Legal obligations

All European Member States, including Belgium, are required to keep track of the number of electro-appliances they put onto the market, along with how many they take back and process. As an importer or manufacturer, do you sell electro-appliances or light bulbs in Belgium? Do you sell them in physical stores or online? Do you trade or export discarded electronics? In each of these cases, a number of legal obligations apply, each of which we have listed below. You can also consult the relevant regional and European legislation here

As a retailer, you are required to take back appliances or light bulbs free of charge when a customer purchases and receives a new, equivalent product from you. If the old appliance was not purchased from you or is of a different brand to the new product, you are still required to take it back. This obligation applies to both in-store and online purchases. If your shop has more than 400m² of retail space dedicated to selling electro-appliances, you are obliged to take back small electro-appliances free of charge in a clearly visible bin in your store, without the customer in question needing to buy a new appliance. To facilitate the return of discarded appliances, Recupel has set up a collection system whereby discarded appliances and light bulbs can be deposited at recycling centres, partner second-hand stores and retail outlets. Any retailer can become a Recupel Point and enjoy all the benefits of this collection system. In addition, retailers are required to inform customers clearly about the take-back obligation, and consequently how customers can dispose of their old electro-appliances. Request information material for your store here.

Your main advantage? Recupel will take over your obligation to take back electro-appliances. It can be difficult for manufacturers or importers to meet their take-back obligations individually. It’s much easier to join the collective system.

Prefer not to work with Recupel? In that case, you will need to submit your own waste management plan to the authorities of Belgium's three Regions:
- OVAM (Flemish Region)
- Brussels Environment (Brussels-Capital Region)
- Sol et des Déchets en Wallonie (Walloon Region)

Does the take-back obligation apply if the registered office of your online shop is located outside Belgium?

  • Yes, if customers living in Belgium order from you online, you are still required to register as a Recupel member or submit an individual waste management plan, and the take-back obligation also applies to your online shop. 
  • You can register at Recupel and become a member by signing our entry agreement.

Become a Recupel member

  • According to both Belgian and European legislation, you must appoint an authorised representative in Belgium. If you do not have one, Recupel can act as your authorised representative free of charge. You will receive the addendum after sending back the signed entry agreement.

Importers and/or manufacturers of electro-appliances or light bulbs are required to report what they put onto the market. If you only sell electro-appliances made by a Belgian company, you don’t have to become a member of Recupel. The manufacturer is responsible for the take-back obligation. As a Recupel member, you need to submit a quarterly declaration of the number of appliances put onto the market (or a monthly declaration, if you prefer). For professional appliances subject to an administrative charge, you should specify the total weight, as well as the total number of appliances. This is an easy way of making sure you are legally compliant. Recupel will take care of reporting to the authorities.

What happens following your declaration?

  • We will notify you by email when your quarterly invoice is ready.
  • The invoice lists the total Recupel contributions by category.
  • Once a year, you will confirm any appliances put onto the market in an overall declaration. At that point, you will also be able to make any corrections.

The European Union requests that Member States collect and process as electrical and electronic waste at least 65% of the average weight of electricals and electronic appliances put onto the market over the previous three years. To ensure that Belgium meets this target, it is important for everyone to report how much e-waste they collect and process or allocate to another purpose such as reuse. This may include waste collection companies (including those authorised by Recupel), exporters of electrical appliances, internal (re)sales, charitable donations, in-house dismantling, returns to headquarters outside Belgium or returns to suppliers/manufacturers. Companies and organisations can report the weight of their collected electrical and electronic waste to Recupel directly in their WEEE report, to be submitted once a year, in January. 

Those who do not have a contract with Recupel can also use the simple online e-waste reporting tool BeWeee. Using the BeWeee platform, e-waste collectors, processors, manufacturers, distributors, exporters and re-use centres can report their results annually to the Flemish, Walloon and Brussels governments.

How do you file a declaration correctly?

What is the difference between household and professional electricals?

Find a device and its contribution