If you are selling electrical or electronic equipment (EEE), you may be subject to the European Directive 2012/19/EU (WEEE Directive) concerning the collection and recycling of Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) and the national laws implementing this Directive. In the following, you can find a short overview of the WEEE legislation and how this affects you as a seller.
The purpose of this Directive is to prevent the creation of WEEE, to reduce the disposal of waste into the environment, and to contribute to the efficient use of resources and the retrieval of valuable secondary raw materials. Therefore, the WEEE Directive aims at involving all operators taking part in the life cycle of EEE, for example, producers, distributors and consumers, in the collection and treatment of WEEE. The WEEE Directive lays down the essential criteria on the management of WEEE and the responsibility of producers, and creates minimum standards for the treatment of WEEE.
Since this Directive only lays down the minimum standards and each Member State of the EU implements these standards in its own laws, there can be discrepancies between the national regulations. Please inform yourself about the applicable national laws for every EU Member State you deliver to; we can only provide you with a broad overview for Germany, UK, France, Italy, Spain and the Netherlands.
The WEEE Directive is meant to cover all EEE used by consumers and EEE intended for professional use.
Specifically, the WEEE Directive applies to any equipment powered by electricity or through electromagnetic fields and designed for use with voltage <1000 volts AC and <1500 volts DC. You can find the (few) products with exceptions in Article 2 of the WEEE Directive.
The Directive places obligations on both producers and distributors, which includes mere sellers. Many EEE sellers will be considered producers for the purpose of the Directive. Furthermore, you can be a mere seller in one Member State and, at the same time, a producer in a different Member State:
National WEEE laws may define additional sellers as producers (see below).
All producers must in particular:
Member states have some room to implement the Directive in different ways. Below you will find an overview of such country-specific rules on WEEE for Germany, the UK, France, Italy, Spain and the Netherlands.
For more detailed information, please visit the website of the relevant national register; for an overview, see here.