What is WEEE?

Ask an Expert From: Products Finishing,

Posted on: 8/1/2005

Question: One of my suppliers recently told me about WEEE.


One of my suppliers recently told me about WEEE. What is it? T.G.


Aren’t acronyms wonderful? As if our lives aren’t cluttered enough we are constantly being barraged with new ones that appear to be generated by a random acronym generator!

WEEE stands for the European Union (EU) Directive on Waste Electrical and Electrical Equipment. This particular directive has important consequences for the electroplating industry and is another document that can severely affect your company. WEEE is designed to minimize the impact of electronic and electrical equipment on the environment during the lifetime of the equipment and when it finally is retired from use. The document sets up standards for collection and recycling of the waste from this discarded equipment.

WEEE does not sound like it will impact on the electroplater but it does since the Directive on the Restriction of the Use of Certain Hazardous Substances in Electrical and Electronic Equipment, RoHS, is tied directly to WEEE. RoHS bans the placing of electronic and electrical equipment on the EU market that contain more than specified amounts of lead, cadmium, hexavalent-chromium, mercury and brominated fire retardants. If you, as an electroplater, are supplying customers who in turn are selling products in the EU, you are now part of this.

I have briefly discussed RoHS in a couple of my earlier columns in PF. You can find more information by going to www.pfonline.com. Much additional information on RoHS and WEEE can be found by doing a Google search on these directives.


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