Electric and electronic equipment producers and distributors

This page outlines the definition of, and obligations on producers and distributors of electric and electronic equipment.

Last Updated: 13/12/2023

EEE producers

You are a producer under the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Directive if you:

  • manufacture and sell Electrical and Electronic Equipment (EEE) under your own brand
  • resell equipment produced by other suppliers under your own brand
  • import EEE on a professional basis into a European Union (EU) Member State

What are the obligations on producers?

Producers of WEEE must join a Producer Compliance Scheme that has been approved by us and supply quarterly on EEE placed on the market by them.

The regulations apply to all producers whatever their turnover, market share or number of employees. Businesses that only place non-household EEE on the UK market must still join a Compliance Scheme.

The annual compliance period for WEEE is 1 January to 31 December each year. Producers must apply to join a compliance scheme on or before 15 October in the year previous to the next compliance period. Where a producer puts EEE on the market after this date, the Producer must join a scheme within 28 days of first intending to put EEE on the market within the UK. To register, producers need to fill out a form and pay a fee.

Since 1 April 2007, producers have had to mark EEE with a crossed out wheeled bin symbol, a producer identifier mark and a date mark.

You can view a list of registered producers in the UK using the below link. You will find Northern Ireland based producers by doing a search using address or postcode. The list is periodically be updated.

Producer compliance schemes

When a producer joins a compliance scheme they will be asked for data on the types and quantity of EEE placed on the UK market during the relevant compliance periods.

The information on household EEE will enable us to calculate that producer's market share, and in turn, the market share of the chosen Producer Compliance Scheme. We will also receive quarterly reports from the Schemes to confirm how much WEEE has been collected from Designated Collection Facilities (mostly council civic amenity sites) and how much new EEE has been placed on the market. This data will be used to calculate each Scheme's financial responsibility for treating and recycling household WEEE.

Producer Compliance Schemes have been able apply for approval since 2 January 2007. Some scheme operators only want to cover non-household EEE and others may seek producers from a particular sector, and there are likely to be several that will be open to any producer. The environment agencies have up to 28 days from receipt of an application to determine it.

At the end of each compliance period, Producer Compliance Schemes will need to provide evidence to us to show that they have met their treatment and recycling obligations. The evidence will come from Approved Authorised Treatment Facilities (AATFs) and Approved Exporters (AEs) of WEEE.

EEE distributors

You are a distributor under the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Directive, regardless of how you sell Electrical and Electronic Equipment (EEE), if you are:

  • a retailer of EEE
  • a wholesaler of EEE

What are the obligations on distributors?

If distributors are selling EEE to the public, they will have to ensure that their customers can return their WEEE free of charge. This will be on a one-for-one basis, as long as the new equipment is of similar type and has the same function as the old equipment.

Private householders will be able to return their WEEE to retailers who offer in-store take-back. Retailers will be able to set up alternative collection systems as long as they are still convenient for customers.

The WEEE regulations allow a Distributor Takeback Scheme (DTS) to be created. This is an alternative to in-store take-back for retailers and other distributors who join. It is largely based on the existing network of local authority civic amenity sites known as Designated Collection Facilities (DCFs).

Valpak Retail WEEE Services have been appointed by the Department for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS) to operate the DTS.

Retailers and other distributors that join are required to contribute to a fund that will pay for a network of DCFs. These retailers will not have to offer in-store take-back of WEEE but will direct consumers to the nearest DCF.

Distributors will also have to ask producers for their unique producer number when they supply EEE. This number will prove that the producer has joined an approved compliance scheme and is helping fund the treatment and recycling of separately collected household WEEE.

The Department for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS) carries out the enforcement activities in relation to in-store take back and the DTS.

Vape retailers can find advice on how they should comply with their distributor obligations in accordance with the WEEE regulations with this guidance video:

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