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WEEE/RoHS: Denmark

Update as of May 05, 2006

As a consequence of the common EU decision to introduce producer responsibility for electrical and electronic equipment (the WEEE Directives), new Danish rules on waste electrical and electronic equipment are currently being implemented. The Danish WEEE Order, and thus producer/importer responsibility, enters into force on April 1, 2006. However, the provisions on labeling and registration have already entered into force (August 2005 and January 2006 respectively). The new WEEE Order replaces previous Danish regulations on management of waste from electrical and electronic equipment (EEE).

EEE imported or manufactured after August 12, 2005 must be labeled with a crossed-out wheeled bin as well as with the name or logo of the producer/importer. The crossed-out wheeled bin label denotes that WEEE must not be disposed of with household waste but should instead be collected separately. Information to consumers of EEE must be stated in the sales and marketing material.

The municipalities in Denmark are responsible for collection schemes and collection sites for WEEE from households. This commitment is met through bring schemes, i.e. setting up containers at the municipal recycling sites or other collection sites, and/or through pick-up schemes. It is up to the municipalities to decide the schemes and they may recover costs via waste disposal fees from the households. After the WEEE has been collected, the municipalities must ensure that the waste is separated into five fractions:

  • large household appliances and automatic dispensers
  • small household appliances, electrical and electronic tools (excluding large-scale stationary industrial tools, toys and sport and leisure equipment, medical equipment, monitoring and regulation instruments)
  • IT and telecommunications equipment
  • Consumer equipment
  • Lighting equipment

The municipalities will ensure 100 percent geographic coverage of the collection scheme by setting up approximately 400 collection sites. Each site will be divided into the five fractions, which means a total of 2,000 special collection containers throughout the country.

However, it is no longer the municipalities' duty to treat the waste. This obligation now lies with "WEEE System" (see below), which will dispose of the waste by allocating it to producers and importers for further treatment in accordance with market share in each of the five fractions. WEEE must be treated at plants which have been approved by the Danish EPA and fixed requirements for e.g. storage, design and reporting have been laid down by law.

The Danish Minister of the Environment has transferred a number of responsibilities concerning administration of the WEEE Order to "WEEE System", which is a private and independent non-profit organization. "WEEE System" is responsible for registration and for laying down more detailed guidelines, procedures, etc., and "WEEE System" is also responsible for charging and collecting registration fees.

Existing producers and importers of EEE covered by producer responsibility had to be registered at "WEEE System" before January 1, 2006. New producers and importers commencing marketing of products after this date must submit a request for registration no later than 14 days prior to commencing marketing.

Producers and importers of EEE must pay "WEEE System" with regard to registration and management of the scheme. The fees are cost-dependent and are currently being negotiated. The registration fee will most likely be DKK 1,000 and the annual administration fee will be based on market share for the EEE in order to ensure that small enterprises are not burdened unfairly. Furthermore, a producer/importer must provide a financial guarantee for equipment marketed for households in order to ensure treatment of the waste. The size of the financial guarantee will be determined by "WEEE System". If a producer/importer joins a collective scheme, "WEEE System" can exempt the producer/importer from having to provide a financial guarantee for equipment. So far there are three collective schemes in Denmark.

Sellers and distributors need only take back WEEE if they offer it voluntarily and should only take back the same type of EEE as they sell. If a seller or distributor offers to take back WEEE, consumers should be able to return the WEEE free of charge. Enterprises are only allowed to charge for any additional services, such as transporting WEEE from households. A seller/distributor must use the collection schemes provided by the municipality. In cases of larger volumes of WEEE, the seller/distributor must, however, make and agreement with "WEEE System".

With regard to equipment for use by trade and industry (B2B) sold after April 1, 2006 the producer/importer is responsible for take-back and treatment of the equipment (individually or through a collective scheme). The producer/importer can also make an agreement with the buyer to the effect that the buyer will take over the commitments. The producers/importers are required to inform "WEEE System" about such agreements.

All WEEE which is not subject to producer responsibility regulation is considered as "waste from other electrical and electronic equipment". The municipalities are responsible for collection and treatment of this type of waste.

The WEEE Order stipulates that municipal treatment plants may continue until December 31, 2006. Subsequent to December 31, 2006 the municipal WEEE treatment sites may continue if they are separated from other municipal operations and compete on equal market terms.

In 2005 between 35,000 and 40,000 tons of WEEE and CFC-containing refrigeration appliances were collected and separated for special treatment. It is the European Commission's target that, before December 31, 2006 EU Member States will be collecting at least 4 kg of WEEE per inhabitant per year from households, which corresponds to approximately 21,500 tons in Denmark.

The Danish EPA has estimated that the cost for society will be between DKK 150 to 175 million per year. The municipalities' costs of collecting and treating WEEE are estimated at almost DKK 100 million in 2005. In other words, the expected extra cost for society will be DKK 50 to 75 million annually.

Note: The WEEE Order is issued with legal basis in the Environmental Protection Act which does not apply to Greenland and the Faeroe Islands.

For further information about the Danish WEEE Order and system:

Danish EPA: http://www.mst.dk/English/

WEEE System: http://www.weee-system.dk

Collective Schemes:
Elretur http://www.elretur.dk
Nera (website under construction)
LWF (website under construction)
For further information: http://www.weee-system.dk

Government contact: Mr. Peter Grau, Environment Ministry
Tel: +45 3266 0191
Email: PGR@mst.dk
Internet: http://www.mst.dk (English translation available)

Danish Business Association (DI) also has information on WEEE treatment/collection
Tel: +45 3377 3377
Internet: http://di.dk/English/Pages/English.aspx

For more information, please contact:

Bjarke Castberg Frederiksen
Senior Commercial Specialist
Embassy of the United States of America
Commercial Section
Dag Hammarskjölds Allé 24
DK-2100 Copenhagen - Denmark.
Tel.: (+45) 3341 7315
Dir.: (+45) 3341 7403
Cell: (+45) 2023 3144
Fax: (+45) 3542 0175
e - mail: bjarke.frederiksen@trade.gov

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