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


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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

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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.

Author: Doug Nix

Doug Nix is Managing Director and Principal Consultant at Compliance InSight Consulting, Inc. (http://www.complianceinsight.ca) in Kitchener, Ontario, and is Lead Author and Senior Editor of the Machinery Safety 101 blog. Doug's work includes teaching machinery risk assessment techniques privately and through Conestoga College Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning in Kitchener, Ontario, as well as providing technical services and training programs to clients related to risk assessment, industrial machinery safety, safety-related control system integration and reliability, laser safety and regulatory conformity. For more see Doug's LinkedIn profile.