What is the WEEE
WEEE is the acronym for
"Waste Electronic and Electrical Equipment".
The WEEE Directive
is a legislation from the European Union (EU) that encourages
and regulates the collection, reuse, recycling, and recovery of waste
electrical and electrical equipment.
This directive aims to reduce
environmental damage and human health problems by minimizing the amount of disposed
electronic and electrical equipment that go to landfills. The WEEE
Directive complements the ROHS
Directive, which is another EU directive for environment and
human health protection aimed at restricting
the use of 6 hazardous substances.
Directive makes the producer (which refers to either the manufacturer
itself or the importer) of electronic and electrical goods responsible
for shouldering the costs of recycling and recovering these equipment
once they have reached "end-of-life". Private end-users (such as
households) will be able to return their waste electronic and electrical
equipment to these producers without charge. Reuse and recycling of the
returned WEEE or their components must first be considered before
material recovery itself.
was initially scheduled to be effective by August of 2005, but numerous
concerns such as the costs of producer compliance have led to the
postponement of the directive's enforcement to January, 2006.
The electronic and
electrical goods covered by the WEEE Directive include: 1) large and
small household appliances; 2) IT and communication equipment; 3)
consumer entertainment equipment (e.g., TV's, VCR's, VCD/DVD players,
etc.); 4) lighting products and equipment; 5) electronic toys; 6)
leisure and sports equipment; 7) medical devices; 8) monitoring and
control equipment; 9) automatic dispensers, etc.
The WEEE Directive requires
that the following actions are taken on WEEE:
which pertains to the removal of all fluids and the
ROHS-banned substances from all WEEE;
this is to be performed by licensed operators only in a facility that's
adequate for this purpose, i.e., one that is weatherproof and has
Recovery/Recycling, which pertains to the reclamation of a certain
percentage of the WEEE for actual reuse, as opposed to simply disposing
of the waste materials by destroying them through methods such as
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Bulk of the
WEEE that find their way into landfills today consist of what are
referred to as 'white goods', such as refrigerators, washing machines,
computers, computer paraphernalia, and photocopiers. Not only will
these wastes not biodegrade, but they also contain toxic materials such
as heavy metals and organic pollutants. The EU estimates that WEEE
already comprise 4% of total waste, or about 6.5 millions tons a year,
underscoring the need to implement the WEEE and
ROHS directives as soon as possible.
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