Environmental guidance for your business in Northern Ireland & Scotland

Users of electrical and electronic equipment – What you must do

Users of electrical and electronic equipment – What you must do

If your business uses electrical and electronic equipment (EEE) you should be aware of your responsibilities when you dispose of it.

The producer of the electrical equipment is usually responsible for the cost of treating and recycling non-household waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE), but business users will sometimes have to pay.

You must comply with your duty of care. This includes:

  • storing waste equipment safely
  • using a registered waste carrier
  • keeping a waste transfer note when equipment leaves your site.

Duty of Care – your waste responsibilities

Equipment bought by your business

If your business bought EEE before 13 August 2005, the waste is known as 'historic WEEE'.

If you are replacing the equipment, the producer of the replacement equipment must take your unwanted item if you request it, even if they are not the original manufacturer.

If you're not replacing the equipment, you need to make sure the WEEE is disposed of in accordance with the duty of care and hazardous waste legislation.

Duty of Care – your waste responsibilities

If your business bought equipment after 13 August 2005, the waste is known as 'non-historic WEEE' or "new WEEE". A bar underneath the crossed-out wheeled bin symbol indicates that the WEEE is non-historic. The EEE producer is responsible for financing the treatment, reprocessing and disposal of the equipment unless both parties agree to an alternative arrangement. You should contact them to find out what arrangements are in place.

If you agree with a producer to make your own arrangements to deal with WEEE, you must make sure it is treated, recycled, recovered and disposed of correctly.

If your business rents or leases EEE the organisation that provides the equipment will normally be responsible for disposing of it.

When you buy new EEE you should keep the WEEE registration number of the equipment producer. Use this to contact the producer when you need to dispose of the products. The producer's compliance scheme is responsible for the WEEE. The original producer can give you information on the take-back system available to you.

Your EEE suppliers and retailers can dispose of business WEEE for you, but they may charge you for this service.

If the EEE producer refuses to take responsibility for your waste:

  • In Northern Ireland contact the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA)
  • In Scotland contact the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA)

Contact your environmental regulator

Good practice

Tips for buying new electrical equipment

Before your business buys any new equipment, ask the following questions:

  • Do you really need to buy a new product?
  • Could you repair your existing unit?
  • Can your existing device be upgraded?
  • Could you buy refurbished equipment from another business?

If your business must buy new equipment, look for a product that:

  • has been designed for easy recycling
  • uses resources efficiently, eg it has a low energy rating
  • has a low impact on the environment, eg it is made from recycled materials.

Further information

WEEE: Disposal guidance for your business (PDF, 1.11MB)

In this guideline

Businesses affected by the WEEE Regulations

Equipment covered by the WEEE Regulations

Producers of electrical and electronic equipment – What you must do

Distributors of electrical and electronic equipment – What you must do

Users of electrical and electronic equipment – What you must do

Repairing, refurbishing and storing WEEE

Treating and recycling WEEE

Exporting WEEE

Operating a WEEE producer compliance scheme

Dealing with hazardous WEEE

WEEE environmental legislation

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