business / re- use, reduce, recycle  

WEEE regulations for Businesses

Make it - sell it- recycle it

WEEE regulations were introduced in 2007 to tackle the growing amount of waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE). It is one of the fastest growing waste streams in Europe, and in the UK alone, we throw away around 2 million tonnes of WEEE every year, much of which ends up in landfill. The regulations aim to ensure that more WEEE is separately collected for treatment and recovery, and less goes to landfill.

The regulations apply to all companies who import, manufacture, or re-brand electrical equipment in the UK; these companies are known as “producers”. They also affect everyone who uses, sells, treats or disposes of WEEE.
They affect the way WEEE is disposed of by setting treatment standards and recycling targets and, importantly, by making producers, rather than end-users, pay for its treatment and recycling in most cases.

The UK WEEE Regulations apply to electrical and electronic equipment (EEE) which falls within the 13 product categories listed below:
    1.    Large household appliances
    2.    Small household appliances
    3.    IT & 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 instruments
    10.    Automatic dispensers
    11.    Display Equipment
    12.    Cooling Appliances containing refrigerants
    13.    Gas Discharge Lamps

If you are not sure what can be recycled consider the following:

  • Does it have a mains cable?
  • Does it use replaceable batteries?
  • Does it need charging?
  • Does it have the crossed-out wheelie bin logo on it?

If yes to any of these questions it can (and should) be recycled.

Implications for business users
Shifting the burden of payment for the treatment, recycling and disposal of WEEE from end-users to producers will have a significant impact on purchasing and disposal arrangements.
Responsibility for business WEEE
• If you bought equipment before 13 August 2005, and are replacing it with new equipment fulfilling the same function, then the producer of the new equipment is responsible for the collection, treatment and recycling of the old equipment, regardless of whether they were the original manufacturer.
• If you bought the equipment before 13 August 2005 and do not replace it, then you are responsible for financing and arranging treatment in accordance with the WEEE Regulations and existing waste management legislation, including the Duty of Care and the Hazardous Waste Regulations.
• If you bought electrical equipment after 13 August 2005, then the producer of that equipment is responsible for its collection, treatment and recycling when you dispose of it.
• If you lease or rent equipment, the producer is usually responsible for its disposal.
• The regulations allow producers and business users to agree ‘alternative arrangements’, whereby the business user agrees to take on some or all of the future costs of the end-of-life treatment of the equipment he buys. This is a commercial decision that you will need to make and is likely to form part of the normal negotiating processes for supply contracts in the future.

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