But there are changes ahead. A wider range of electrical and electronic equipment will be included in scope of WEEE in a few short years. Currently there are 10 categories of WEEE (listed below), to be reduced to just six categories in 2019.
There are also questions around whether the new target in 2019 should be 65% of sales or 85% of WEEE generated. The European Commission is examining the methodology for calculating either set of targets.
WEEE & RoHS - WEEE has a sister regulation in Europe: RoHS. RoHS is EU legislation restricting the use of hazardous substances in electrical and electronic equipment that first entered into force in February 2003. The legislation requires heavy metals such as lead, mercury, cadmium, and hexavalent chromium and flame retardants such as polybrominated biphenyls (PBB) or polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDE) to be substituted by safer alternatives. The newest version of RoHS, the recast Directive 2011/65/EU, became effective in January of 2013.
EU Directive 2012/19/EC
Without prejudice to Article 5(1), each Member State shall ensure the implementation of the ‘producer responsibility’ principle and, on that basis, that a minimum collection rate is achieved annually. From 2016, the minimum collection rate shall be 45 % calculated on the basis of the total weight of WEEE collected in accordance with Articles 5 and 6 in a given year in the Member State concerned, expressed as a percentage of the average weight of EEE placed on the market in the three preceding years in that Member State. Member States shall ensure that the volume of WEEE collected evolves gradually during the period from 2016 to 2019, unless the collection rate laid down in the second subparagraph has already been achieved.
From 2019, the minimum collection rate to be achieved annually shall be 65 % of the average weight of EEE placed on the market in the three preceding years in the Member State concerned, or alternatively 85 % of WEEE generated on the territory of that Member State.
Until 31 December 2015, a rate of separate collection of at least 4 kilograms on average per inhabitant per year of WEEE from private households or the same amount of weight of WEEE as was collected in that Member State on average in the three preceding years, whichever is greater, shall continue to apply.
Scope - The ten categories in use until now will continue to be used during a transitional period of six years following the new directive coming into force. After that, the scope is open and consists of six categories of equipment. From 15 August 2018, all electrical and electronic equipment will fall within the scope of the WEEE Directive. The existing general exceptions remain in place.
Collection Rate - The onus is on Member States, not producers, to meet collection rates.
Until 31 December 2015, the collection rate remains at its current level of at least 4kg per inhabitant per year.
From 1 Jan 2016, for most EU Member States, the collection rate shall be 45 % of the average weight of electrical and electronic equipment placed on the market in the preceding three years.
From 2019, the collection rate will be increased to 65% of the average weight of electrical and electronic equipment placed on the market in the preceding three years, or alternatively 85% of WEEE generated in that Member State.
Remain at current levels for the next three years.
After three years, recycling rates are to be increased by 5% (see appendix V to 2012/19/EU).
After six years, new recovery and recycling rates for the six categories are planned (for recovery, between 75% and 85%, for recycling between 55% and 80%).
Producers and national registration - Instead of establishing a branch in every Member State in which they sell their products, a producer can appoint an authorized representative for national registration purposes for distance selling and/or normal export of their products. However, the prerequisite for this is that the producer be established in another Member State. Future internet-based trade will also be taken into account.
Registration will be standardized Europe-wide
Only one form will be required. However, this form will need to be submitted in every country in which the company’s products are to be placed on the market.
There is a general obligation for WEEE to be collected at retail shops. However, this collection obligation will only apply to small items of equipment with no external dimension larger than 25cm. In addition, the collection obligation only applies where the retail shop has sales areas for EEE of at least 400 square meters. Smaller retail stores and handicraft shops will not be affected.