WEEE (Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment) is the industrial term for electrical waste, named after the EU Directive that regulates its disposal. Electrical waste is the fastest growing waste stream in the world. Electrical and electronic equipment (EEE) includes anything with a battery or a plug on it. Please note that fluorescent tubes and low energy light bulbs are also classified as EEE/WEEE, while the EU directive does not cover old-style filament light bulbs.
The WEEE Directive was brought in to reduce increasing amounts of electrical waste (WEEE) going to landfill. The Directive requires electronic goods producers to pay for recycling this equipment when it becomes waste.
Producers (manufacturers and importers) of electronic and electrical goods have to join an authorised ‘producer compliance scheme’, also known as a WEEE compliance scheme. The producer pays its chosen scheme to collect and recycle WEEE on its behalf.
Ask your local authority where to dispose of it locally. All local authorities accept WEEE for free from households, usually at recycling centres. A WEEE compliance scheme will collect the WEEE from the local authority. This service is paid for by EEE producers. You can also dispose WEEE through your retailer when buying a new similar equipment. If the new equipment is home-delivered, the retailer must offer free collection of the WEEE the new equipment is replacing. Retail shops with sales areas relating to EEE of at least 400 m2 must offer collection of very small WEEE (no external dimension more than 25 cm) free of charge to end-users and with no obligation to buy EEE of an equivalent type.
Local authority recycling centres may not accept business WEEE. In order to dispose of business-produced WEEE you should contact the producer of the equipment (i.e., if it has a crossed out wheelie bin symbol on it). If you are replacing products and the old products do not have a crossed out wheelie bin symbol on them, you can contact the producer of the new products that you are purchasing.
As part of the WEEE Directive, PV module recycling is a legal obligation across Europe. Moreover, the transposition of the WEEE directive into the legislation of member states means that waste PV Module collection and recycling are now subject to producer responsibility.
The term “Battery Producer” extends beyond battery manufacturers to any company imports batteries or products that contain batteries. Retailers that import their own brand batteries or batteries within products are also classified as battery producers.
In Spain all battery producers need to comply with the regulation, regardless the amount of batteries they put on the market. Becoming a member of a compliance scheme is the alternative the vast majority of producers use to comply with this regulation.
Battery compliance schemes make arrangements to collect batteries from collection points such as local authority sites, shops, offices and schools, often using existing collection rounds where possible to minimise costs and carbon emissions.
If batteries are discarded with household waste, the cost of collection and disposal is borne by local authorities. Landfill is an increasingly expensive method of disposal, as landfill sites become full and landfill taxes increase. Recycling will shift the cost of disposal to battery producers. Producers have an obligation to collect and treat batteries in proportion to the amount they sell each year. The legislation has set increasing targets until 2021, when 50% of batteries must be recycled.