE Technical Adaptation Committee and takes account of stakeholder input from a consultation on an earlier version.

The FAQs are intended to help economic operators interpret the provisions of RoHS 2 in order to ensure compliance with the Directive’s requirements.