Electronic waste (e-waste for short) – also known as Waste from Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) – covers almost all types of old or broken electrical and electronic equipment (EEE) destined for reuse, recycling or disposal. It includes everyday household appliances such as fridges, washing machines and microwaves, as well as smaller items like coffee grinders, toasters and hair dryers. The fastest growing e-waste is from TVs, computers, phones and related equipment. But it also includes less obvious items such as electronic toys, power tools, smoke detectors, fluorescent lighting and even solar panels.



The WEEE Directive (2002/96/EC) provides, amongst other things, ten main categories of e-waste. A list and brief summary of the categories is provided below:


Fridges, freezers, washing machines, dryers, dishwashers, cookers, microwaves, heaters, radiators, fans and air conditioning appliances
Vacuum cleaners, irons, toasters, fryers, kettles, scales and other domestic items such as hair dryers, shavers, electric toothbrushes and clocks
Computers, laptops, notebooks and accessories (CPU, mouse, screen and keyboard), telephones, printers, copiers, faxes, calculators and other telecommunications equipment
TVs, radios, DVD players, VCRs, CD players, Hi-Fi items, speakers, amplifiers and musical instruments
Fluorescent lamps and non-household lighting
Sewing machines, lawnmowers, hedge cutters, strimmers, saws and equipment for turning, sanding, grinding, milling, cutting, shearing, welding and spraying
Exercise equipment through to computer game consoles, electric train sets and coin slot machines
Dialysis machines, ventilators and radiotherapy equipment and other medical equipment
Smoke detectors, thermostats and other instruments used in industrial installations flow gauges and measuring equipment
Automatic dispensers for hot drinks, hot or cold bottles or cans, solid products and money