Background to the WEEE Regulations
The UK currently produces 1 million tonnes of waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) each year, a figure thgat could double over the next 15 years.
WEEE is one of the fastest growing waste areas and is increasing at a rate three times that of average municipal waste growth.
The increase in WEEE is caused by factors such as the general increase in use of electronic and electrical equipment, frequent upgrading of equipment and, in some cases, the high cost of repair compared to the purchase of new equipment.
Disposal of WEEE represents the loss of valuable resources, in particular metals and plastics. If these were to be recycled it would not only divert the waste from disposal but would also reduce the need to use virgin raw materials.
A number of environmental concerns have been identified which arise from the production and disposal of EEE. To address these, the WEEE Directive was introduced on the 27th January 2003 (2002/96/EC), and amended on 8th December 2003 (2003/108/EC).
The UK Regulation on WEEE was passed by parliament and became Law on 1st January 2007.
The Regulations aim to prevent the production and disposal of WEEE, largely through the introduction of reuse and recycling targets. It also aims to improve the environmental performance of all operators involved in the life cycle of EEE. In particular, considerable obligations will be imposed on 'producers'.
A producer is defined as a person who either:
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