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Waste from Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE)

EU rules on treating waste electrical and electronic equipment to contribute towards a circular economy.


The amount of waste electrical and electronic equipment (widely known as WEEE or e-waste) generated every year in the EU is increasing rapidly. It is now one of the fastest growing waste streams. It includes a large range of devices such as mobile phones, computers, televisions, fridges, household appliances, lamps but also medical devices and photovoltaic panels.

E-waste contains a complex mixture of materials, some of which are hazardous. These can cause major environmental and health problems if the discarded devices are not managed properly. Modern electronics also contain rare and expensive resources, including critical raw materials. These can be recycled and re-used if the waste is effectively managed.

Improving the collection, treatment and recycling of electrical and electronic equipment at the end of their life can increase resource efficiency and support the shift to a circular economy. It can also contribute to the security of supply for critical raw materials, ultimately enhancing the EU’s strategic autonomy.


EU rules address environmental and other issues caused by the growing number of discarded electronics in the EU. The aim is to contribute to sustainable production and consumption by

  • preventing the creation of WEEE as a priority
  • contributing to the efficient use of resources and the retrieval of secondary raw materials through re-use, recycling and other forms of recovery
  • improving the environmental performance of everyone involved in the life cycle of EEE

In the EU

13.5 million tonnes
of electrical and electronic equipment is put on the market
4.9 million tonnes
of e-waste is collected
11 kilogrammes
e-waste is collected per person

The latest figures are from 2021 and can be found on Eurostat.


The WEEE Directive and the RoHS Directive tackle the issue of the growing amount of WEEE.

The WEEE Directive

  • requires the separate collection and proper treatment of WEEE and sets targets for their collection, recovery and recycling
  • helps European countries fight illegal waste exports more effectively by making it harder for exporters to disguise illegal shipments of WEEE
  • reduces the administrative burden by calling for the harmonisation of national EEE registers and of the reporting format


Secondary law

Find out more about the RoHS Directive.


Information about the implementation of the WEEE Directive, including data and reporting and WEEE calculation tools.

Implementation of the WEEE Directive


The Commission is currently evaluating the WEEE Directive. This evaluation will assess whether the Directive is still fit for purpose, explore possibilities to simplify the Directive, and determine whether a review is needed. To gather evidence from the public and from a wide range of stakeholders, the Commission held an online public consultation assisted by a study to support this evaluation. The final report of the study will be made publicly available by September 2024.


Key dates related to the WEEE Directive

  1. October 2023
    Commission adopts policy recommendations for national authorities to increase the return of used and waste mobile phones, tablets and laptops

    Read the recommendations and find out more in the news article

  2. June 2023
    Public consultation on the evaluation of the WEEE Directive
  3. 17 December 2019
    Adoption of Implementing Decision 2019/2193
  4. 19 February 2019
    Adoption of Implementing Regulation 2019/290
  5. 18 April 2017
    Adoption of Implementing regulation 2017/699
  6. 14 February 2014
    New WEEE Directive becomes effective
  7. 13 August 2012
    New WEEE Directive enters into force
  8. February 2003
    First WEEE Directive enters into force

Related links

Main law: WEEE Directive

Entry into force: 13 August 2012

Related topics:  Chemicals Circular economy Restriction of hazardous substances in EEE (RoHS) Waste and recycling Critical Raw Materials

Related strategies: Circular economy action plan

Related Commission priorities: European Green Deal


For questions about EU environmental policy, please contact Europe Direct.

For questions on WEEE implementation or enforcement, please contact Member State authorities or the European WEEE Registers Network (EWRN).

To purchase European Standards, please contact the national members of the European Standardization Organisations.

Contact the relevant European Standardization Organisation CENELEC.