WEEE | Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment

The European Union (EU) is taking measures to prevent the generation of electrical and electronic waste.

The European Union (EU) is taking measures to prevent the generation of electrical and electronic waste and to promote reuse, recycling and other forms of recovery in order to reduce the quantity of such waste to be eliminated, whilst also improving the environmental performance of economic operators involved in its management. In addition, in order to contribute to the recovery and elimination of equipment waste and the protection of human health, the EU is also taking measures to restrict the use of hazardous substances in this type of equipment.


Directive on waste electrical and electronic equipment


This Directive applies to the following categories of electrical and electronic equipment:

  • Large and small household appliances, including battery chargers and adaptors.
  • IT and telecommunications equipment;
  • Consumer equipment;
  • Lighting equipment;
  • Electrical and electronic tools (with the exception of large-scale stationary industrial tools);
  • Toys, leisure and sports equipment;
  • Medical devices (with the exception of implanted and infected products);
  • Monitoring and control instruments;
  • Automatic dispensers.
Product design

Member States are to encourage the design and production of electrical and electronic equipment which take into account and facilitate dismantling and recovery, in particular the reuse and recycling of waste electrical and electronic equipment.

Separate collection

Member States are to minimise the disposal of waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) as unsorted municipal waste and are to set up separate collection systems for WEEE. In the case of electrical and electronic waste, Member States are to ensure that, as from 13 August 2005:

  • final holders and distributors can return such waste free of charge;
  • distributors of new products ensure that waste of the same type of equipment can be returned to them free of charge on a one-to-one basis;
  • producers are allowed to set up and operate individual or collective take-back systems;
  • the return of contaminated waste presenting a risk to the health and safety of personnel may be refused.
Producers must make provision for the collection of waste that is not from private households. Member States must ensure that all waste electrical and electronic equipment is transported to authorised treatment facilities.

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