FAQs for the Country Specific Application of WEEE & RoHS Directives in Spain
The Department of Commerce does not take any responsibility for actions companies may take based on the information contained herein. This is not legal advice.
1. Does Spain have national legislation regarding Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive (WEEE) and Restriction of Use of Certain Hazardous Substances Directive (RoHS)?
Yes. On February 25, 2005, The Spanish Ministry of Environment adopted Royal Decree 208/2005, concerning the management of discarded electric and electronic products. It translates into national legislation Directive 2002/96/EC, as amended by Directive 2003/108/EC on waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) and Directive 2002/95/EC on hazardous substance restrictions in electronic equipment (RoHS).
2. Who are the producers of electrical and electronic equipment?
Producers of this type of equipment are those individuals or legal entities who manufacture and sell electrical and electronic equipment under their own brand, who put equipment manufactured by third parties on the market under their own brand and who import from or export to other countries.
Distributors shall not be considered to be producers if the brand of the producer appears on the equipment and the owner of that brand is registered on a state level in the special section of the Register of Industrial Establishments.
3. Who does the legislation apply to? Must producers register with the Spanish registration authority?
The legislation applies to manufacturers, importers, distributors (See 2 above for exceptions) and users of all categories of electric and electronic equipment listed in Annex 1 of Royal Decree 208/2005. Refer below to FAQ question 8 to see affected product categories.
All producers of EEE must be registered with the National Register of Industrial Establishments, which does not eliminate the parallel obligation of registering at the regional level, where registers also already exist. This procedure will provide the producer with a registration number that will have to appear on all their different bills.
In some cases, if the producer decides to participate in a collection scheme association, it might be this same association that will register for all its members. Otherwise, each company will have to register individually.
The Spanish Registration Authority divides producers into two different categories:
1. Manufacturers and importers who have legal presence in Spain, who have to register to declare their condition of producers.
2. Manufacturers and importers without legal presence in Spain, who have to find a Spanish legal representative so that they can register with the Spanish authority.
4. Individual registration or through Joint Collection Schemes?
Producers that have to register and declare that they are producers through a joint collection scheme (JCS) will have to go through different registration procedures than those that do not go through JCS.
Producers that participate in a JCS:
National Level Register: Some JCSs offer the possibility of registering members on their behalf. Producers should confirm if the JCS where they are members have registered them or not. If not, the producer has to register directly through the Ministry of Industry web site (only available in Spanish: RAEE)
The producers also will have to ensure that they are registered both in the regional register where they are established or where their legal reps are located.
Those companies that do not register through a JCS will have to register in the Spanish registry in the Ministry of Industry through its Spanish language official site (see above). They will also need to register at the regional level. Additionally they will need to include the documentation to prove that they have an individual waste management system in place, as well as information about the financing warranty of such management system as per R.D. 208/2005, article 7.5. The producer will have to register its individual waste management system in all the regions where they intend to sell its EEE products and become WEEE.
5. Who is the national registration authority in Spain?
The registering authority is the National Register of Industrial Establishments in the Ministry of Industry, which is up and running as of December 31, 2005.
In Spain, a parallel obligation to register at the regional level exists. Regarding WEEE, producers must contact the officials in each region in which they operate.
The entire registration process is free of charge.
6. Who has to use the electronic signature?
All companies using integrated management systems need an electronic signature, and also all those that have more than 100 employees.
7. Will companies be able to update the information once it has been submitted?
When the producer has made a mistake or has not given accurate information about a specific quarter it can correct the mistake in following quarters. Note that the deadline for any update will be the first quarter of the year following the quarter that needs to be updated.
8. Which products are covered by Royal Decree 208/2005?
Below are the ten product categories specifically named:
1. Large household appliances (e.g.: refrigerators, washing machines, microwaves)
2. Small household appliances (e.g.: vacuum cleaners, toasters, coffee machines)
3. IT and Telecom equipment (e.g.: PCs, printers, cellular phones)
4. Consumer equipment (e.g.: radios, TVs, videos)
5. Lighting equipment
6. Electrical and electronic tools (e.g.: saws, drills, sewing machines)*1
7. Toys, leisure and sports equipment (e.g.: electric trains, video games)
8. Medical equipment (e.g.: cardiology, dialysis)*2
9. Monitoring and control instruments (e.g.: smoke detectors, heating regulators)
10. Automatic dispensers (e.g.: for drinks)
A complete list of the affected products in each category can be found in Spanish language in Annex I of the Decree.
*1. Except large-scale stationary, industrial tools.
*2. Except those that are implanted or infected, and therefore disposed in a different manner.
9. How about B2B products? What are the responsibilities of the producers of B2B products?
Products that fall into the B2B category may be affected by the WEEE directive, depending on what type of product they are. Excluded from the requirements set out by the Decree is equipment not considered to be a finished product; that is, equipment that is a component of another type of equipment. Examples of such would be permanent controls and gauges, lifts, and car radios.
Large-scale stationary industrial tools are specifically excluded from the WEEE disposal requirements. Additionally, they must not be intended to be placed on the market as an independently functional or commercial unit. Whether the equipment is fixed or not is the key differentiating factor between those affected and not affected under this provision.
Equipment that is not considered to be a product, but that is intended solely for military purposes, is not affected by the WEEE requirements.
10. Are there any joint or individual collection schemes, which companies can participate in?
Producers may fulfill their WEEE management, collection and treatment obligations individually or through a collection scheme. Regional authorities, in the regions in which the company operates, must authorize the collective schemes. The applications for authorization must include the territorial scope, the name and address of the organization which will be managing the operation, the points of collection and the manager of each, the means of financing the project, and the procedures for providing information to public authorities. The authorizations will then be granted for a five-year period, on a renewable basis.
11. How does the return system work in Spain? Who is responsible for what?
In most cases, the return of goods will be at no cost to the product’s final owner. There are several ways to dispose of WEEE.
The consumer may return the WEEE to a distributor from whom they are buying an equivalent or replacement product, or may drop it off at an authorized location. A distributor must receive the item and store it until it can be processed correctly, by means of scheduled collections, by the item’s producer or their representative organization.
Local authorities in municipalities with more than 5000 people will also be responsible for collecting WEEE from households and storing it until it is collected for sorting and treatment by producers or their collective organization. A municipality with less than 5000 inhabitants will adhere to the collection standards set by the respective autonomous region.
In most cases, the WEEE producer will bear the cost and responsibility of the collection, treatment, and final disposal of the item and will have to provide reuse and treatment information to the treatment centers within one year for each type of new EEE they put on the market.
12. What does “put on the market” mean?
To “put on the market” is not specifically mentioned in Royal Decree 208/2005. However, as described by the EU Commission it is: the initial action of making a product available, for the first time, in the Community market, with a view to distribute or use in the Community. “Making available” can be either for a fee or free of charge.
13. When does the ROHS Directive start to go into full effect? Which Hazardous substances will be banned?
The ROHS Directive went into full effect on July 1, 2006, and entails the ban on the use the following substances: Lead, Mercury, Hexavalent Chromium, Cadmium, Polybrominated Biphenyls (PBBS) and Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers (PBDES). Companies will be forced to make their products (the same range of products affected by the WEEE Directive with some exceptions) with substitute materials.
14. Which organizations can provide expert information and guidance on the new legislation?
The US Commercial Service Spain can provide additional customized information regarding WEEE and RoHS and the application of Royal Decree 208/2005 in Spain, through USCS customized market research programs for U.S. clients. Please contact Carmen Adrada for further information on US Commercial Service programs.
Spain’s Ministry of Industry may also be of assistance in providing updated information on the new WEEE directive. It can be contacted through the following: Ilm Sr D. Antonio Muñoz Muñoz, phone: +34 913 494 135, fax: +34 916 494 300. Additional information is available on the Ministry’s web site
Several organizations exist that may also offer assistance interpreting the Decree:
(ECOLEC Foundation: The aim of the ECOLEC Foundation is to be a leader in the management of waste electrical and electronic equipment and to be the most important collective funding system for waste management in Spain.)
Paseo de la Castellana 91, 3
Tel: (+34) 902-999-561
Fax: (+34) 91-297 54 97
* Note: Ecolec Foundation’s website is available in English and provides detailed information on the WEEE Decree and its implementation, in particular under its FAQ section.
(ECOTIC Foundation: ECOTIC’s objective is to protect the environment through the establishment and management of collection, treatment and control for ITT electronic equipment at the end of the product's life.)
Avenida Sarria, 28-1,1
Tel: (+34) 93 - 419 40 48
Fax: (+34) 93 - 419 45 67