The Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive (WEEE) Directive applies to electrical and electronic equipment waste and waste collection. It also covers labeling requirements used to indicate separate waste collection.
In this guide, we list examples of products covered by the WEEE Directive. We made the selection based on the product categories listed in the relevant annexes of the directive itself. We also include examples of relevant EN standards.
That said, keep in mind that WEEE covers essentially all electrical and electronic products – not only those listed in this guide.
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What is the WEEE Directive?
The WEEE Directive aims at reducing waste from electrical and electronic equipment (EEE).
Distributors, which are defined as any natural or legal person who makes an EEE available on the market, should make sure to label their products according to the directive and register within the member state authorities where they intend to sell the products.
According to Article 5 of the directive, in some cases, distributors are also responsible to collect the used equipment. For example, in the case of private households that purchase a similar item.
The directive applies to most electrical and electronic equipment such as below:
- Lighting equipment
- Video display
- Photovoltaic panels
- Temperature exchange equipment
- Household appliances
- Electrical toys
- IT and telecommunication equipment
CENELEC has developed several EN standards for the collection, transport, and treatment of waste generated by products covered by the WEEE Directive. We feature some of these standards in the following sections.
General EN Standards for Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment
There are several EN standards concerning wastes from electrical and electronic equipment, which cover requirements such as marking, collection, and treatment. These standards, which are harmonized under the Directive, might cover several categories of products, or refer to electrical and electronic equipment in general.
EN 50614 – Requirements for the preparing for re-use of waste electrical and electronic equipment
EN 50614 covers the preparation for re-use of electrical and electronic equipment listed in Annex I and Annex III of the WEEE Directive, such as lighting products and laptops. EN 50614 acts as a guideline for the preparation processes, including the re-use, recycling, and recovery rates of electrical and electronic equipment. Also, it sets out requirements for electrical and electronic equipment collection and logistics operations.
EN 50625-1 – Collection, logistics & treatment requirements for WEEE – Part 1: General treatment requirements
EN 50625-1 set out the general treatment requirements for most types of electrical and electronic equipment, covering topics such as collection requirements, disposal methods, and hazardous waste management. In addition, the standard provides information about the treatment process for certain product categories, which include the following:
- Flat-panel displays
- Plastic components
- Printed circuit boards
EN 50419 – Marking of electrical and electronic equipment in accordance with WEEE
EN 50419 sets out the marking requirements for electrical and electronic equipment. It explains the essential marking requirements (e.g required information on the label), and additional information, such as the position and dimension requirements.
The WEEE Directive covers lighting equipment, such as lamps and light bulbs. Distributors should comply with the requirements laid down in the directive, including product marking, registration, and collection of covered products. The CENELEC has developed the EN standards for the treatment of lamps as listed below.
EN 50625-2-1 – Collection, logistics, and treatment requirements for WEEE – Part 2-1: Treatment requirements for lamps
EN 50625-2-1 is specifically designed for the treatment of lamps and other lighting equipment. It sets out the technical requirements for lamps in order to facilitate equipment handling, collection, and storage of covered products. It also sets applicable disposal methods.
- LED lightings
- Light bulbs
- Light strips
This product category covers video displays with screens surface greater than 100 square cm, such as televisions and notebook monitors. Equipment with smaller screens is also covered by the directive, under the product category “IT and Telecommunication Equipment”. The CENELEC has established an EN standard for the de-pollution specification of video display equipment.
EN 50625-3-3 – Collection, logistics & treatment requirements for WEEE – Part 3-3: Specification for de-pollution – WEEE containing CRTs and flat panel displays
EN 50625-3-3 applies to equipment that contains cathode-ray tubes (CRTs) and flat panel displays. It sets out the requirements for the collection and de-pollution of covered equipment, including methodologies, general procedure, and sample preparation.
- Computer monitors
- LED displays
- LCD displays
The WEEE Directive covers photovoltaic panels that can be commonly found in many types of equipment, such as solar air conditioners and solar dryers. It also covers photovoltaic panels used in rooftop photovoltaic power stations. The CENELEC has developed a specific EN standard for the treatment requirements for photovoltaic panels.
EN 50625-2-4 – Collection, logistics & treatment requirements for WEEE – Part 2-4: Treatment requirements for photovoltaic panels
EN 50625-2-4 covers photovoltaic panels with a minimum surface area of 20 square cm. The standard focuses on the treatment requirements, including the processes of receiving, handling, and storing the products. In addition, the standard also introduces documentation requirements for photovoltaic panels, such as de-pollution monitoring reports and the establishment of recycling.
- Monocrystalline solar panels
- Polycrystalline solar panels
- Thin-film (amorphous) solar panels
Temperature Exchange Equipment
Temperature exchange equipment is more commonly referred to as cooling and freezing equipment, for example, refrigerators and heat pumps. Such products are covered under the WEEE Directive.
The CENELEC provides an EN standard for the treatment requirements of temperature exchange equipment and other equipment containing volatile fluorocarbons (VFC) and/or volatile hydrocarbons (VHC).
EN 50625-2-3 – Collection, logistics & treatment requirements for WEEE – Part 2-3: Treatment requirements for temperature exchange equipment and other WEEE containing VFC and/or VHC
EN 50625-2-3 specifies the treatment requirements for temperature exchange equipment (e.g refrigerators) and other products containing VFC and/or VHC. The standard sets out requirements such as equipment handling, de-pollution monitoring, and recycling rates.
- Heat pumps
- Fluid temperature exchange devices
- Air conditioners
Most household appliances are covered by the WEEE Directive, for example, dishwashers and cookers. Both large and small household appliances should comply with the requirements set out in the directive, for example, marking and disposal methods.
The CENELEC has developed a standard for the collection, logistics, and treatment requirements for household appliances that contain volatile fluorocarbons (VFC) or volatile hydrocarbons (VHC) as listed below.
EN 50574 – Collection, logistics & treatment requirements for end-of-life household appliances containing volatile fluorocarbons or volatile hydrocarbons
EN 50574 defines the requirements for the end of life handling, transportation, storage, sorting, and treatment household appliances that contain VHC and/or VFC. For example, VHC or VFC should be removed before the recycling process.
- Electric stoves
- Electric heating appliances
The WEEE directive applies to electrical toys, such as electric train toys, or electrical musical toys. Distributors should ensure that their toy products are compliant with the requirements set out in the directive, such as marking and collection requirements.
- Electric trains
- Car racing sets
- Musical toys
- Educational electronic toys
IT and Telecommunication Equipment
Telecommunication equipment, including mobile phones and computers, is covered under the WEEE Directive. The CENELEC does not have EN standards specifically for the waste of IT and telecommunication equipment. However, distributors can still refer to the general requirements of electronic wastes that we outlined above in this article.
- Mobile phones
- GPS devices