Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment – WEEE
Restriction of the use of Hazardous Substances – ROHS.

27th January 2003 – the European Parliament and the Council of the European United
adopted the following

  • Directive 2002/95/EC on the restriction of the use of certain hazardous substances in electrical and electronic equipment (ROHS)
    This Directive was introduced into U.K. legislation 7th October 2005 and took effect from 1st July 2006.
  • Directive 2002/96/EC on Waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE)
    This Directive was introduced into U.K. legislation on 1st January 2007. and takes effect from 1st July 2007.

will take you to the Government WEEE site that will provide detail of the legislation and the subsequent Guidance Notes. Note in particular the links in the right hand column of this DTI page.

Manufacturers and Suppliers of Electrical and Electronic Equipment in the U.K. will have to take their own judgements on how they propose to address this legislation.

Major manufacturers of Industrial Cleaning Machines in Continental Europe have adopted a common strategic position through their Association, EUnited.

Details of the EUnited ‘position’ statements and the reasoning supporting the position is here BUT in this ‘position statement’ it is clearly accepted that certain pressure washers designed for household use and distributed through conventional retail channels come within the WEEE Regulations – it is up to the manufacturers/distributors of this type of pressure washer to determine which go through B2C channels and which go through B2B channels and record their returns accordingly.

Similarly with single motor tub vacs and upright vacuum cleaners – these products will require participation in WEEE reporting procedures, but the determination of quantities going through B2C and B2B channels will rest with the manufacturer/distributor.

Vacuum cleaners that are Industrial in design and distributed through exclusively Industrial channels are not considered products that come within the WEEE Directive.

Vacuum Cleaners with twin motors, 3 phase, designed for use with ‘hazardous’ substances are considered to be within this Industrial category and not covered by WEEE.

It is the view of EUnited that all other Industrial Cleaning Machines are outside the Scope of WEEE.

I.C.M.M.A., which has within its membership, the U.K. trading subsidiaries of most major Continental Manufacturers are committed to supporting the EUnited position as far as U.K. Law allows.

I.C.M.M.A. Members are aware of correspondence from Malcolm Wicks, the Minister for Science, with responsibility for WEEE in the U.K.

Extracting the key paragraphs from this correspondence
“One of the major problems arising out of the Scope discussion has been a general misunderstanding that the Directive only applied to products and equipment for household use. The Directive does distinguish between equipment used in households and that used on a commercial basis, but it does so as differing financial obligations are applied to those placing such equipment on the market.

It has been made clear, both in the Commission meetings on the Directive in Brussels that DTI officials have attended and in the Commission’s own guidance (most recently revised in August 2006) that equipment for professional use is covered with the Scope”

It should be noted here that I.C.M.M.A. correspondence to the Minister alluded to the idea that industrial machines are excluded from Scope in Denmark, Germany and Italy – pushing the EUnited position statement to its limit.

The Minister commented on the proposition as follows:

“I am surprised in the claim that Industrial machines are not included in the Scope of the WEEE legislation of Denmark, Germany and Italy. If that were to be the case, it would be our view that these countries had not transposed the Directive properly but that would be a ruling for the Commission and, ultimately, the European Court of Justice to decide.”

It should also be noted that earlier correspondence between I.C.M.M.A. and the DTI elicited a response that indicated that:-
“DTI themselves were not in a position to provide legally binding advice on the application of product definitions used in the WEEE Directive. Legally binding opinions on European legislation can only be provided by a Court of Law.

The onus to determine whether a product falls within the Scope of WEEE and ROHS Directive is on the producer, as the best person placed to assess the characteristics of their product.
This determination should take account of the text of the Directive, National regulations and non-statutory guidance.
The U.K. enforcement body may of course, challenge the producers’ determination if it considers it incorrect.”

At a meeting of I.C.M.M.A. Members in April 2007, called to discuss the WEEE position, the following recommendations were made:-
They are non-binding and it is up to each member to arrive at their own judgements, but the proposals were as follows:-

  • Members sign up to a Compliance Scheme
  • Members determine what products they consider are supplied on a B2C basis and those supplied on a B2B basis, and report to the Compliance Scheme accordingly.
  • Where members feel that the product they supply is outside the Scope of WEEE then a zero return is submitted to the Compliance Scheme of which they are a member.

Product considered within WEEE is

  • single motor, single phase non specialist tub vacs.
  • single motor, single phase, non specialist wet/dry vacs.
  • upright vac cleaners
  • spray extraction machines for domestic use, of the type sold through conventional retail channels or rented to consumer markets through D.I.Y. and Dry Cleaning outlets
  • pressure washers, single phase, designed for domestic use and sold through conventional retail channels
  • carpet sweepers for domestic use or similar areas of application

Product considered OUTSIDE Scope of WEEE as described by the EUnited ‘position statement’ of April 2007, which I.C.M.M.A. Members agree to support:-

  • floor cleaning machines for indoor and outdoor cleaning designed and supplied for commercial use.
    (sweepers, scrubbers, twin motor /special application vacs for Industrial use)
    (high pressure cleaning machines and systems for commercial use and car washing)

The position is that such equipment is not considered part of the category

  • small household appliances
  • large household appliances

NOR are they electrical tools.

Members consider adding commentary to their Terms and Conditions of Supply to cover the WEEE situation.