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Are You Ready? WEEE Directive Full Implementation Starts 15-Aug-18

Processing of waste electrical and electronic materials

Many man­u­fac­tur­ers selling indus­tri­al products into the EU mar­ket have come to under­stand at least one of the envir­on­ment­al pro­tec­tion Dir­ect­ives, RoHS – the “Restric­tion of the Use of Cer­tain Haz­ard­ous Sub­stances.” In this post, I’m going to be look­ing at anoth­er envir­on­ment­al dir­ect­ive: WEEE – the “Waste Elec­tric­al and Elec­tron­ic Equip­ment” Dir­ect­ive (2012/19/EU).

As of 14 August 2018...ALL waste electrical and electronic equipment comes under the directive.


The WEEE Dir­ect­ive requires pro­du­cers of elec­tric­al and elec­tron­ic equip­ment who sell their products in the EU to oper­ate a recyc­ling pro­gram. This dir­ect­ive exemp­ted indus­tri­al products in the first years of its imple­ment­a­tion, focus­ing primar­ily on waste con­sumer elec­tron­ics and elec­tric­al equip­ment. As of 14 August 2018, the trans­ition peri­od ends and ALL waste elec­tric­al and elec­tron­ic equip­ment (EEE) comes under the dir­ect­ive, except those spe­cif­ic classes exemp­ted in Art­icles 3 & 4.  How does this affect machine build­ers and man­u­fac­tur­ers of oth­er kinds of products? Read on for the answer to these ques­tions and more.

What is WEEE?

Key to under­stand­ing the applic­a­tion of this dir­ect­ive is under­stand­ing what con­sti­tutes WEEE, and to under­stand that, we need to know how elec­tric­al and elec­tron­ic equip­ment is defined. The dir­ect­ive defines EEE as: ‘elec­tric­al and elec­tron­ic equip­ment’ or ‘EEE’ equip­ment which is depend­ent on elec­tric cur­rents or elec­tro­mag­net­ic fields in order to work prop­erly and equip­ment for the gen­er­a­tion, trans­fer and meas­ure­ment of such cur­rents and fields and designed for use with a voltage rat­ing not exceed­ing 1 000 volts for altern­at­ing cur­rent and 1 500 volts for dir­ect cur­rent; [1]

Build­ing on that defin­i­tion is the defin­i­tion for WEEE: ‘waste elec­tric­al and elec­tron­ic equip­ment’ or ‘WEEE’ elec­tric­al or elec­tron­ic equip­ment which is waste with­in the mean­ing of Art­icle 3(1) of Dir­ect­ive 2008/98/EC, includ­ing all com­pon­ents, sub-assem­blies and con­sum­ables which are part of the product at the time of dis­card­ing; [1]

Any EEE that reaches end-of-life becomes waste EEE when it is decom­mis­sioned and dis­mantled. This waste mater­i­al is WEEE.

Many industrial products are now included in this definition, as are some types of medical devices, scientific instruments, and similar products.

Many indus­tri­al products are now included in this defin­i­tion, as are some types of med­ic­al devices, sci­entif­ic instru­ments, and sim­il­ar products. Exclu­sions include equip­ment powered by oth­er means, like gas­ol­ine (pet­rol, ben­zene) or dies­el fuelled engines, and steam-powered equip­ment. If your product con­tains bat­ter­ies, there is a sep­ar­ate Bat­ter­ies Dir­ect­ive which I will cov­er in a future art­icle.

Since the exclu­sions are as import­ant as the inclu­sions, let’s have a look at those.

Exclusions

[1, Art. 2(3) and (4)]  provide exclu­sions for cer­tain classes of products:

3. This Dir­ect­ive shall not apply to any of the fol­low­ing EEE:

a) equip­ment which is neces­sary for the pro­tec­tion of the essen­tial interests of the secur­ity of Mem­ber States, includ­ing arms, muni­tions and war mater­i­al inten­ded for spe­cific­ally mil­it­ary pur­poses;

b) equip­ment which is spe­cific­ally designed and installed as part of anoth­er type of equip­ment that is excluded from or does not fall with­in the scope of this Dir­ect­ive, which can ful­fil its func­tion only if it is part of that equip­ment;

c) fil­a­ment bulbs.

4. In addi­tion to the equip­ment spe­cified in para­graph 3, from 15 August 2018, this Dir­ect­ive shall not apply to the fol­low­ing EEE:

a) equip­ment designed to be sent into space;

b) large-scale sta­tion­ary indus­tri­al tools;

c) large-scale fixed install­a­tions, except any equip­ment which is not spe­cific­ally designed and installed as part of those install­a­tions;

d) means of trans­port for per­sons or goods, exclud­ing elec­tric two-wheel vehicles which are not type-approved;

e) non-road mobile machinery made avail­able exclus­ively for pro­fes­sion­al use;

f) equip­ment spe­cific­ally designed solely for the pur­poses of research and devel­op­ment that is only made avail­able on a busi­ness-to-busi­ness basis;

g) med­ic­al devices and in vitro dia­gnost­ic med­ic­al devices, where such devices are expec­ted to be infect­ive pri­or to end of life, and act­ive implant­able med­ic­al devices.

To under­stand the pre­ced­ing list, we need to have a few more defin­i­tions [1, art.3 (1)]: ‘large-scale sta­tion­ary indus­tri­al tools’ means a large size assembly of machines, equip­ment, and/or com­pon­ents, func­tion­ing togeth­er for a spe­cif­ic applic­a­tion, per­man­ently installed and de-installed by pro­fes­sion­als at a giv­en place, and used and main­tained by pro­fes­sion­als in an indus­tri­al man­u­fac­tur­ing facil­ity or research and devel­op­ment facil­ity; ‘large-scale fixed install­a­tion’ means a large-size com­bin­a­tion of sev­er­al types of appar­at­us and, where applic­able, oth­er devices, which:

  1. are assembled, installed and de-installed by pro­fes­sion­als;
  2. are inten­ded to be used per­man­ently as part of a build­ing or a struc­ture at a pre-defined and ded­ic­ated loc­a­tion; and
  3. can only be replaced by the same spe­cific­ally designed equip­ment;

non-road mobile machinery’ means machinery, with on-board power source, the oper­a­tion of which requires either mobil­ity or con­tinu­ous or semi-con­tinu­ous move­ment between a suc­ces­sion of fixed work­ing loc­a­tions while work­ing;

When it comes to “research and devel­op­ment equip­ment, the FAQ  sheds import­ant light:

As per Art­icle 2(4)(f) of the Dir­ect­ive, equip­ment spe­cific­ally designed solely for the pur­poses of research and devel­op­ment (R&D) that is only made avail­able on a busi­ness-to-busi­ness basis is excluded from the scope of the Dir­ect­ive to help reduce unne­ces­sary bur­dens on research, sci­entif­ic advance­ment, devel­op­ment and innov­a­tion in the EU.

Stand­ard equip­ment, such as mon­it­or­ing devices or instru­ments for chem­ic­al ana­lys­is and oth­er labor­at­ory equip­ment, that can be used both for R&D applic­a­tions and in com­mer­cial or oth­er applic­a­tions, does not bene­fit from this exclu­sion. Neither does the exclu­sion apply to equip­ment designed and placed on the mar­ket to test, val­id­ate or mon­it­or R&D equip­ment and/or pro­to­types.
Examples of EEE that may bene­fit from this R&D exclu­sion include:

This type of EEE belongs to the con­cep­tu­al, devel­op­ment­al, design or pre-pro­duc­tion stage and is as such designed for R&D use.

If your product is covered by the dir­ect­ive, you will need to under­stand the what you need to do to com­ply.

How to Comply with WEEE

The first thing to know is that, unlike the RoHS Dir­ect­ive, the WEEE Dir­ect­ive is NOTCE Mark­ing dir­ect­ive and should not be included in the Declar­a­tion of Con­form­ity for your products.

The WEEE Dir­ect­ive requires man­u­fac­tur­ers to set up a sys­tem in Europe to accept WEEE from any source and arrange for the appro­pri­ate dis­pos­al of that product. Man­u­fac­tur­ers are organ­iz­a­tions mak­ing products in any jur­is­dic­tion and pla­cing those products on the EU Mar­ket in one or more mem­ber states. Here’s the offi­cial defin­i­tion of a pro­du­cer [1, Art. 3(1)]:

(f) ‘pro­du­cer’ means any nat­ur­al or leg­al per­son who, irre­spect­ive of the selling tech­nique used, includ­ing dis­tance com­mu­nic­a­tion with­in the mean­ing of Dir­ect­ive 97/7/EC of the European Par­lia­ment and of the Coun­cil of 20 May 1997 on the pro­tec­tion of con­sumers in respect of dis­tance con­tracts (19):

(i) is estab­lished in a Mem­ber State and man­u­fac­tures EEE under his own name or trade­mark, or has EEE designed or man­u­fac­tured and mar­kets it under his name or trade­mark with­in the ter­rit­ory of that Mem­ber State;

(ii) is estab­lished in a Mem­ber State and resells with­in the ter­rit­ory of that Mem­ber State, under his own name or trade­mark, equip­ment pro­duced by oth­er sup­pli­ers, a reseller not being regarded as the ‘pro­du­cer’ if the brand of the pro­du­cer appears on the equip­ment, as provided for in point (i);

(iii) is estab­lished in a Mem­ber State and places on the mar­ket of that Mem­ber State, on a pro­fes­sion­al basis, EEE from a third coun­try or from anoth­er Mem­ber State; or

(iv) sells EEE by means of dis­tance com­mu­nic­a­tion dir­ectly to private house­holds or to users oth­er than private house­holds in a Mem­ber State, and is estab­lished in anoth­er Mem­ber State or in a third coun­try.

Who­ever exclus­ively provides fin­an­cing under or pur­su­ant to any fin­ance agree­ment shall not be deemed to be a ‘pro­du­cer’ unless he also acts as a pro­du­cer with­in the mean­ing of points (i) to (iv);

If your organ­iz­a­tion man­u­fac­tures a product in the EU but exports 100% of the pro­duc­tion to non-EU mar­kets, then your organ­iz­a­tion is not con­sidered to be a man­u­fac­turer for the pur­poses of the WEEE Dir­ect­ive, how­ever, if any por­tion of the pro­duc­tion is sold with­in the EU, the com­pany is a con­sidered to be a pro­du­cer under EU WEEE reg­u­la­tions.

Products included under the WEEE Dir­ect­ive must bear the WEEE Mark:

The Waste Electrical and Electronic materials mark. A line drawing of an industrial wheeled waste bin with a double cross-out.
The Waste Elec­tric­al and Elec­tron­ic mater­i­als mark

As long as a pro­du­cer con­tin­ues to sell products in any EU Mem­ber State they are oblig­ated to con­tin­ue to col­lect and recycle waste mater­i­als.

 1. Registration

Man­u­fac­tur­ers are required to register with the Nation­al Author­ity in each Mem­ber State where they mar­ket products. The con­tact points for every Mem­ber State are pub­lished online through the Europa.eu web­site. Each Mem­ber State author­izes private organ­iz­a­tions to register pro­du­cers and to col­lect and pre­pare mater­i­als for recyc­ling.

WEEE Con­tact Points – Janu­ary 2018 (MS Word)

WEEE Con­tact Points – Janu­ary 2018 (PDF)

Identi­fy­ing and track­ing pro­du­cers is the first step towards an effect­ive pro­du­cer respons­ib­il­ity policy, which is one of the Directive’s strategies. Nation­al Registers serve to register pro­du­cers and to col­lect inform­a­tion on the quant­it­ies and cat­egor­ies of elec­tric­al and elec­tron­ic equip­ment (EEE) put on their mar­ket, as well as the amounts of WEEE col­lec­ted, recycled, recovered and expor­ted.

Col­lect­ing inform­a­tion on the quant­it­ies of EEE placed on the mar­ket gives Mem­ber States an indic­a­tion of the amount of WEEE, they are likely to have to man­age. The inform­a­tion on WEEE – col­lec­ted, recovered, recycled – is essen­tial in order to mon­it­or com­pli­ance with the Directive’s object­ives. [2]

Below is con­tact inform­a­tion for two of the recyc­ling industry’s asso­ci­ations who can assist you with regis­tra­tion, col­lec­tion and report­ing:

European Elec­tron­ics Recyclers Asso­ci­ation
https://www.eera-recyclers.com/

Pels Rijck­en­straat 5
6814 DK Arnhem
The Neth­er­lands

+ 31 (0)26 370 20 08
secretariat@eera-recyclers.com


WEEE For­um
http://www.weee-forum.org

Blue­Point con­fer­ence and busi­ness centre
Boulevard Auguste Rey­ers­laan 80
B-1030 Brus­sels
Bel­gi­um

Phone +32 2 706 87 01

2. Collection

Once a pro­du­cer is registered in the EU Mem­ber States where they mar­ket products, the next step is the col­lec­tion of WEEE mater­i­als. The col­lec­tion com­pan­ies will receive the WEEE, log the weight of mater­i­als col­lec­ted and the pro­du­cer who should receive cred­it.

Fol­low­ing col­lec­tion, the mater­i­al is dis­mantled and the mater­i­als are sor­ted for resale to com­pan­ies who can recov­er the mater­i­als and pre­pare them for reuse.

3. Annual Reporting

When you arrange for col­lec­tion ser­vices through a col­lec­tion com­pany, they will main­tain an invent­ory of the mater­i­als col­lec­ted on your behalf. This invent­ory must be sub­mit­ted each year in each mem­ber state.

Need More Help?

If you need more help with WEEE, there are a few resources you can turn to:

Official EU WEEE FAQ

Fre­quently Asked Ques­tions on Dir­ect­ive 2012/19/EU on Waste Elec­tric­al and Elec­tron­ic Equip­ment (WEEE)

WEEE FAQ2

Contact Points

If the FAQ doesn’t help, here are a few more points of con­tact where you can get answers:

  1. WEEE Con­tacts page on europa.eu for the most cur­rent inform­a­tion
  2. EU Nation­al Author­it­ies con­tacts (see below)
  3. The European European WEEE Registers Net­work (EWRN)
  4. Email the WEEE Con­tact Point at the EU Com­mis­sion:
    ENV-WEEE@ec.europa.eu

WEEE Mem­ber State Con­tacts Updated Janu­ary 2018

References

[1]     “DIRECTIVE 2012/19/EU OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL of 4 July 2012 on waste elec­tric­al and elec­tron­ic equip­ment (WEEE) (recast) (Text with EEA rel­ev­ance)” [online], European Com­mis­sion, Brus­sels, 2012. Avail­able: https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=CELEX:32012L0019. Accessed: 2018-07-02.

[2]     “European WEEE Registers Net­work: Why Nation­al Registers?”, Ewrn.org, 2018. [Online]. Avail­able: https://www.ewrn.org/national-registers/why-national-registers/. [Accessed: 03- Jul- 2018].

[3]     Advanced Design of Recyc­ling Machines, Pro­cessing of WEEE. 2018.