Summary of country-specific regulations on the disposal of packaging & electronic devices

27 member states, 27 ideas. However, when it comes to environment, all the member states should be working together in the same direction. The uniform production and consistent use of electrical equipment is always present. But what happens when electronic devices are old, broken, or non-usable? The European Union is working towards a unitary framework. None the less, there is still no transnational legislation on the disposal of electronic devices and the packaging, in which it is delivered. Find out, which reasons support a responsible disposal of electronic waste such as packaging materials and which general measures have already been implemented.

Which goals support an accurate, safe, and proper waste disposal of electronic devices?

The protection of the environment and the reduction of electronic waste is becoming more important every day. Electrical devices might contain hazardous substances which require a special recycling process. In addition, electrical appliances contain many valuable materials that should be returned to the material cycle. Therefore, the European Union member states have established new laws and regulations which follow important objectives:

  • The first aim is to reduce harmful effects of waste on the human health and the environment.
  • The second intention is to promote a sustainable circular economy.
  • These measures aim to increase recycling rates within the European Union up to 55% by 2025 and 65% by 2035.
  • Furthermore, new laws have been established, which define the sustainable management of electronic equipment and old batteries.

With the intention of reducing the amount of avoidable electronic waste, a new eco-design regulation is currently conceptualized at EU level. The aim is to avoid planned obsolescence, increase repairability, enhance recyclability and at the same time improve the resource- and energy efficiency.

Which regulations are involved with the waste disposal of electronic devices and packaging?

For all the producers of electronic appliances within the European Union, the legislation has established the WEEE guidelines. The acronym stands for ‘Waste of Electrical and Electronical Equipment’ and contain instructions on how producers are to manage electronical waste.

  • All electronic devices must be marked with a symbol of a crossed out garbage can (WEEE symbol).
  • Companies must be registered in the respective disposal system of a country in which they sell their products. Besides, the quantity of the sold devices must be reported to the disposal systems in each country on a regular basis. This applies not only to electrical devices, but also to batteries and packaging materials.
  • Customers must have the possibility to send old, broken, and non-usable devices back to the distributors or collection points free of charge.

These producer responsibilities are connected to the intention to prevent old electrical appliances from ending up in household waste. If you want to see the disposal regulations applicable in your country, simply click onto the flag-symbol representing the country where you are located.