What is WEEE & Why is it important?

The WEEE refers to Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment.

The WEEE refers to Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment. Management of this equipment is a global issue. It includes a large range of devices such as computers, fridges and mobile phones. 

This type of waste is particularly polluting because it contains some hazardous materials. Therefore, it is crucial to ensure that this waste is managed correctly and discarded to avoid significant environmental and health problems. Also, some of the raw materials required to manufacture the EEE (Electrical and Electronic Equipment) are rare and valuable; therefore, recycling those materials is essential. 

In particular, the European Union has introduced the WEEE Directive for this type of waste.

What is Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive (WEEE) directive?

The WEEE Directive is the regulation issued by the European Union in the context of EPR policies, which aims to combat the issue of the growing amount of waste from electrical and electronic equipment. 

You can get more information about EPR obligations in our dedicated article to EPR compliance in Europe.

This is the Directive 2012/19/EU of 4 July 2012, on waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE).

The following guidelines are included as part of the Directive regulation:

  • It requires separate collection and proper treatment of WEEE. It also sets targets for their recycling.
  • Helps European countries fight illegal waste exports more effectively by making it more difficult for exporters to hide illegal shipments of WEEE.
  • Reduces the administrative burden by harmonizing the national EEE registers and the reporting format.

Annex II of the WEEE Directive contains an indicative list of EEE products falling into the scope of the WEEE obligations. 

Do you need to comply with WEEE Regulations? 

You must comply with WEEE regulations if you manufacture, distribute, or sell electrical and electronic equipment such as computers, fridges, and mobile phones.

You must consider that your products are considered WEEE if they are designed for use with i) an alternating current of a maximum 1,000 volt or ii) direct current of maximum 1,500 volt and:

  • Depend on electrical currents or electromagnetic fields to be operated properly or
  • Are used for the generation, transfer and measurement of electric currents and electromagnetic fields. 

If you offer an EEE product (electrical and electronic equipment) containing a battery, you must register for both EEE and Batteries.

Additionally, like other EPR taxes, Amazon and other marketplaces are legally obliged in France and Germany to confirm their Sellers are compliant with the WEEE policies.

In France, this requirement is already in force since January 2022, while for Germany, this marketplace obligation will enter into force on 1 January 2023. 

Amazon and other marketplace Sellers must ensure to comply with WEEE regulations to avoid having their accounts suspended.

WEEE compliance 

EU Member States have implemented the EU WEEE Directive in their national laws. Consequently, you must review the country’s requirements for being WEEE compliant. 

This includes: 

  • Registering with the responsible national authorities in each country where you distribute or sell equipment under the scope of WEEE.
  • Reporting the amount of sold electrical and electronic equipment.
  • Organizing or financing the collection, treatment, recycling and recovery of your products.
  • Provide a take-back service whereby customers can return electric and electronic waste free. Also, labelling products with the “crossed out wheelie bin” symbol to ease customers the correct discarding of these products.

The WEEE registration and compliance in Germany

According to German WEEE regulations, you are subject to WEEE obligations if:

  • You are the manufacturer, i.e., the entity manufacturing WEEE and offering them under your trade name or brand in Germany.
  • You offer WEEE from other manufacturers under your trade name or brand in Germany or resell them commercially.
  • You offer WEEE that does not commercially originate from Germany for the first time on the German market. This includes importing WEEE into Germany from abroad.
  • You offer WEEE through online sales directly to German end users and you are not established in Germany.

The steps to be compliant are the following:

  1. Registration: this includes the registration of each category of EEE sold.
  2. Appoint an authorized representative in case you are a foreign company selling EEE in Germany.
  3. Join a PRO (Producer responsibility organization).
  4. Reporting and fulfilment of other obligations such as labelling or take back service.

When registering for WEEE, you must include the brand name under which you will sell the products in the German market.

Compliance with WEEE regulations includes the mandatory offer of take-back service to customers. 

The EAR offers a complete information about WEEE regulations in Germany.

The WEEE registration and compliance in France

Similar regulations concerning WEEE apply in France. In our article about EPR obligations, we elaborate the different types of reporting in France for all categories of EPR products, including the EEE. You should consider that:

  • The EEE categories include household products, lamps, fire extinguishers and professional electronic products. 
  • Compliance with WEEE regulations includes the mandatory offer of take-back service to customers since January 2022.

Contact MAROSA for help meeting your EPR and WEEE obligations in France and Germany.

Parties involved in the trade of products falling under the EPR scope must comply with the corresponding obligations to avoid penalties from the authorities. 

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