Recycling electronics – it’s the law!


EU States are to minimise the disposal of waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) as unsorted municipal waste and are to set up separate collection systems for WEEE. In the case of electrical and electronic waste, Member States are to ensure that, as from 13 August 2005:

  • final holders and distributors can return such waste free of charge;
  • distributors of new products ensure that waste of the same type of equipment can be returned to them free of charge on a one-to-one basis;
  • producers are allowed to set up and operate individual or collective take-back systems;
  • the return of contaminated waste presenting a risk to the health and safety of personnel may be refused.

Producers must make provision for the collection of waste which is not from private households. Member States must ensure that all waste electrical and electronic equipment is transported to authorised treatment facilities.

This Directive applies to the following categories of electrical and electronic equipment:

  • large and small household appliances;
  • IT and telecommunications equipment;
  • consumer equipment;
  • lighting equipment;
  • electrical and electronic tools (with the exception of large-scale stationary industrial tools);
  • toys, leisure and sports equipment;
  • medical devices (with the exception of implanted and infected products);
  • monitoring and control instruments;
  • automatic dispensers.

When a producer places a product on the market, he must furnish a guarantee concerning the financing of the management of his waste.

Ring your council’s main switchboard number and ask for your local recycling centre that specifically accepts electronic waste.

More on WEEE compliance here.

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