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.
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).
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.
No. These types of EEE are covered by WEEE. But they are currently excluded from RoHS.
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.
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:
1. The WEEE registration authority
3. Trade associations
4. Consultants & Law Firms
5. The US Commercial Service
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.
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.
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.