What is the WEEE Directive?
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WEE Symbol which can be found on electronic and electrical equipment

The Directive on Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) aims to increase the recycling and recovery of WEEE through mechanical recycling, feedstock recycling and energy recovery. The Directive requires separation of most of Electrical and Electronic (E&E) Equipment from unsorted waste in Europe. The financial responsibility for collecting, recycling and re-using E&E waste is carried by manufacturers. The WEEE Directive is currently under review. The European Commission proposal for the WEEE Directive revision can be consulted here. The European Parliament and the Council of the European Union are schedule to discuss the revised WEEE Directive proposal in autumn 2010.

Since 31 December 2006, the Directive has required the separation of at least 4 kg of E&E equipment waste, per inhabitant, per year, from the normal waste streams. Having separated this waste, manufacturers of IT & Telecommunication equipment (computers, fax machine, telephones, copiers, printers) and consumer equipment (TVs, radios) are obliged to:

  • recover (i.e. recycling plus energy recovery) a minimum of 75% by weight per appliance, on average, and
  • re-use and recycle a minimum of 65% by weight of components, materials and substances, per appliance, on average.

These recycling and recovery targets requirements are likely to change following the revision.