The Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Regulations apply to finished products. They do not apply to most spare parts, sub-assemblies and components.
How the WEEE Regulations define a finished product
A finished product is a device or piece of equipment that:
- an end user can operate with only simple adjustments or connections
- has its own enclosure and, if applicable, ports and connections intended for end users
However, deciding whether a product is a finished product is not always straightforward. For instance, not all finished products need their own enclosure. Examples of products covered by WEEE include the following:
- Communication leads or power leads fall within the definition of electrical and electronic equipment (EEE) and could be considered to fall within the scope of WEEE category 3.
- A computer keyboard, mouse and screen are considered finished products in their own right, despite technically being components of a computer system - each fall within the definition of EEE and fall into WEEE category 3.
- A cordless drill's battery pack and charger fall within the definition of EEE, but on their own they do not appear to fall into any of the 10 WEEE categories and so are outside the scope of the WEEE Regulations. However, because their primary function is to enable a cordless drill to work properly, when placed on the market or discarded as WEEE together with the cordless drill, they fall into the host item's WEEE category 6. Therefore, they are not considered to be a final product on their own, only when alongside the cordless drill.
If your product is a finished product, you must check that it falls under one of the ten equipment categories - see how to check product categories.
If it is not a finished product, check if it is a spare part, sub-assembly or component.
Spare parts aren't products in their own right but items provided to repair other products after they have been put on the market. If you put a repaired product on the UK market without changing its original performance, purpose or type, it won't fall within the scope of the WEEE Regulations because it's not a new product.
If you add a spare part to a product to modify its original purpose, performance or type, it may be considered a new product. If you then put it on the market in the UK, it may fall within the scope of the WEEE Regulations.
Sub-assemblies are packages of components assembled into individual units, for example:
- populated mother boards
- light sensors and control units used in a street light
- display panels in hand-held gas monitors
If your product is a sub-assembly, it does not fall within the scope of the WEEE Regulations.
Components are the separate items that must be assembled to enable a finished product to work. They are not finished products in themselves. Examples include:
- resistors, transistors, capacitors and diodes
- internal wiring
- simple switches
If you produce components and place them on the market as separate items, they are outside the scope of the WEEE Regulations. However, components included as part of a finished product that's placed on the market or discarded are covered by the WEEE Regulations.
The next step
If your products are covered by the WEEE Regulations, see complying with WEEE producer responsibilities. If you're unsure whether your products are covered, contact the NIEA WEEE Helpline on Tel 028 9056 9387 for advice.
If you believe that your product is outside the scope of the WEEE Regulations, it is highly recommended that you keep relevant documentation to explain your decision - see what to do if the WEEE Regulations don't apply.