Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Regulations 2006

Introduction and Background

The Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Regulations became UK law on Sunday 1st July 2007. Its aim is to minimise the impact of electrical and electronic goods on the environment by increasing the amount of WEEE re-use and recycling and reducing the amount of WEEE going to landfill. 

The WEEE Regulations apply to electrical and electronic equipment (EEE) which falls into ten (10) product categories listed in the WEEE Directive. Full details of the categories of equipment captured by the Regulations can be found at: http://www.bis.gov.uk/weee

In brief the categories include the following:

  • IT and telecommunications equipment
  • Audio visual equipment
  • White goods (fridges, washing machines etc)
  • Laboratory equipment
  • Leisure and sports equipment
  • Monitoring equipment

Captured within these broad categories are the following:

  • Lighting equipment (e.g. Fluorescent tubes etc) 
  • Electrical and electronic tools (e.g. Drills. Saws, electric lawnmowers)
  • Monitoring and control equipment (e.g. Smoke detectors, thermostats)

The WEEE Regulations seek to make the producers of waste responsible for the collection, treatment and recovery of waste electrical equipment, but the Regulations also place responsibilities on end-users (that is the University and its employees) to ensure that any waste electrical and electronic equipment is recovered, recycled and disposed of in accordance and compliance with the Regulations.

 

 Purpose of these Guidelines

The WEEE Regulations do not only have an impact on the decision on how to dispose of waste electrical and electronic equipment, they also have an impact on the procurement/purchase of the electrical and electronic equipment. 

This is because some suppliers will have schemes whereby the supplier will collect and dispose of the WEEE in compliance with the Regulations. There will naturally be a cost associated with this and the purpose of this Guidance Note is to alert colleagues that may be involved in the procurement process of the questions that should be asked and decisions that need to be made when purchasing EEE. 

The Guidance Note also highlights the process that should be undertaken when disposing of WEEE.

 

 Status of the Regulations (July 2007)

The Regulations came into force (as noted above) on 1st July 2007. 

The interpretation and application of the Regulations is still under development and hence further guidance will need to be issued in due course.

 

 Disposal of Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment

It is key to note that WEEE must not be disposed of through “normal” waste streams – that is WEEE must not be placed in a “standard” skip or disposed of with standard waste. 

The University has made arrangements with Stone Group an organisation that is fully licensed and approved for the disposal of WEEE. Further details on this scheme can be found at: http://www.stonegroup.co.uk/services--support/professional-services/recycling/recycling-collection-request.aspx  

Stone Group deal predominantly with the collection and disposal of IT equipment that constitutes WEEE but can also deal with audio visual equipment. 

For equipment such as white goods (fridges, freezers, washing machines etc) and electrical consumables such as fluorescent tubes etc the existing waste streams and arrangements that are in place should continue to be used until you are advised otherwise. 

If you have WEEE that you need to dispose of but you are not sure how to proceed please use one of the contact points below – we will do our best to advise but please be aware of the fact that we may not be able to provide advice immediately. In these circumstances we will ask you to retain and store the WEEE safely and get back to you with advice as soon as we are able. 

Where WEEE is to be disposed of by Contractors/Principal Contractors as part of a construction project/contract, it is essential that an obligation to comply with the Regulations is included in the contract and that the Contractors/Principal Contractors demonstrate and provide evidence that the WEEE has been disposed of in compliance with the Regulations.

 

 Procurement/Purchasing of Electrical and Electronic Equipment

As noted previously some suppliers will have schemes whereby they will collect, treat, recover and recycle WEEE that they have produced or supplied. The cost of administering and undertaking this scheme will be either built into the price of the EEE or will be shown as an additional charge. 

It is therefore important to determine when making the purchasing decision whether the University/School/Department will take care of the disposal of the EEE when it becomes waste, or whether the cost will be or has been incurred at the point of purchase. 

If the cost has been incurred at point of purchase then it is essential that the School/Department makes a record of the date of purchase, the serial number and description of the equipment purchased (including any model numbers) and (essentially) the name and contact details of the supplier. It is also recommended that the Goods Received Note and a copy of the invoice is retained (though scanned copies of the invoice will be held in the normal manner by the Finance Office). This is to ensure that the supplier can be contacted when the EEE becomes waste to collect the WEEE (and the University will have paid for this service as illustrated above). 

If these records are not maintained the supplier may claim that the cost of compliant disposal has not been paid and the School/Department will incur further disposal costs. 

Where (EEE) is to be procured within the scope or under the provisions of a construction project/contract a decision will need to be made as to whether the University/School/Department will take care of the disposal of the EEE when it becomes waste, or whether the cost will be incurred at the point of purchase and the supplier/subcontractor to the Principal Contractor obliged to dispose of the WEEE under its compliant disposal scheme. Whichever option is to be applied must be communicated to the Contractor/Principal Contractor and, where a contractual commitment needs to be secured to ensure that the Contractor/Principal Contractor obtains and provides the information referred to above, the necessary obligations must be included in the construction contract.

 

 How to find out if WEEE compliant Disposal Costs have been included

 

Purchases from University Approved Suppliers using Framework Agreements

The University is working with its Approved Suppliers that have Framework Agreements to establish whether the Approved Suppliers have disposal schemes and how they will present the costs associated with disposal. Further details will be provided and published as soon as they are available but in the interim you should proceed on the basis that the Approved Suppliers do not have disposal schemes and therefore the University will be responsible for disposal. 

Please note therefore that there will be a cost to be borne by the School/Department when disposing of the EEE at the end of its useful life and that such disposal will need to be undertaken using University Approved Suppliers. Work is already in progress to put in place agreements with suitable suppliers (such as SecureIT) that are able to dispose of WEEE in accordance with the Regulations.

 

Purchases from Other Suppliers

Electrical and Electronic Equipment is clearly purchased from a broad range of suppliers that do not have Framework Agreements with the University. Where the value of the purchase exceeds £25k or the purchase is otherwise processed in partnership with the Procurement Division, the Procurement Team members are aware of the need to ensure that the provisions related to the disposal of the EEE are captured in the Contract. Colleagues will be advised of the content of the Contract and of any action that needs to be taken. 

For purchases of EEE below £25k, and where colleagues are involved in sourcing activities for purchases of EEE in excess of £25k, it is important to endeavour to establish whether the supplier has a disposal scheme and where the costs of disposal are captured. 

You should therefore ask/seek information as to whether:

  • the supplier has a WEEE Regulations compliant disposal scheme for WEEE
  • the amount that is included in the price to cover the cost of disposal of the EEE that you wish to purchase in compliance with the Regulations under the scheme; or
  • the amount that will be shown separately for disposal of the EEE that you wish to purchase in compliance with the Regulations under the scheme.

If the supplier advises that there is no additional charge/amount included or that applies (that is compliant disposal is included in the price) then providing that the price is competitive (and being compared on an equitable basis with other suppliers) then the purchase can proceed. 

The ideal option is to identify the WEEE compliant disposal price/charge as a separate line item wherever possible. 

If a decision is made to proceed with the supplier’s scheme then the details mentioned previously (the date of purchase, the serial number and description of the equipment purchased (including any model numbers) and the name and contact details of the supplier) must be recorded. 

It is possible to “opt out” of the disposal scheme offered/provided by the supplier – in these circumstances the School/Department will be responsible for compliant disposal through the University’s own compliant scheme (a compliant scheme can only be operated at University level – it is not permitted for schemes to be set up by Schools or Departments) and the School/Department will be responsible for meeting the cost of disposal. The only University compliant scheme available to you is the SecureIT scheme referred to previously in this document. 

The Stone Group scheme complies with all relevant duty of care liabilities and due diligence responsibilities of the University and the Budget Centre/Department in regard to disposing of the WEEE, including Data Protection compliance, Hazardous Waste Regulations, Public Liability Insurances and environmental legislation and policies, etc. In addition Stone Group will not only dispose of IT equipment – they can deal with all kinds of WEEE in a compliant manner. 

Schools/Departments must budget for the cost of disposing of EEE when it becomes WEEE unless a supplier’s compliant scheme is used and payment is made at the time of purchasing the EEE. 

You should consider when making your purchasing decision whether the supplier that you have selected will be in a position to dispose of the EEE at the end of its useful life (when it becomes WEEE). If a supplier goes into liquidation or is affected by bankruptcy, the supplier will not be available to dispose of the WEEE and in these circumstances the additional costs of compliant disposal will have to be met by the School/Department using the University’s compliant scheme. 

Procurement of EEE as part of a Construction Project/Contract 
Where EEE is to be procured from/supplied by a Contractor/Principal Contractor as part of a construction project/contract the University must determine at the outset whether it wishes to dispose of the EEE procured for the project when it becomes WEEE by means of its own compliant scheme or by means of using a compliant scheme operated by the Contractor’s/Principal Contractor’s sub-contractor. 

If the option to dispose of the EEE when it becomes WEEE by means of the Principal Contractor’s sub-contractor’s scheme is selected or the University is obliged to accept disposal by this means, it is essential that an obligation is included in the contract with the Contractor/Principal Contractor to the effect that the Contractor/Principal Contractors must provide and procure (by means of the inclusion of obligations in its sub-contracts) that its sub-contractors will provide the information referred to under the “Purchases from Other Suppliers” heading above.

 Conclusions

As noted previously work is still in progress on the interpretation and application of the WEEE Regulations and further, updated guidance will be issued in due course.

 

 Contact Points

If you have any questions about WEEE and how to dispose of WEEE please contact: wasteadvice@contacts.bham.ac.uk  

If you have any questions about the procurement of EEE please contact the Procurement Team: procurement@bham.ac.uk