Local Time in Brussels: Print | E-mail Page

WEEE/RoHS: WEEE FAQ

Scope

I build systems, as opposed to selling discrete products. Am I affected by WEEE?

I make equipment that is sold to the military and/or the government. Am I covered by WEEE?

I have heard that medical devices and monitoring and control instruments are not covered by WEEE. Is this true?

Registration

I sell Electronic and Electrical Equipment(EEE). Do I have to register for WEEE in Europe?

Can I register for my Europe-wide WEEE obligations in one EU country, or do I have to register in all 27?

How can I register for WEEE in Europe?

Compliance with Other Obligations

Can I join a pan-European collection & recycling scheme?

Miscellaneous

I am not completely comfortable with the fees my distributor is charging for WEEE compliance. What is fair?

Country Information

Need More?

This page provides an overview of the questions most frequently asked of the US Department of Commerce with regard to the EU’s WEEE Directive, and of the answers we typically provide. While we make every effort to keep the information contained accurate and up-to-date, it does not constitute legal advice, nor have any legal effects. The only authorities able to make authoritative statements on the questions below are the courts in each of the EU countries, and in some cases the European Commission and European Court of Justice.

We will update these pages frequently. If you have any comments or questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Scope

I build systems, as opposed to selling discrete products. Am I affected by WEEE?

WEEE applies to any EEE put on the EU market and collected as waste at end of life, as long as it fits into one of the ten categories listed in Annexes 1A and 1B of the Directive. It makes little distinction between products put on a retailer’s shelf and something custom-made for an end customer. Many systems fall under Category 3 (IT and telecommunications equipment).

I make equipment that is sold to the military and/or the government. Am I covered by WEEE?

The WEEE Directive excludes EEE which is connected with the protection of the essential interests of the security of Member States, arms, munitions and war material. The exclusion does not, however, apply to products which are not intended for specifically military purposes.
You are not covered by registration or compliance obligations for equipment sold to military customers using it for military or national security-type purposes. However, if your products are ever sold to any non-military customers or any customers not using them for military or national security-type purposes, those are covered by WEEE.

I have heard that medical devices and monitoring and control instruments are not covered by WEEE. Is this true?

No. These types of EEE are covered by WEEE. But they are currently excluded from RoHS. See our RoHS Frequently Asked Questions.

General issues relating to scope are also addressed on our Scope Guidance page.

Registration

I sell Electronic and Electrical Equipment(EEE). Do I have to register for WEEE in Europe?

  • I have no legal presence in Europe
    Your legal obligations are not defined by your legal presence in the EU or in any particular EU country, but by whether you are the “producer” of equipment put on the EU market. However in practice, in many EU countries the WEEE registration systems are new and have not been set up in such a way as to allow foreign companies (whether European, American, or from anywhere else in the world) to register. There are some exceptions.
  • I sell via distributors/re-sellers
    Someone will be considered the “producer” by Member State enforcement authorities. It is generally understood that the manufacturer is the real producer, but that other companies can be defined as the “producer” for the purposes of compliance with local WEEE law. In many EU countries, US companies are currently unable to register. In such cases, the solution generally preferred by Member States is for your distributors/re-sellers to register on your behalf, since they have a legal presence in that country.
  • I sell directly to businesses
    In the countries that do not allow US company registration, the solution generally preferred by Member States is for your distributors/re-sellers to register on your behalf. But if you sell directly to business customers, they can usually register on your behalf too.
  • I sell directly to consumers
    The WEEE Directive applies to products put on the market in Europe. It may not apply to products that have been sold directly to consumers via a US-based website or a mail order-type service based in the US, and that are not sold to an EU-based subsidiary or intermediary before reaching the end customer.

Can I register for my Europe-wide WEEE obligations in one EU country, or do I have to register in all 27?

Unfortunately there is no single European register for WEEE. Producers must register in all EU countries where EEE is being put on the market – in effect, in every country where you are responsible for the products coming in to Europe. If your distributors/re-sellers sell your products on elsewhere in the EU, someone will have to register in those countries, but then it would probably be your distributor/reseller.

How can I register for WEEE in Europe?

Each Member State manages its own WEEE registration system. You should go through the following process:

Where do I put products on the market in the EU?
1. Check which countries you export into, and check whether they are EU Member States.

2. Decide in which countries you need to register. If you have any doubts, check with the registration authorities in each relevant country, or get in touch with the US Commercial Service in that country (http://www.buyusa.gov/europeanunion/weee.html).

3. Make contact with the registration authorities in the countries where you need to register, and check whether US companies can register.

4. If yes, you may need help to register in the local language, or other practical assistance. You can get help from:

The WEEE registration authority

Distributors/re-sellers

Trade associations

Consultants & Law Firms

The US Commercial Service

Compliance with Other Obligations

Can I join a pan-European collection & recycling scheme?

There is no pan-European collection & recycling scheme. However, you may be able to meet your obligations in a pan-European way. We are aware of solutions being offered by specialist consultancies, whereby, for a single fee, you outsource your WEEE registration, financial guarantees, membership of collective compliance schemes, etc, for all the EU countries in which you operate.

Miscellaneous

I am not completely comfortable with the fees my distributor is charging for WEEE compliance. What is fair?

This is a somewhat subjective judgment; we take the view that the market will decide what is fair. Having said that, we are aware of the potential for illegal price-fixing between large distributors on the market for WEEE compliance services. If you have any evidence that EU distributors are fixing prices for WEEE compliance services, please get in touch with the European Commission.

Country Information

Don't forget! The EU's WEEE and RoHS Directives are implemented in EU countries by national WEEE and RoHS regulations. These vary considerably from country to country. We therefore strongly urge U.S. companies to get further information on WEEE and RoHS in the countries that interest them by clicking here.

Need More?

For further information and assistance, click here.