The Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Regulations aim to reduce the amount of WEEE ending up in landfill and require the collection, treatment and recycling or reuse of waste electricals to meet UK and European targets.
Who is affected?
Businesses that perform any of the following activities are classed as obligated producers under these Regulations:
- Manufacture electrical or electronic equipment (EEE) under the own brand
- Re-brand EEE that was manufactured by another business
- Import EEE
Differences between B2C and B2B producers
Business to consumer (B2C) producers are those that supply EEE intended to be used in households or business environments, whereas business to business (B2B) producers are those that supply EEE that is intended to be used within business or industrial settings only.
These definitions apply even if the business sells EEE online only, or if the business is based outside of the UK but supplies directly to end users within the UK.
Varying obligations – Small vs large producers
If your business is obligated to comply with the WEEE Regulations, the level of compliance will depend on the amount of EEE it places on the market each year.
For example, if a business places under 5 tonnes of EEE on the UK market during a year, it would be classified as a small WEEE producer. Small WEEE producers should register directly with the Environment Agency (or register through a compliance scheme such as Valpak). They are also required to submit an annual declaration, which should detail the amount of EEE placed on the market in the past year. A small administration fee should also be paid to ensure WEEE compliance.
If your business places over 5 tonnes of EEE on the UK market in a year, then it is classed as a large WEEE producer is required to register with a compliance scheme (such as Valpak). Large B2C producers must report all EEE they place on the market on a quarterly basis and then need to pay to offset this via their compliance scheme.
Large B2B producers on the other hand only need to report the EEE they place on the market annually. Instead of paying to offset the EEE they place on the market via their compliance scheme, they have to offer to take back and fund the environmentally sound disposal of their EEE at the end of its life, or legally pass on this obligation to their customers who will then have to fund this on their behalf.
Deciphering who holds the obligation
At times it can be difficult to work out which party is classed as the obligated producer of EEE placed on the market. Some online suppliers might not physically handle EEE but could still be obligated as a producer if they own the EEE at the point it is imported into the UK (even if it then gets passed directly to their customers). Equally, if your business is an EEE retailer based in the UK, it can be difficult to work out whether the business is classed as a producer when the EEE supplied comes directly to the business from outside the UK.
It can be helpful to follow the flow of money in these scenarios, to work out if payments are being made to a company based outside of the UK for the EEE sourced (which would likely make your business the producer), or whether the business is paying a UK company to import the EEE on its behalf.
If you are unsure it is worth opening a dialogue with suppliers and customers and speaking to a compliance scheme who can advise which party is obligated. Making sure you are fully aware of who holds the obligation as a producer within your supply chain is important and is not something that should be assumed.
Valpak can help
We are an approved WEEE compliance scheme and will register a business with the relevant environment agency and check and submit data to ensure compliance. For large producers, we will also take on the legal responsibility for compliance with the Regulations. To meet this obligation we arrange the collection, treatment and recycling of waste electrical and electronic equipment.
If you are interested in joining our scheme, or simply wish to talk through your requirements with one of our experts, please do not hesitate to contact us via our enquiry form, email us or call 03450 682 572.
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this weblog represent those of the individual authors and not those of Valpak Limited or any other organisation.