What does WEEE mean?

Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) is regulated by the UK Government to reduce the amount of unwanted electricals that are incinerated or sent to landfill sites.

black line graphic of a wheelie bin with a cross through it against a light pink background.

What are WEEE regulations?

The Government sets annual targets for the recycling of all waste electricals – to ensure UK companies are WEEE compliant. If electrical appliance producers don’t meet those targets then they pay a compliance fee to contribute financially towards a fund – the WEEE Fund.

During 2017 and 2018, this fund collected £10.6 million. The money goes towards a range of activities to improve the WEEE system as a whole. These include research, communications and behaviour change activities, and adding additional recycling points across the UK.

Ultimately, the aim of the WEEE Fund is to support actions that will help the UK increase recycling and reuse of old and unwanted electricals.

The crossed-out wheelie bin is the WEEE symbol.

All electricals come under WEEE regulations

All electricals must be recycled under the WEEE Regulations – anything with a plug, battery or cable. WEEE waste includes:

  • Large household appliances like white goods.
  • Small household appliances like kettles, electric toothbrushes.
  • Telecoms, IT and smart devices like phones, smart watches.
  • Audio and Audiovisual equipment like TVs, remotes.
  • Lighting equipment.
  • Electrical and electronic power tools like drills, garden tools.
  • Toys, leisure and sports equipment including gaming consoles.
  • Medical devices.
  • Monitoring and control instruments like smoke detectors.
  • Automatic dispensers like cash and drinks machines.
a light skinned hand holding a plug in the air, dark skinned hand holding a battery up in the air a light skinned hand holding a mass of cables up in the air all on a pink background
A light skinned man holding a see through plastic box full of electrical goods with a green recycle logo on the front against a pink background.

Who contributes to the WEEE fund?

The WEEE Fund is generated through a Compliance Fee paid by producers of electrical appliances who don’t meet their Government recycling targets. Producers can be:

  • Companies who manufacture and sell electricals under their own brand in the UK.
  • Companies who resell equipment made by someone else under their own brand in the UK.
  • Companies who import electricals on a commercial basis into the UK.
  • Companies who are established outside the UK and supply electricals directly to the UK market by distance selling (for example online, mail order, by phone).

How is Material Focus connected to the WEEE Fund?

The Material Focus is the new name for the WEEE Fund. It was born from the funds generated through the WEEE regulations. We’re a not-for-profit organisation with a mission to stop all precious materials from being wasted.

We’ve launched the new UK-wide Recycle Your Electricals campaign to get the nation reusing and recycling their unwanted electricals – instead of binning or hoarding them. We also fund technical research into recycling, increasing recycling points, and provide practical information on how households can recycle.

Material Focus logo

Find out more about WEEE regulations

If you’re a producer of electricals, or looking for a more detailed overview of the WEEE system you can read the UK Government guidance here. Or access the full Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Regulations 2013.

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