As a new year dawns, more changes are coming in for those in the electrical and electronic equipment sector with the new UK Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Regulations 2013 (“WEEE 2013”). WEEE 2013 was made on 7 December 2013 and the majority of the provisions came in to force on 1 January 2014.

In due course, WEEE 2013 will repeal and replace the existing WEEE Regulations 2006. It is designed to implement the main provisions of the EU WEEE Directive 2012/19/EU, which replaces the WEEE Directive 2002/96/EU. The 2012 Directive will, amongst other important changes, extend the scope of the current WEEE regime to cover all WEEE from August 2018, rather than just the ten categories that are currently covered.

In implementing the 2012 Directive, WEEE 2013 in the UK will provide for:                                       

  • a new WEEE waste management system designed to facilitate a separate collection for WEEE;
  • a requirement that all producers that put EEE on the market in the UK have to register and establish and finance systems to collect, treat, recover and dispose of WEEE (most producers will comply by joining a producer compliance scheme as at present);
  • designated collection facilities for WEEE to be collected (usually local household waste sites);
  • a de minimis threshold for producers who put less than 5 tonnes of EEE on the market in any one year who can meet their obligations through registration direct with the environment agency and do not have to join a producer compliance scheme;
  • the creation of a new category for solar photovoltaic (PV) panels and a requirement upon PV producers to finance the collection of waste PV panels; and
  • a requirement that all new EEE products must be marked with a crossed out wheeled bin symbol to encourage consumers to dispose of it separately to the general waste.

There is now interim guidance to WEEE 2013 issued by the government and providing useful further details on the key changes WEEE 2013 has brought in.