WEEE open scope

From 1 January 2019 the way producers scope their EEE products is changing due to Open Scope. How is your business affected?

How will Open Scope impact you?

The Open Scope changes could have a big impact on how your organisation reports EEE under the WEEE regulations. The number of categories are remaining the same, but from 1 January 2019 all EEE products will be in scope, unless they are explicitly exempt due to an exclusion. In October 2018 the Environment Agency updated their guidance which you can download below and this page highlights the key changes you need to know. It can be confusing, but our team are here to make sure you are ready for Open Scope.
Download the official guidance

All EEE must now be scoped into a category

Before Open Scope, if one of your products did not clearly fit into one of the 14 EEE categories you could simply exclude that product from your reporting and it would not count towards your WEEE obligation.

Under Open Scope all EEE products are assumed to be in scope from 1 January 2019 and must be reported into one of the 14 categories.

There are specific exceptions however which are detailed on this page below.


Clarification on the definition of EEE

Whilst the full definition of EEE (Electrical and Electronic Equipment) is not changing when Open Scope comes into force, the Environment Agency have clarified how it is to be interpreted.

This guidance relates to whether a product can work properly when the electricity is turned off. If a product is unable to function correctly when the electricity supply is switched off, it will be in scope.

This is helpful when considering products that have multiple uses, however it is not always immediately clear if a product falls into scope or not. For example sportswear with an in-built heart rate monitor would fall into scope whilst a novelty Christmas jumper with in-built lights would not. Don't worry, our team are on hand to help you navigate this key definition.


Electrical wiring accessories in scope

If a socket or switch did not have additional functionality, including neon lights or a charging connection, then it was previously out of scope. These products will now fall into scope from 1 January 2019, reportable in Category 2 (Small Household Equipment).

Household B2C lighting equipment now in scope

Under the old WEEE rules all household lighting was out of scope and did not count towards your WEEE obligation. The opposite was true of B2B lighting, which was all deemed to be in-scope.

From 1 January 2019 this category of household equipment will be in-scope under the Open Scope rules, reportable under the Category 5. If your business deals with any lighting equipment intended for household use, it is critical that you re-evaluate how you scope your products.


Fixed Installation equipment now in scope

Equipment that was deemed to be a Fixed Installation was excluded from scoping under the old rules. From the 1 January 2019 Fixed Installations will now be in scope and must be reported accordingly.

The Fixed Installation category covers installations that are a combination of several pieces of equipment systems or products. This includes components or parts assembled and/or erected by a professional assembler or installer, at a given place to operate together in an expected environment and to perform a specific task and not intended to be placed on the market as a single functional or commercial unit.


Large Scale Fixed Installation clarification

Large Scale Fixed Installation equipment remains as an exclusion and the Environment Agency have provided further clarification on what can and cannot be included in this.

Large Scale Fixed Installations are remaining out of scope, but only if it meets the criteria for "large size" as defined on page 12 of the RoHS FAQs document viewable here. Note that the Environment Agency have advised that only the information relating to "large size" in the RoHS document is applicable here.

This exclusion covers B2B electrical installations that meet the sizing criteria, and if it was assembled, installed and de-installed by professionals; intended to be used permanently as part of a building or a structure at a pre-defined and dedicated location; and could only be replaced by the same specifically designed equipment.

However if equipment forms part of the large scale installation that is not specifically designed for it, is not integral to the installation and can still operate according to its basic function in its own right, then it is an EEE product. An example of this would be a display screen or solar panel.

Large Scale Fixed Installation will continue to be a valid exclusion, therefore if the equipment meets the definition as given in the regulations, it will remain out of scope.


Non-electrical accessories

If an electrical product is placed on the market with non-electrical accessories, those accessories no longer need to be included in the reported EEE weight of the product. An example is a plastic water jug sold with an electric iron. If an accessory is integral to the operation of an EEE product however, such as the shelves in a fridge or a TV stand, then they must be included when the item is reported.

For more information please see the full definition of non-electrical accessories here in Article 2(a) of the WEEE Directive. Our team can help to clarify further if you are at all unsure if an accessory should be included or not.


Next steps

The Open Scope changes come into force in 2019, which means you will need to start scoping your products now so you are ready to report accurately and on time next year.

If you are placing EEE products onto the market that you were previously out-scoping, you must review your reasoning and confirm if they will still be out of scope in 2019. The chances are that you will have obligations on them.

For products that have come into scope, you will need to work out how you are going to report them and also mark them with the crossed out wheelie bin symbol. If the products are classed as B2B you will be required to offer take-back on them, and for B2C products you must also be aware that your obligation costs are likely to increase.


When you need to report

Whilst we strongly advise you to assess the impact of Open Scope now, it is important to understand that when reporting your final 2018 data in January 2019, you must work to the old guidance.

If you report products on a quarterly basis, the new guidance will apply from your Q1 submission in April 2019. If you report products annually, the new guidance will apply to your data submission in January 2020.

Simply get in touch with your account manager if you require any assistance with Open Scope, from an initial chat to an on-site scoping audit, we are here to help you report correctly.


Give us a call on 0333 4330 370

Our team of experts are ready to help make sure your business is ready for Open Scope
Contact us now