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Understanding the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive

by Guest Post on Oct 8, 2015

The Waste Electrical and Electronic (WEEE) Directive is a set of guidelines from the European community that dictates how electrical goods and appliances should be recycled and disposed of.

The directive was originally launched in 2002 and has gone through a few rounds of revisions in years since. The most recent amendments took effect in 2014. If you are considering disposing of any electrical appliance, it’s a good idea to consult the details of the directive. Concise summaries are readily available to consumers online, and they can help quickly determine whether the object you are disposing of has any special requirements.

There are a total of ten categories that the directive outlines for electrical devices: 

  • 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

As you can see, some are more likely to be found lying about the house than others. These days, with the number of handheld and computing devices that the average consumer uses, it’s safe to say that most of us have a variety of objects that must be specially handled when disposed of.

Understanding the Directive

If you are attempting to understand the WEEE Directive and what is involved, you must spend some time reviewing relevant materials so that you can get a better understanding. If the directive is followed faithfully, it will result in a significant reduction in the amount of electrical waste found in landfills.

This is an important consideration for today’s generation, which will produce more electrical waste and ultimately use up more landfill space than ever before. Regulations like this incentivize recycling and go a long way toward maintaining a cleaner and healthier living environment.

Here are a few points to give you a better idea of how the directive works:

  • Official collection points are set up around communities so that consumers can quickly and easily surrender old devices for recycling and processing.
  • Manufacturers, distributors, and vendors are required to work in concert with local and national governments to make the process run more smoothly.
  • Disposal systems are kept separate so that electrical waste can be easily processed, with reports issued to an enforcement authority.

One way that manufacturers are doing their part is by making newer electronic devices easier to disassemble so that it’s easier to recycle their components. Furthermore, electronics that were produced after the directive took effect are marked to indicate how they must be disposed of. This helps to reduce confusion on behalf of the consumer when it comes time to retire the device.

For larger appliances, repair shops will know how current regulations affect your situation. They will also be able to advise you on where a particular device needs to be taken for processing. In some situations, they may even be able to take the appliance off of your hands and deal with its disposal on their own. This makes it even easier to stay compliant. 

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