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Waste from Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE)

EU rules on treating waste electrical and electronic equipment, to contribute to sustainable production and consumption.

Waste electrical and electronic equipment
© baranozdemir / Getty Images

 

Main law: WEEE Directive

Entry into force: 13 August 2012

Connected topics:  Chemicals Circular economy Restriction of hazardous substances in EEE (RoHS) Waste and recycling

Connected strategies: Circular economy action plan

Connected Commission priorities: European Green Deal

Overview

The amount of waste electrical and electronic equipment (widely known as WEEE or e-waste) generated every year in the EU is increasing rapidly. It is now one of the fastest growing waste streams.

EU rules on WEEE aim to contribute to sustainable production and consumption. They address environmental and other issues caused by the growing number of discarded electronics in the EU.

Background

Waste from electrical and electronic equipment includes a large range of devices such as computers, fridges and mobile phones at the end of their life.

This type of waste contains a complex mixture of materials, some of which are hazardous. These can cause major environmental and health problems if the discarded devices are not managed properly. In addition, modern electronics contain rare and expensive resources, which can be recycled and re-used if the waste is effectively managed.

Improving the collection, treatment and recycling of electrical and electronic equipment (EEE) at the end of their life can

  • improve sustainable production and consumption
  • increase resource efficiency
  • contribute to the circular economy

The EU has introduced the WEEE Directive and the RoHS Directive to tackle the issue of the growing amount of WEEE.

Objectives

The WEEE Directive aims to contribute to sustainable production and consumption by

  • preventing the creation of WEEE as a first priority
  • contributing to the efficient use of resources and the retrieval of secondary raw materials through re-use, recycling and other forms of recovery
  • improving the environmental performance of everyone involved in the life cycle of EEE

In order to achieve these objectives, the Directive

  • requires the separate collection and proper treatment of WEEE and sets targets for their collection as well as for their recovery and recycling
  • helps European countries fight illegal waste exports more effectively by making it harder for exporters to disguise illegal shipments of WEEE
  • reduces the administrative burden by calling for the harmonisation of national EEE registers and of the reporting format

Implementation

Information about the implementation of the WEEE Directive, including data and reporting and WEEE calculation tools.

Implementation of the WEEE Directive

More information  

Timeline

Key dates related to the WEEE Directive

  1. 17 December 2019
    Adoption of Implementing Decision 2019/2193
  2. 19 February 2019
    Adoption of Implementing Regulation 2019/290
  3. 18 April 2017
    Adoption of Implementing regulation 2017/699
  4. 14 February 2014
    New WEEE Directive becomes effective
  5. 13 August 2012
    New WEEE Directive enters into force
  6. February 2003
    First WEEE Directive enters into force

Contact

For questions on the WEEE Directive, please contact our functional mailbox.

For questions on WEEE implementation or enforcement, please contact Member State authorities or the European WEEE Registers Network (EWRN).

To purchase European Standards, please contact the national members of the European Standardization Organisations.

Contact the relevant European Standardization Organisation CENELEC.