Environmental guidance for your business in Northern Ireland & Scotland

Treating and recycling WEEE

Treating and recycling WEEE

What you must do

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, eg fluorescent tubes.

See the page in this guideline: 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 (ATFs)

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 your environmental regulator:

  • the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) in Northern Ireland
  • SEPA in Scotland

and be granted approval to become an AATF.

NIEA: WEEE treatment facilities

SEPA: Approved treatment facilities

If you are an AATF you must provide quarterly reports to your environmental regulator 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 UK.

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.

In Northern Ireland you must also provide your environmental regulator 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.

In Scotland, SEPA has taken an enforcement position not to require businesses to provide this report. SEPA officers will instead make checks during site visits.

Treatment, recovery and recycling techniques

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

Northern Ireland: WEEE

Scotland: BATRRT guidance from DEFRA

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, eg 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 the NIEA or SEPA.

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)

includes: large household, IT and screens, consumer goods, luminaries, tools, leisure and sport, medical devices and monitoring and control, dispensers, includes fridges and freezers, heat pumps, radiators containing oil

85% 80%

Small equipment (no external dimension >50cm)

Includes: household appliances, consumer equipment, luminaires, sound or images equipment, tools, toys, leisure/ sport equipment, medical devices, monitoring and control, dispensers, small IT or telecommunications equipment

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%

 

Further information

GOV.UK: WEEE: Evidence and national protocols guidance

Return to WEEE landing page

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Permits

NIEA - Apply online

SEPA - Application forms