WEEE good practice collection and treatment - background to guide

This good practice guidance is currently under review. Please note that some sections refer to old regulations. For information on latest relevant regulations please visit https://www.gov.uk/waste-electrical-and-electronic-equipment-weee-reuse-and-treat

Why was the guidance developed?

The Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Regulations came into force in January 2007 throughout the UK. The Regulations are designed to minimise the environmental impact of electronic and electrical goods, by increasing the collection, re-use, recycling and recovery of WEEE and reducing the amount going to landfill. This means that producers are responsible for financing the collection, treatment and recovery of WEEE and retailers must take back WEEE from householders free of charge.

Who should use the guidance?

For all those involved in the WEEE collection and treatment chain, presenting opportunities to improve services and see the business benefits, by recognising how your actions impact on others in the chain.

What's in the guidance?

This guidance covers good practice options for all stages of the recycling chain from point of disposal through to the production of resultant material streams. It includes signposting to appropriate legislation / guidance and provides good practice examples for the collection and treatment practices of WEEE that are currently being implemented. These examples demonstrate performance, greater traceability and increased value from WEEE and WEEE derived materials.

Why use the guidance?

  • identify opportunities to go beyond compliance and improve the way in which WEEE is collected and treated;
  • improve and increase the business opportunities for those going beyond compliance;
  • increase the quality and quantity of materials for recycling or re-use;
  • support the development of a clearly defined, level playing field and help minimise leakage and illegal export of WEEE from the system;
  • provide advice for end users on how and why their broken and unwanted electricals should be collected and managed / treated; and
  • provide information that can help those responsible for WEEE to improve their performance and better meet their corporate social responsibility commitments.

N.B. Treatment refers to the movement of materials through the process and not the actual technology used.

What can you find out about the collection of WEEE?

The guidance for the collection of WEEE:

  • builds on statutory guidance that is available from central Government and assumes knowledge of and compliance with the WEEE Regulations. It outlines how to go beyond the minimum requirements of the Regulations and Code of Practice;
  • highlights to users that they are one part of the WEEE supply chain and their collection methods will affect other stakeholders;
  • encourages cooperative working;
  • allows users flexibility to pick and choose what they can implement as appropriate to their circumstances and those of their working partners.

The guidance does not:

  • duplicate or replace the BIS Code of Practice and any relevant statutory guidance; or
  • replace decision making based on local knowledge.

What can you find out about the treatment of WEEE?

The guidance for the treatment of WEEE:

  • builds on statutory guidance that is available from central Government and assumes compliance with the WEEE Regulations as a de minimus;
  • highlights to users that they are one part of the WEEE supply chain and their treatment methods will affect others;
  • allows users flexibility to pick and choose what good practice options they can implement as appropriate to their circumstances.

The guidance does not:

  • duplicate or replace the Guidance on Best Available Treatment, Recovery and Recycling Techniques (BATRRT) or the treatment of Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) and any relevant statutory guidance; or
  • replace decision making based on local knowledge.