Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment

What Does Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Mean?

Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) is a designation for certain kinds of hardware and other electrical appliances covered by a European Community law called the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive. This legislation helps to maintain better control systems for the disposal and reuse of electrical/electronic appliances, parts or systems, which can have a drastic effect on the environment if they are disposed of improperly.


Techopedia Explains Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment

An important feature of the WEEE Directive is the idea of "producer compliance" or the responsibility of hardware makers to prepare for the eventuality of disposal, recycling and reuse. Part of the setup of the WEEE Directive involves distinguishing between electronic goods that were sold prior to 2005, when the law took effect, and those sold after 2005. The WEEE Directive has helped lower the amount of hazardous waste disposed into the general environment in the UK and in European Union member countries.

The WEEE Directive does not apply in the United States. However, American counterparts commonly use the term "electronic waste" or "e-waste" when talking about regulations for the disposal, reuse or recycling of electrical/electronic products or parts that may contain heavy metals like lead, cadmium, beryllium, etc., that can be dangerous to the environment.


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Margaret Rouse is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical, business audience. Over the past twenty years her explanations have appeared on TechTarget websites and she's been cited as an authority in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine and Discovery Magazine.Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages. If you have a suggestion for a new definition or how to improve a technical explanation, please email Margaret or contact her…