WEEE - FAQs (22/09/10)
Q. What is WEEE?
A. It is Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment ('WEEE') (i.e. electronic goods) which have reached their end-of-life.
Q. What is the law in relation to WEEE?
A. The WEEE Directive, which came into force on 13 August 2005, is the European Directive that sets out the current WEEE framework. The Directive encourages a more sustainable approach towards the treatment of WEEE by imposing the "polluter-pays" principle on producers of electrical and electronic equipment ('EEE'). The Directive is implemented in the UK by the WEEE Regulations 2006.
Q. Who is affected?
A. The WEEE Directive places various responsibilities on producers, as well as distributors and business end-users.
- Producers: As the original source of WEEE, producers (including importers and re-branders) are given the greatest responsibility under the Directive - responsibility for both the collection and treatment of WEEE. In order to meet this responsibility producers are required to join a
WEEE Compliance Scheme which ensures compliance.
Producers must also meet certain labelling requirements in relation to their products. The
information contained on the label is designed to make the equipment's end-of-life treatment
easier and more effective.
- Distributors: Those (e.g. retailers) supplying electrical and electronic equipment directly to household consumers are viewed as "distributors" under the Directive. Distributors are required to facilitate the return of household WEEE. This requirement can be fulfilled either by collecting WEEE in-store, or by joining a Distributor Take-Back Scheme, whereby consumers return WEEE to the nearest scheme collection point (often a Local Authority civic amenity site).
- Business End-Users: If a business wishes to dispose of WEEE purchased after 13 August 2005, the producer will be responsible for the financing of the collection and treatment of this waste (as outlined above). Importantly, however, the Directive allows producers and businesses to agree to alternative financing arrangements. This means, for example, that a business can become responsible for the treatment of its own WEEE.
If businesses wish to dispose of WEEE purchased before 13 August 2005 ('historic WEEE'), then the business itself will have to pay - unless replacing WEEE with an equivalent new product, in which case the producers will again be responsible.
Q. What are the consequences of failure to comply?
A. Failure to comply with the requirements of the WEEE Regulations can in certain cases lead to the imposition of an unlimited fine. Accordingly, the requirements of the WEEE Directive and its implementing Regulations should not be taken lightly
For further information, please contact Jamie Grant or Valerie Surgenor on 0141 303 1100.
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