WEEE stands for Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment. A piece of electronic equipment becomes WEEE at the end of it's life, namely when it stops serving the purpose it was designed for. WEEE includes any electrical or electronic equipment that either uses a mains connected power supply or that uses batteries.
The WEEE Directive is a regulation or law that was enacted by the European Community through publishing directive 2012/19/EU. This directive became European Law in February 2003. Through the WEEE directive the European Union set collection, recycling and recovery targets for all types of electrical goods. In 2009 the minimum rate was of 4 kilograms per capita of the population per annum.
The directive includes categorizing WEEE into several categories, primarily into historic and non-historic waste, the latter beng waste that was placed on the market prior to 2005. In essence, for historical waste, the WEEE directive simply places the responsibility of recycling of a product at its end of life on the owner. For WEEE that was originally placed on the market after 2005 (non-historic WEEE) is the responsibility of the producer, importer or distributor to make provisions for its collection and eventual recycling at the end of its life.
The WEEE directive splits the large number of products that fall under its domain in ten categories
- Large household appliances
- Small household appliances
- IT and telecommunications equipment
- Consumer equipment
- Lighting equipment
- Electrical and electronic tools
- Toys, leisure and sports equipment
- Medical devices
- Monitoring and control instruments
- Automatic dispensers