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.