Different ways and methodologies have been developed in order to classify waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) streams.

Current WEEE Directive Classification ¶ 

In 2012, the recast EU WEEE Directive (Directive 2012/19/EU) defined a new WEEE categorisation scheme (Annex III). This scheme consists of 6 categories, that differ in the type of treatment steps that need to be performed when recycling the equipment. These categories are in use since August 15th, 2018.

  1. Temperature Exchange Equipment
  2. Screens and Monitors
  3. Lamps
  4. Large Equipment
  5. Small Equipment
  6. Small IT and Telecommunication Equipment

Obsolete WEEE Directive Classification ¶ 

Until August 14th 2018, the EU WEEE Directive applied ten categories, as identified in the original 2002 EU Directive (Directive 2002/96/EC). These ten categories have been the basis of several other classification schemes like the UNU Keys.

  1. Large household appliances
  2. Small household appliances
  3. IT and telecommunications equipment
  4. Consumer equipment
  5. Lighting equipment
  6. Electrical and electronic tools
  7. Toys, leisure and sports equipment
  8. Medical devices
  9. Monitoring and control instruments
  10. Automatic dispenser

UNU-Keys ¶ 

In addition to the established WEEE Categories the United Nations University (UNU) developed a further classification which comprises of 54 categories. These categories correlate to the original 10 EU WEEE Categories (the first two digits of the UNU-keys), but are further divided into superficial categories. The UNU-keys are chosen in such a way that each key describes a single product or a small range of products that have a uniform average weight, environmental relevancy and market behaviour.

Linking the WEEE Classification Systems ¶ 

The above described WEEE Classification Systems can be easily linked as shown in the below table.

UNU KeyWEEE Cat. (obsolete)WEEE Cat. (current)UNU Key Description
01011C&FProfessional Heating & Ventilation (excl. cooling equipment)
01021LHADishwashers
01031LHAKitchen (f.i. large furnaces, ovens, cooking equipment)
01041LHAWashing Machines (incl. combined dryers)
01051LHADryers (wash dryers, centrifuges)
01061C&FHousehold Heating & Ventilation (f.i. hoods, ventilators, space heaters)
01081C&FFridges (incl. combi-fridges)
01091C&FFreezers
01111C&FAir Conditioners (household installed and portable)
01121C&FOther Cooling (f.i. dehumidifiers, heat pump dryers)
01131C&FProfessional Cooling (f.i. large airconditioners, cooling displays)
01141LHAMicrowaves (incl. combined, excl. grills)
02012MWEEEOther Small Household (f.i. small ventilators, irons, clocks, adapters)
02022MWEEEFood (f.i. toaster, grills, food processing, frying pans)
02032MWEEEHot Water (f.i. coffee, tea, water cookers)
02042MWEEEVacuum Cleaners (excl. professional)
02052MWEEEPersonal Care (f.i. tooth brushes, hair dryers, razors)
03013ITSmall IT (f.i. routers, mice, keyboards, external drives & accessoires)
03023ITDesktop PCs (excl. monitors, accessoires)
03033ITLaptops (incl. tablets)
03043ITPrinters (f.i. scanners, multifunctionals, faxes)
03053ITTelecom (f.i. (cordless) phones, answering machines)
03063ITMobile Phones (incl. smartphones, pagers)
03073ITProfessional IT (f.i. servers, routers, data storage, copiers)
03083SCREENCathode Ray Tube Monitors
03093SCREENFlat Display Panel Monitors (LCD, LED)
04014MWEEESmall Consumer Electronics (f.i. headphones, remote controls)
04024MWEEEPortable Audio & Video (f.i. MP3, e-readers, car navigation)
04034MWEEEMusic Instruments, Radio, HiFi (incl. audio sets)
04044MWEEEVideo (f.i. Video recorders, DVD, Blue Ray, set-top boxes)
04054MWEEESpeakers
04064MWEEECameras (f.i. camcorders, foto & digital still cameras)
04074SCREENCathode Ray Tube TVs
04084SCREENFlat Panel Display TVs (LCD, LED, PDP)
05015SHALamps (f.i. pocket, christmas, excl. LED & incandescent)
05025LAMPSCompact fluorescent lamps
05035LAMPSStraight tube fluorescent lamps
05045LAMPSSpecial (Hg, high & low pres. Na, other prof. lamps
05055LAMPSLED
05065SHALuminairs (incl. HH incandescent fittings)
05075PROFLuminairs
06016SHATools (all HH saws, drills, cleaning, garden, etc.)
06026PROFTools (Professional tools, excl. dual use)
07017SHAToys (small toys, vehicles, small music)
07027SHAGame Consoles (video games and consoles)
07037LHAToys and sund beds (exercising, large music instr.)
08018SHAMedical (small HH thermometers, blood pressure meters)
08028PROFMedical (hospital, dentist, diagnostics, etc.)
09019SHAMonitoring (alarm, heat, smoke, security, excluding screens)
09029PROFMonitoring (Prof. M&C, garage, diagnostic, etc.)
100110PROFDispenser (non-cooled vending, coffee, tickets, etc.)
100210PROFDispenser (cooled vending, bottles, candy, etc.)
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