Waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE)

Treating and recycling WEEE


If your business treats waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) you must meet all of the following requirements:

  • have a waste management licence, a pollution prevention and control (PPC) permit or an exemption
  • be an authorised treatment facility (ATF) or approved authorised treatment facility (AATF)
  • treat WEEE according to the guidance on best available treatment, recovery and recycling techniques

Licences and exemptions

You can apply for an exemption from waste management licensing if you:

  • repair or refurbish WEEE
  • store WEEE while it is waiting to be treated or recovered elsewhere
  • crush waste gas discharge lamps, for example fluorescent tubes

See repairing, refurbishing and storing WEEE.

If you cannot meet the conditions of an exemption you must have a waste management licence or a PPC permit.

Authorised treatment facilities

WEEE ATFs are licensed to treat WEEE, but they cannot issue evidence notes. Evidence notes can only be issued by an AATF on their behalf.

If you want to issue evidence of receipt of WEEE to a producer compliance scheme you must apply to the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) and be granted approval to become an AATF.

If you are an AATF you must provide quarterly reports to the NIEA showing the amount of WEEE you have:

  • received for treatment
  • sent to a different facility for treatment - including details of the ATF or AATF it was sent to
  • issued evidence for reuse as a whole appliance
  • delivered to an approved exporter for treatment and recovery or recycling outside the United Kingdom

You must comply with the conditions of your approval and make sure that WEEE materials are recovered or recycled to the appropriate targets for each category of WEEE.

You must also provide NIEA with a report from an independent auditor confirming that the evidence notes you issued match up with the amount of WEEE you received for each approval period.

Treatment, recovery and recycling techniques

If you treat WEEE you must use the best available treatment, recovery and recycling techniques (BATRRT). BATRRT guidance.

Recovery and recycling targets for WEEE

Recycling is reprocessing waste materials in a production process for reuse.

Recovery includes activities such as:

  • incineration with energy recovery
  • recovery of metal and metal components
  • recovery of inorganic materials, for example glass and plastic

Collecting, sorting, treating and processing WEEE is not recycling. Evidence from AATFs covering these types of activities does not show that you have met the recovery and recycling requirements.

If you recover and recycle WEEE you must meet targets for the amount of WEEE you recover and recycle. You must include evidence of this in your reports to NIEA.

WEEE recovery and recycling targets

Equipment category Minimum amount recovered by the average weight of the equipment Minimum amount of components, materials and substances reused or recycled by the average weight of the equipment
Large equipment (external dimension > 50cm) 85% 80%
Small equipment (no external dimension >50cm) 85% 80%
Small IT and telecommunications equipment (<50 cm) 75% 55%
Screens monitors and equipment containing screens >100cm2 80% 75%
Gas discharge lamps and LED light sources N/A 80%
Photovoltaic panels 85% 80%