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Brief introduction of
directive 2002/96/EC of 27 January 2003
on waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE)


The purpose of the WEEE Directive is, as a first priority, the prevention of waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE), and in addition, the reuse, recycling and other forms of recovery of such wastes so as to reduce the disposal of waste. It also seeks to improve the environmental performance of all operators involved in the life cycle of electrical and electronic equipment, e.g. producers, distributors and consumers and in particular those operators directly involved in the treatment of waste electrical and electronic equipment.


        1. The WEEE Directive shall apply to electrical and electronic equipment falling under the categories set out in Annex IA provided that the equipment concerned is not part of another type of equipment that does not fall within the scope of this Directive. Annex IB contains a list of products which fall under the categories set out in Annex IA.

        2. This Directive shall apply without prejudice to Community legislation on safety and health requirements and specific Community waste management legislation.

        3. Equipment which is connected with the protection of the essential interests of the security of Member States, arms, munitions and war material shall be excluded from this Directive. This does not, however, apply to products which are not intended for specifically military purposes.


For the purposes of this Directive, the following definitions shall apply:

        (a)electrical and electronic equipment’ or ‘EEE’ means equipment which is dependent on electric currents or electromagnetic fields in order to work properly and equipment for the generation, transfer and measurement of such currents and fields falling under the categories set out in Annex IA and designed for use with a voltage rating not exceeding 1000 Volt for alternating current and 1500 Volt for direct current;

        (b)waste electrical and electronic equipment’ or ‘WEEE’ means electrical or electronic equipment which is waste within the meaning of Article 1(a) of Directive 75/442/ EEC, including all components, subassemblies and consumables which are part of the product at the time of discarding;

        (c) ‘prevention’ means measures aimed at reducing the quantity and the harmfulness to the environment of WEEE and materials and substances contained therein;

        (d) ‘reuse’ means any operation by which WEEE or components thereof are used for the same purpose for which they were conceived, including the continued use of the equipment or components thereof which are returned to collection points, distributors, recyclers or manufacturers;

        (e) ‘recycling’ means the reprocessing in a production process of the waste materials for the original purpose or for other purposes, but excluding energy recovery which means the use of combustible waste as a means of generating energy through direct incineration with or without other waste but with recovery of the heat;

        (f) ‘recovery’ means any of the applicable operations provided for in Annex IIB to Directive 75/442/EEC;

        (g) ‘disposal’ means any of the applicable operations provided for in Annex IIA to Directive 75/442/EEC;

        (h) ‘treatment’ means any activity after the WEEE has been handed over to a facility for depollution, disassembly, shredding, recovery or preparation for disposal and any other operation carried out for the recovery and/or the disposal of the WEEE;

        (i)producer’ means any person who, irrespective of the selling technique used, including by means of distance communication in accordance with Directive 97/7/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 May 1997 on the protection of consumers in respect of distance contracts:

            1.  manufactures and sells electrical and electronic equipment under his own brand,

            2.  resells under his own brand equipment produced by other suppliers, a reseller not being regarded as the ‘producer’ if the brand of the producer appears on the equipment, as provided for in subpoint (1), or

            3.  imports or exports electrical and electronic equipment on a professional basis into a Member State. Whoever exclusively provides financing under or pursuant to any finance agreement shall not be deemed a ‘producer’ unless he also acts as a producer within the meaning of subpoints (1) to (3);

        (j) ‘distributor’ means any person who provides electrical or electronic equipment on a commercial basis to the party who is going to use it;

        (k) ‘WEEE from private households’ means WEEE which comes from private households and from commercial, industrial, institutional and other sources which, because of its nature and quantity, is similar to that from private households;

        (l) ‘dangerous substance or preparation’ means any substance or preparation which has to be considered dangerous under Council Directive 67/548/EEC (2) or Directive 1999/ 45/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council (3).

        (m) ‘finance agreement’ means any loan, lease, hiring or deferred sale agreement or arrangement relating to any equipment whether or not the terms of that agreement or arrangement or any collateral agreement or arrangement provide that a transfer of ownership of that equipment will or may take place.

Information and reporting

Member States shall draw up a register of producers and collect information, including substantiated estimates, on an annual basis on the quantities and categories of electrical and electronic equipment put on their market, collected through all routes, reused, recycled and recovered within the Member States, and on collected waste exported, by weight or, if this is not possible, by numbers.

Member States shall ensure that producers supplying electrical and electronic equipment by means of distance communication provide information on the compliance with the requirements of Article 8(4) and on the quantities and categories of electrical and electronic equipment put on the market of the Member State where the purchaser of that equipment resides.

Member States shall ensure that the information required is transmitted to the Commission on a two-yearly basis within 18 months after the end of the period covered. The first set of information shall cover the years 2005 and 2006. The information shall be provided in a format which shall be established within one year after the entry into force of this Directive in accordance with the procedure referred to in Article 14(2) with a view to establishing databases on WEEE and its treatment.

Member States shall provide for adequate information exchange in order to comply with this paragraph, in particular for treatment operations as referred to in Article 6(5).

Obligations of producers (manufacturers)

The WEEE symbol must be placed on an EEE product if the product falls in one of the 10 categories and is placed onto the EU market after the 13th August 2005. The product is treated as "new" WEEE. Producers must provide refurbishment, treatment and reuse information for each "new" WEEE.

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