WEEE directive in Europe: a complete guide for entrepreneurs

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The European Union still enacts new acts that are to protect natural environment. One of such acts is the WEEE directive that is the topic of the following article. In our text we are going to discuss the most important issues connected with this document.

What is the WEEE ordinance?

The name WEEE is an abbreviation that stands for Waste of Electrical and Electronic Equipment. The WEEE is a directive decreed by the EU in the beginning of 2003. The WEEE decree was created in order to protect natural environment. Its main goal is to decrease a negative influence of waste of electric and electrical products on the natural environment. The companies, that produce or trade goods that are subject to the WEEE directive, are obliged to collect waste and recycle them. It has to be remembered that different groups of waste have to comply with different recycling norms.

What products comply with the WEEE ordinance?

The compliance with the WEEE decree is required for the following groups of products:

  1. Household appliances.
  2. IT equipment.
  3. Telecommunication equipment.
  4. Lightning equipment.
  5. Various electric and electrical tools (excluding large industrial devices).
  6. Toys.
  7. Sports equipment.
  8. Medical devices.
  9. Monitoring and control instruments.
  10. All automatic dispensers.

What countries require the compliance with the WEEE directive from imported products?

The compliance with the WEEE ordinance for the groups of products described above is obligatory in the EU member countries, in Lichtenstein, Iceland, Norway, Switzerland, and Turkey.

Who has to fulfil the standards of the WEEE decree?

The norms of the WEEE ordinance must be fulfilled by the companies which:

    • are private label producers of electric and electrical goods and sell them in the aforementioned countries,
    • sell electric and electrical products purchased from the private label producers in the aforementioned countries,
    • deal with importing or exporting electric and electrical goods in the aforementioned countries.

How did the norms of the WEEE directive change?

On 14 August 2012, the new directive called the WEEE 2 ordinance was decreed. It replaced the original version of the WEEE decree. It introduced the following changes:

  1. Increasing the amount of collected waste of electric and electrical products from 4 kilograms to about 10 kilograms per one head of population. According with the WEEE directive, a new limit will be in force from 2021. In 2016 the amount limit is 5,8 kg per one head of population.
  2. Increasing the level up to which the waste is recycled by 5% for all goods that are subject to the WEEE ordinance. This standard has been in force since 2015.
  3. The producers that manufacture goods, according with the new WEEE decree, are obliged to record how much exactly the equipment weight in 3 situations:
    • when the product is collected from the collecting area,
    • when the product arrives to the factory and when it leaves it,
    • when the waste arrives to the recycling area or when the remarketing takes place.
  1. The retailed companies which run the stores with the surface area above 400 square metres, according to the WEEE directive, will be also obliged to run the collecting point of small-sized (less than 25 cm) electric and electrical products.
  2. Beginning from 2018, the new version of the WEEE ordinance will include all electric and electrical products. The new 6 groups of products:
    • temperature exchange equipment,
    • equipment containing screens having a surface greater than 100 m2,
    • lamps,
    • large equipment, e.g. music equipment,
    • small equipment, e.g. calculators,
    • small IT and telecommunication equipment, e.g. routers.
will be added to 10 groups currently existing.

Summary

Since the European Union was created, the entities that want to import product to the EU member countries have to be prepared for many additional formalities. It is needed to become familiarized with the norms that concern the particular product, as well as to check if the purchased goods fulfil them. The most strict norms are connected with electric and electrical products, toys, food, and chemical products. We assume that the WEEE decree is effective, however, as we have already mentioned, it may make business transactions more difficult. We, as a company, always pay special attention to product certificates while looking for and verifying the Chinese suppliers in order to check if the producers fulfil all necessary standards. It is very important if you want to import from China in a safe way.

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