In all businesses and private homes amounts of electrical and electronic equipment are increasing steadily. Equipment is replaced at a constantly increasing pace as a result of technological developments, fashion, and decreasing prices. Consequently, waste arisings are also increasing.
Amounts of WEEE generated in EU Member States have been estimated at more than 8 million tonnes/year (2005). Amounts are expected to increase by at least 5 per cent annually. This means that waste arisings may reach as much as 12 million tonnes by 2015. In the EU amounts of household WEEE are increasing three times faster than ordinary household waste.
With the WEEE Directive (Waste from Electrical and Electronic Equipment) the EU has set up principles applying to management of these increasing waste amounts.
With the purpose of preventing and reducing these waste amounts the EU Commission drew up in 1998 the first draft directive aiming to minimise environmental impacts from WEEE. The purpose was also to promote reuse and recycling in order to reduce resource consumption.
The directive is drafted on the producer responsibility model where producers and importers are to take responsibility for their products – also at the end of their useful life. Thus, the directive gives statutory objectives for take-back and recycling.
The EU Directive on "Waste from Electrical and Electronic Equipment 2002/96/EU" was adopted on 27 January 2003 as a so-called minimum directive. This means that each Member State can set up more stringent rules than the ones given in the directive. The directive required EU Member States to implement it in national law no later than 17 August 2004.
In Denmark the provisions of the WEEE Directive were implemented in national law with "Statutory Order no. 664 of 27/06/2005 on Waste from Electrical and Electronic Equipment" (WEEE Statutory Order), with subsequent amendments.
In April 2010 the Statutory Order on placing on the market of electrical and electronic equipment and management of waste electrical and electronic equipment, Statutory Order no. 362, entered into force.
More details on this legislation can be found on the following pages.