Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive (WEEE)


The Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive (WEEE Directive) is European legislation aimed at solving problems connected to WEEE-waste, such as computers, fridges, mobile phones and TV-sets. According to the European Commission, WEEE-waste “is one of the fastest growing waste streams in the EU, with some 9 million tonnes generated in 2005, and expected to grow to more than 12 million tonnes by 2020”.

Circular economy

In order to address the problems connected to WEEE-waste, the European Commission has proposed legislation to find solutions for WEEE-waste. Furthermore, the European Commission want to “contribute to a circular economy” and stresses that “recycling of electronics at the end of their life is essential”. Ecommerce Europe supports the European Commission in its aim to draft environment-friendly policies that contribute to a circular economy.

Problems for cross-border e-commerce

However, Ecommerce Europe believes that the current WEEE Directive (further adapted by each individual Member State in national legislation) results in bureaucratic and financial problems for online shops. In the current situation, companies selling cross-border within the European Union have the obligation to register with the local national WEEE register, but also have bureaucratic and financial obligations in the country of origin. According to Ecommerce Europe, these different WEEE-rules represent an administrative burden for online shops, especially smaller ones. That is why Ecommerce Europe advocates for the creation of a level playing field and harmonization of the WEEE-rules.

Next steps

Ecommerce Europe will keep monitoring the process and remain in close dialogue with the European policy makers to ensure that the voice of the e-commerce sector is heard. For more information about the consequences of the WEEE Directive for online merchants, please contact Ecommerce Europe.

For more detailed information about Ecommerce Europe’s priorities for a better policy landscape that fosters e-commerce growth, please see the Ecommerce Europe Priority Paper (2015).