EUR-Lex Access to European Union law

Back to EUR-Lex homepage

This document is an excerpt from the EUR-Lex website

Making the most of waste electrical and electronic equipment

Making the most of waste electrical and electronic equipment

 

SUMMARY OF:

Directive 2012/19/EU on waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE)

WHAT IS THE AIM OF THE DIRECTIVE?

It aims to protect the environment and human health by encouraging sustainable production and consumption. It does so by:

  • preventing the creation of waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE)*;
  • promoting reuse, recycling and other ways of recovering waste from electrical and electronic equipment (EEE)*;
  • supporting the efficient use of resources and recovery of valuable secondary raw materials.

KEY POINTS

The legislation:

  • recasts and repeals the original WEEE directive (Directive 2002/96/EC) which had been substantially amended since its adoption;
  • categorises WEEE into different categories, such as small and large equipment temperature exchange equipment, screens, lamps and small IT and telecommunications equipment;
  • does not apply to certain types of electrical and electronic equipment, notably material for military or space purposes, filament bulbs, active implantable medical devices or means of transport.

EU countries must:

  • encourage cooperation between producers and recyclers to design electrical equipment which can be reused, dismantled or recovered in line with the ecodesign directive (Directive 2009/125/EC);
  • minimise the disposal of WEEE in unsorted municipal waste;
  • allow private households and distributors to return WEEE free of charge;
  • ban the disposal of WEEE collected separately that has not been properly treated;
  • ensure a minimum annual WEEE collection rate. From 2016, this is 45% of total weight of electrical and electronic equipment that was sold in the past 3 years and, from 2019, this target increases to 65% which is equivalent to a target for collection of 85% of the total WEEE generated. They may set more ambitious targets.

Bulgaria, Czechia, Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary, Malta, Poland, Romania, Slovenia and Slovakia are allowed to postpone the achievement of the 2019 collection rate until 2021 because of a lack of the necessary infrastructure and their low levels of EEE use.

EU countries must also:

  • check all plants treating WEEE are officially licensed;
  • establish a register of all companies producing or importing electrical and electronic equipment;
  • carry out inspections to ensure compliance with the legislation and establish penalties for breaking the law;
  • require producers to:
    • meet minimum treatment targets for different WEEE categories;
    • finance the cost of collection, treatment, recovery and environmentally sound disposal from all users, apart from private households, of products on sale from 13 August 2005;
    • provide information to the public on how WEEE can be returned and collected.

Implementing acts

In April 2017, the European Commission adopted Implementing Regulation (EU) 2017/699. This sets out the methods to calculate:

  • the weight of EEE sold in the market of each EU country;
  • the quantity of WEEE generated by weight in each EU country.

In February 2019, the Commission adopted Implementing Regulation (EU) 2019/290 which sets out the format for registration and reporting of producers of electrical and electronic equipment to the register.

The Commission has presented the following reports to the European Parliament and the Council:

  • the report on the review of the scope of Directive 2012/19/EU 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 reuse 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 the WEEE Directive.

Based on these reports, the Commission concluded that the legislation should not be amended.

FROM WHEN DOES THE DIRECTIVE APPLY?

It has applied since 13 August 2012. Directive 2012/19/EU revised and replaced Directive 2002/96/EC and its subsequent amendments. The new rules contained in Directive 2012/19/EU had to become law in the EU countries by 14 February 2014.

BACKGROUND

  • Waste from electrical and electronic equipment, such as computers, televisions, fridges and mobile phones, is increasing every year. In 2005, it generated some 9 million tonnes. By 2020, it is expected to rise to around 12 million tonnes.
  • The waste not only contains scarce and expensive resources, which can be reused, but also hazardous material that must be properly managed to avoid environmental and health problems.
  • For more information, see:

KEY TERMS

Waste electrical and electronic equipment: any electrical or electronic equipment, substance or object which is actually, intended to or required to be, discarded.
Electrical and electronic equipment: equipment dependent on electric currents or electromagnetic fields to work properly.

MAIN DOCUMENT

Directive 2012/19/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 4 July 2012 on waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) (recast) (OJ L 197, 24.7.2012, pp. 38-71)

Successive amendments to Directive 2012/19/EU have been incorporated into the original document. This consolidated version is of documentary value only.

RELATED DOCUMENTS

Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2019/290 of 19 February 2019 establishing the format for registration and reporting of producers of electrical and electronic equipment to the register (OJ L 48, 20.2.2019, pp. 6-16)

Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2017/699 of 18 April 2017 establishing a common methodology for the calculation of the weight of electrical and electronic equipment (EEE) placed on the market of 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 (OJ L 103, 19.4.2017, pp. 17-21)

Directive 2009/125/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 21 October 2009 establishing a framework for the setting of ecodesign requirements for energy-related products (OJ L 285, 31.10.2009, pp. 10-35)

See consolidated version.

Report from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council on the review of the scope of Directive 2012/19/EU on waste electrical and electronic equipment (the new WEEE Directive) and on the re-examination of the deadlines for reaching the collection targets referred to in Article 7(1) of the new WEEE Directive 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 (COM(2017) 171 final, 18.4.2017)

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 Directive 2012/19/EU on waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) (COM(2017) 172 final, 18.4.2017)

Report from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council on the re-examination of the WEEE recovery targets, on the possible setting of separate targets for WEEE to be prepared for reuse 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 (COM(2017) 173 final, 18.4.2017)

last update 24.07.2019

Top