Dear Sir/Madam

With the start of discussions in Parliament and Council, the revision of Directive 2002/96/EC on WEEE enters the final straight. Most of us will agree that a recast was due; the importance of a comprehensive, consistent and equitable legal and regulatory framework for WEEE management cannot be underestimated.

But there is more. In the past couple of years, we have seen that the provisions of Annex II on treatment have not been interpreted, implemented and enforced equally consistently across Europe. That is where the WEEE Forum, the European association of electrical and electronic waste producer responsibility organisations (see, has stepped in. With the WEEELABEX project, we seek to level the playing field and provide a set of harmonised specifications with respect to the WEEE chain of custody.

Find out more in this edition of “Eye on WEEE”.

Yours sincerely

Pascal Leroy
Secretary General of the WEEE Forum

The first year of WEEELABEX

WEEELABEX is the acronym for a project co-financed by the LIFE programme of the European Community (governed by the European Commission’s Environment directorate). WEEELABEX (WEEE LABel of EXcellence) will, on the one hand, produce a set of standards and codes of practice with respect to collection, transport, storage and processing of waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE), and, on the other, lay down a set of voluntary guidelines that will allow certification bodies to issue certificates and labels attesting that, at a particular site where the operations take place, the standards and specifications are complied with.

The WEEE Forum, an association of 39 collection and recovery organisations that manage WEEE on behalf of the producers community, has formally involved the main stakeholders in the sector (producers, recyclers, municipalities, academia and environmental NGOs) to join the construction of the WEEELABEX architecture. Stakeholders have met three times since the start of the project in January 2009, and there have been many off-line meetings.

In 2009, Year One of a four year programme, the key focus of the project has been the development of a set of specifications related to WEEE collection, logistics, treatment and processing of all types of equipment. When the WEEE Forum member organisations and the stakeholders deem the specifications sufficiently advanced in terms of overall support, they will be lodged with CENELEC, the EU electro-technical standards body, to be translated into EN standards. In the coming months, additional sets of specific requirements will be developed related to management of particular types of equipment, such as monitors and displays, and gas discharge lamps. CENELEC standardisation will bring the specifications developed under the project’s auspices into the public domain.

In 2010, the WEEE Forum will start constructing a suitable (voluntary) certification architecture that is best adapted to the world of WEEE management. It is envisioned that instead of subjecting WEEE processors to similar audits for different clients, as was recently the case in Germany with respect to treatment of waste cooling equipment, we will establish one set of certification guidelines that auditors will apply uniformly.

For more information about WEEELABEX, see the recently updated version of the project’s FAQ: 


What does the WEEELABEX project entail?

Globally there exist many different types of standards, codes of practice, certification programmes, marking, labels and so forth. In order to avoid misunderstandings, a clarification about the project’s depth and width is therefore due.
• The project concerns all relevant steps in the WEEE chain.
• The requirements related to collection activities shall be spelled out in a code of practice and be enforced through and controlled by those WEEE collection and recovery organisations that are in a position to implement them. Requirements in relation to treatment will be laid down in EN standards that have a direct effect on the operators subject to them.
• Operators processing WEEE will undergo certification. First party certification, or self-declaration, will not suffice as means to demonstrate compliance with the standard. A third party, i.e. financially and materially independent from the operator, will guarantee a thorough compliance check.
• The requirements laid down in the standard and in the code of practice are minimum requirements. Producers and the collection and recovery organisations on whose behalf they operate are free to stipulate requirements that go beyond the requirements, certainly if they are environmentally more ambitious.
• The WEEELABEX label is solely aimed at the sites of WEEE operators. In other words, the label will not be awarded to companies as such, but to the facilities where activities take place. It is not our ambition to produce labels for products.
• WEEE systems will demonstrate that they have contracted with certified partners and that the contracts are compliant with the WEEELABEX set of specifications.
• Auditors performing audits in view of certification will be trained in accordance with the WEEELABEX set of specifications and will join a pool of auditors.

For more information about WEEELABEX, see the recently updated version of the project’s FAQ:

Key highlights of the draft WEEELABEX standard

The WEEELABEX standard lays down measures related to the protection of the environment and human health and safety through the prevention and mitigation of the adverse impacts of transport and treatment of electrical and electronic waste. The WEEELABEX standard and the technical annexes will define both technical and management requirements for process partners in the WEEE chain.

Part I of the draft standard concerns the “general requirements”, i.e. addresses all operators involved in storage, transport and treatment of WEEE. Following the clauses on scope, normative references and definitions, one clause will lay down provisions for all WEEE operations. Another clause is aimed at treatment operators. Detailed requirements, descriptions of working processes and tools will be given in Annexes of this standard. They will be completed during the next steps on the project.

Part II will encompass specific requirements on certain types of appliances, such as screens and monitors, and gas discharge lamps. 

A separate document, called a “code of practice”, will address activities over which compliance schemes do not necessarily have full control, e.g. collection at (municipal) collection facilities or retail, in relation to storage, loading/unloading and transport of WEEE, and lay down documentation requirements. 

For a copy of the draft standard and the code of practice, please contact Consolidated versions should be available in January/February 2010.

Other news

The WEEE Forum became a co-operating organisation within CENELEC, the European Committee for Electro-technical Standardisation, on 25 August 2009. As a result, it will be entitled to contribute to the development of EN standards related to WEEE management.
For more information about the co-operation agreement with CENELEC, see CENELEC press release.

Next WEEE Forum conference is scheduled for 23-24 September 2010 in Zurich (CH). For more information, contact