This page provides links to resources specific to the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive (WEEE). If you are looking for information on the Restriction of Hazardous Substances Directive (RoHS), please click here.
The Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) and Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) Directives are complex pieces of legislation working together. In particular, they both apply to the same range of products with some differences explained below.
WEEE/RoHS: the scope
By far the most frequent question asked about WEEE and RoHS is: ‘Is my product covered?’ It is a complex question. However, some things are important to keep in mind.
Neither the European Commission nor, in theory, any EU Member State’s national government or enforcement authority is completely free to make determinations of the scope of WEEE and RoHS. Only national courts and the European Court of Justice have this power. In practice, you should pay attention to the opinion of national authorities in the countries where you are selling, bearing in mind that this opinion can be appealed via the courts. In the absence of clear guidance on scope from national authorities, U.S. companies may wish to obtain non-binding guidance from the European Commission.
The WEEE/RoHS legal scope is based on the EU WEEE and RoHS Directives - derived from two different articles in the EU Treaties. Due to this discrepancy, the scope of WEEE is only indicative (Member States are free to increase the scope as they wish) and the scope of RoHS should be implemented uniformly throughout the EU’s Member States. However there is a problem because the RoHS Directive defines its – uniform – scope as being drawn from the indicative scope of the WEEE Directive.
Issues relating to the links between WEEE and RoHS in terms of scope are addressed in the review.
Further questions on the scope of WEEE are addressed in our WEEE FAQs document.
Further guidance on scope:
For guidance on scope from the European Commission, please click here.
Orgalime, the European Engineering Industry Association, has also published a guide on the scope of WEEE and RoHS. For more information, please click here.
WEEE: the legislation
Access to the original EU’s WEEE legislative texts may be of value to U.S. companies in understanding their duties. Therefore, direct links are provided below:
All EU’s WEEE and RoHS-related legislative texts are available on the European Commission’s WEEE/RoHS website.
The official legislative text of the WEEE Directive can be found here.
Provisions on ‘financing in respect of WEEE from users other than private households’ were amended shortly after the adoption of the text in the form of a separate piece of legislation, Directive 2003/108/EC.
An amendment of 2008 allows for involvement of the European Parliament in implementation decisions taken by the European Commission, Directive 2008/34/EC.
This document provides an overview of the questions most frequently asked to the U.S. Department of Commerce with regard to WEEE and of the answers we typically provide. Although we make every effort to keep the information accurate and up-to-date, it does not constitute legal advice, nor have any legal effect. The only authorities able to make authoritative statements on the questions below are the national courts, the European Commission and the European Court of Justice.
European Commission’s guidance: FAQs on WEEE and RoHS
WEEE: the review
The WEEE Directive is currently under review. The European Commission published its review proposals on December 2008. We are currently at the second reading stage, and new rules will probably take effect in 2012-2013. Significant changes such as a broader scope and increased requirements for equipment collection are expected to be made during this procedure.
For information on the WEEE review, please click here.
WEEE: country information
The EU’s WEEE Directive is implemented in EU Member States countries by national WEEE regulations, which differ considerably from country to country. Therefore, we strongly urge U.S. companies to get further information in the countries where they seek to export by clicking here.
FYI: Countries others than EU Member States, such as Norway, Iceland, Switzerland and Turkey, may have similar legislation.
For further information and assistance resources, please click here.
For companies seeking in-depth technical or legal assistance with compliance issues relating to WEEE and RoHS, the Commercial Service provides a list of Business Service Providers who have track records in providing multi-country solutions and services. This webpage also gives access to our list of Business Services Providers.
The WEEE Forum provides information on recycling schemes across Europe. It is the largest grouping of compliance schemes. Even though there are compliance schemes in every EU country, please note that not all of them are members of the WEEE Forum. Many compete with each others, but in some EU countries, there is a monopoly take-back scheme.