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.
EU rules on WEEE aim to contribute to sustainable production and consumption. They address environmental and other issues caused by the growing number of discarded electronics in the EU.
Waste from electrical and electronic equipment includes a large range of devices such as computers, fridges and mobile phones at the end of their life.
This type of 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. In addition, modern electronics contain rare and expensive resources, which can be recycled and re-used if the waste is effectively managed.
Improving the collection, treatment and recycling of electrical and electronic equipment (EEE) at the end of their life can
- improve sustainable production and consumption
- increase resource efficiency
- contribute to the circular economy
The EU has introduced the WEEE Directive and the RoHS Directive to tackle the issue of the growing amount of WEEE.
The WEEE Directive aims to contribute to sustainable production and consumption by
- preventing the creation of WEEE as a first 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 order to achieve these objectives, the Directive
- requires the separate collection and proper treatment of WEEE and sets targets for their collection as well as for their 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
- Implementing regulation on acommon calculation methodologyfor the weight of EEE placed on national markets and the quantity of WEEE generated
- Implementing regulation establishing a harmonised format for registration and reporting of producers to the national registers
- Implementing decision laying down common rules for data calculation, verification and reporting and establishing data formats
Information about the implementation of the WEEE Directive, including data and reporting and WEEE calculation tools.
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 will hold several consultations over the coming months, assisted by a study to support this evaluation.
A call for evidence is open for feedback until 3 November 2022, and an open public consultation is planned for the first quarter of 2023.
- 17 December 2019Adoption of Implementing Decision 2019/2193
- 19 February 2019Adoption of Implementing Regulation 2019/290
- 18 April 2017Adoption of Implementing regulation 2017/699
- 14 February 2014New WEEE Directive becomes effective
- 13 August 2012New WEEE Directive enters into force
- February 2003First WEEE Directive enters into force
- Study on options for return schemes of mobile phones, tablets and other small electrical and electronic equipment in the EU
- Final report of the "Study on quality standards for the treatment of waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE)
- Frequently Asked Questions on the WEEE Directive
- Final report of the WEEE compliance promotion exercise
- Study on the implementation of product design requirementsset out in Article 4 of the WEEE Directive – The case of re-usability of printer cartridge"
- Study on the harmonisation of the format for registration and reporting of producers of EEE to the national register and on the frequency of reporting
- Study on WEEE recovery targets, preparation for re-use targets and on the method for the calculation of the recovery targets
- Study on WEEE collection rates
- Review of WEEE Directive scope
- Report on equivalent conditions for WEEE recycling operations taking place outside the EU
- Study on photovoltaic panels
- Study on RoHS/WEEE simplification
- Study on the producer responsibility principle of the WEEE Directive
- 2008 review of the WEEE Directive and annexes
- WEEE Directive implementation in the EU25
- Impact assessment on the proposed Directive on waste electrical and electronic equipment
- Summary of the impact assessment on WEEE
Main law: WEEE Directive
Entry into force: 13 August 2012
Related topics: ChemicalsCircular economyRestriction of hazardous substances in EEE (RoHS) Waste and recycling
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.