WEEE & Branded Housewares Ltd


Manufacturers of brand new home appliances must comply with the WEEE directive from the European Union.

The title of this directive refers to the waste recycling of electrical and electronic equipment (EEE). When the appliances reach the end of their useful lives they are termed used electrical and electronic equipment (UEEE), and when disposed of they become waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE).

Disposal of WEEE is covered by the European Union’s WEEE Directive. This was introduced into UK law in 2007 by the Waste Electronic and Electrical Equipment Regulations 2006. The main aim of the Directive is to reduce the amount of electrical and electronic waste and to encourage everyone to reuse, recycle and recover it.

Manufacturers must provide information on how to dismantle and dispose of their products when they come to the end of their life, and mark them accordingly. They finance the cost of treating and recovering the types of products that they produce through registered compliance schemes.

In 2011 large domestic appliances such as washing machines, fridge-freezers and dishwashers accounted for 29% of the total WEEE collected by tonnage. Small home appliances such as kettles, vacuum cleaners, hairdryers and food mixers accounted for a further 6%. Thus, in total, domestic appliances accounted for approximately one third of all WEEE collected.

The WEEE is divided into various forms of waste for safe disposal and, increasingly, to be recycled into new products.

What electrical items can be recycled? Almost all electrical items with a plug or a battery can be recycled, including the following:

  • Large household appliances like fridges, freezers, microwaves, dishwashers and washing machines.
  • Smaller household appliances like irons, toasters, kettles and vacuum cleaners.
  • TV and communication equipment like computers, laptops, fax machines, printers and smartphones.
  • Audio, audio-visual and other entertainment equipment e.g. games consoles, mp3 players, TV’s stereos, and DVD players.
  • Power tools such as saws, drills, lawnmowers and sewing machines.
  • Personal grooming items such as electric razors, shavers, hairdryers, straighteners and curling tongs.

Recycling includes sorting used products or waste products or equipment into those items which can be repaired and those that cannot be repaired. Once sorted the products which can be repaired may be refurbished and re-packaged whilst some items are dismantle and the rest can be reused as parts. The remainder will then be scrapped by sending to licensed scrap processing companies.