Directive 2012/19/EU of the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union on waste electrical and electronic equipment is the basis for the disposal of waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE). The WEEE Directive was transposed into national law through the Act Governing the Sale, Return and Environmentally Sound Disposal of Electrical and Electronic Equipment.
The Directive lays down requirements for the disposal of WEEE. The principle underlying these requirements is producer responsibility. According to this principle, the producers are responsible for the management throughout their product’s entire life cycle.
Member states must ensure
- that producers of electrical and electronic equipment ensure of the treatment and recovery of collected and returned WEEE.
- producers guarantee the financing of the environmentally sound disposal when they place new equipment on the market.
- distributors take back WEEE from private households under certain conditions.
- the recovery targets for collecting, recycling and recovering stipulated in the directive are met.
Pursuant to the directive, WEEE must be collected separately from general waste. Consumers must be able to return WEEE free of charge. Corresponding collection systems must be established in line with population density. Member states must meet a binding target for collection. In order to achieve this target, producers have to observe special marking obligations. For example, all electrical and electronic equipment that falls under the scope of the directive must bear the symbol of a crossed-out wheeled bin.
The directive also lays down minimum technical requirements for storage and treatment of WEEE.