Refilled printer cartridges must be WEEE compliant!


Who has WEEE obligations?

Not only OEMs, but also remanufacturers, refillers and any other third-party cartridge producer


WEEE directive clarification

According to the new WEEE directive, from August 15th 2018 the open scope will take effect. Thus, it has strong consequences for some industry players, notably for the remanufacturers, refillers and any other third party cartridge producer, as well as for some Original Equipment Manufacturers who also developed their own take back and remanufacturing systems for their own-branded products.

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In the printer cartridges sector, two worlds cohabit:

  • The OEMs who sell printers and cartridges under their own brands: in many cases they also organize the take back, refilling and recycling according to their standards
  • The remanufacturers, refillers and any other third-party cartridge producer: they collect emptied cartridges, clean and refill them if possible or recycle them.

However, refilling means to remarket a product and ensure its compatibility and quality when used in the appropriate printer.

Consequently, the refilled printer cartridges enter the market as a quasi-new product, often with a certificate, and therefore start into a new lifecycle.

In this context, the European authorities have decided to consider refilled printer cartridges as a newly marketed product placed on a market. For more details please follow this link to the EU Commission letter adressed to Ares_2017_4617240_Request_for_clarification_on_WEEE-SN 


Indeed, such refilled cartridges shall be compliant with the WEEE directive requirements such as any original printer cartridge branded and placed for the first time on a market by an OEM.

The target is to make sure that all products (being new or remarketed) are being compliant to the WEEE directive. This means:

  • the company placing the product on the market shall register with the national authorities where he places products for the first time
  • products are declared to national authorities (quantities and/or weights per calendar year)
  • producers finance a take back system and eventually contribute to it (collection results, refilling/reuse results, recycling results)
  • producers communicate their compliance according to the legal requirements (crossed out wheeled bin etc.)
  • take back and recycling results are reported.

For more details, please follow this link about producer obligations (


What are the consequences for remanufacturers, refillers and any other third-party cartridge producer?

From August 15th 2018, they will have to fulfill producer obligations in each country where they are considered as the first entity placing the product on the market (see the link: what are WEEE producers?). Responsible parties in one company or group of companies can be:

  • the headquarters
  • local subsidiaries,
  • entities selling through a webshop,
  • or when feasible, a volontary compliance takeover to simplify clients' life.


As a result, remanufacturers, refillers and any other third-party cartridge producers shall organize their compliance in all countries where they have obligations. It might be only in one country, but it could also be in several countries simultaneously, according to the distribution chain and invoicing mechanism between the company, its clients and suppliers.


In order to check the application of legal requirements and obligations, companies concerned by this issue are invited to contact us to identify their individual scope of obligation and setup the relevant steps to compliance .


In brief:

Are printer cartridges in scope of the WEEE directive? Yes, if they contain electronic parts such as a chip.

Are remanufacturers, refillers and other third party producers refilling and remarketing products obliged? yes if they have a producer status

What is a producer status? Being the first company to place a product on a local market, but smaller variations in national interpretation exist

How to confirm obligations or exemptions? Let’s consult WEEElogic, your compliance hub.


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About WEEElogic:


WEEElogic is a European compliance hub centralizing and simplifying compliance proceedings in Europe and beyond. WEEElogic serves for WEEE, battery and packaging compliance with:

  • Registration in all countries where necessary
  • Declaration and reporting of quantities
  • Contracting with local compliance schemes across Europe and beyond
  • Set up of authorized representative (if necessary, notably for e-shops)
  • Take back and recycling program
  • etc.


WEEElogic can also help you to assess your individual obligation and provide customized recommendations:

  • Product scope analysis: which products are concerned or not by the scope?
  • Producer obligations analysis: do you have obligations? Where? Which entity is obligated?
  • Sales organization analysis: in which countries do you have obligations based on your sales organization (e-shop, local subsidiaries, resellers etc.),
  • What shall be set up to manage compliance?


Romain Letenneur


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