March 2024 Newsletter

Newsletter: March 2024

The latest news regarding WEEE, e-waste, battery and packaging compliance

Amendment to the EU WEEE Directive

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The European Union introduced an amendment to the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Directive, aiming to provide clarity to certain areas and update respective Articles. Directive (EU) 2024/884, published on March 13th, 2024, introduces several changes to Directive 2012/19/EU, which Member States are required to implement into their national laws by October 9th, 2025.

One significant addition is Article 24a, mandating a comprehensive review of the EU WEEE Directive by December 31st, 2026. This review will encompass critical provisions concerning:

  • legal certainty regarding retroactive requirements,
  • implementation of the waste hierarchy,
  • protection of consumers from WEEE treatment costs,
  • ensuring effective enforcement by Member States,
  • creation of a new category for photovoltaic panels, aligning collection targets with the expected product lifespan,
  • and a mechanism to finance future EEE treatment costs in the event of producer failure or liquidation.

This amendment follows a ruling by the Court of Justice of the European Union on January 25th, 2022, invalidating Article 13(1) of Directive 2012/19/EU concerning photovoltaic panels placed on the market between August 13th, 2005 and August 13th, 2012 due to unjustified retroactive effect. Consequently, Articles 12 and 13 on financing the treatment of WEEE and Articles 14 and 15 on the marking of EEE have been revised to clarify effective dates for each scope change, with different effective dates for the original EEE scope (2005), open scope EEE (2018), and photovoltaic panels (2012). However, Member States are still tasked with determining responsibility for certain historical WEEE. Furthermore, Article 14 and Article 15 of the Directive have been updated to reference the latest European standard EN 50419:2022 on the marking of EEE.

Accerio will be reviewing the upcoming legislative updates in each Member State as well as tracking the progress of the EU Commission’s WEEE Directive review in 2026.

New Jersey Propulsion Battery EPR Law

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New Jersey has taken the lead by becoming the first US state to enact an Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) law specifically targeting electric and hybrid vehicle propulsion batteries. This law, passed in January 2024, has come out of the national and global conversations on sustainable management of electric vehicle (EV) components.

Under the new law, producers of propulsion batteries are mandated to undertake several responsibilities to ensure proper management and disposal. One of the primary requirements is the labeling of batteries to enable better tracking and management throughout their lifecycle.

The definition of in-scope batteries covers batteries used to supply power to propel an electric or hybrid road vehicle, whether embedded within vehicles or provided separately from them. However, the law exempts starter batteries and those used for industrial purposes. The scope of obligated producers encompasses various entities involved in the production and distribution chain, including vehicle manufacturers, importers, battery manufacturers, remanufacturers, and importers. We encourage you to reach out to Accerio for assessment if your company sells electric vehicles or their batteries.

Next steps for Producers:

  • Register on the state’s registration portal by January 8, 2025 (the portal is not open yet).
  • Submit annual reporting of battery sales/distribution by January 8, 2026, and each subsequent year.
  • Develop and submit a battery management plan, with the deadline determined following a state-conducted needs assessment.

The state will conduct a needs assessment to identify specific requirements for battery management plans and labeling. In the meantime, producers are encouraged to assess their obligations and prepare for registration. Please contact Accerio for assistance assessing and monitoring obligations as the New Jersey program develops.

EU Advancement on Packaging Regulation

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In a significant development, the European Council presidency and representatives from the European Parliament have reached a provisional political agreement on the regulation concerning Packaging and Packaging Waste. This is the first major update since the proposal for the EU Packaging and Packaging Waste Regulation was announced in November of 2022. This provisional agreement also marks a step towards the goals outlined in the European Green Deal.

The proposal, prompted by concerns over packaging waste, aims to address its environmental impacts and to harmonize the internal market for packaging to drive the transition towards a circular economy. Key elements of the agreement include requirements for recyclability, minimizing harmful substances, and implementing standardized labelling to improve consumer information.

The proposal includes several measures for businesses:

  • Establishment of reuse targets, restrictions on certain single-use packaging, and mandates for economic operators to minimize packaging.
  • Reduction of unnecessary packaging through setting maximum empty space ratios and decreasing packaging weight and volume.
  • Obligation for take-away/to-go food businesses to offer customers the option of using their own containers, with a target of 10% of products in reusable packaging formats by 2030.

For Member States:

  • Implementation of deposit return systems for single-use plastic bottles and metal beverage containers by 2029, aiming for a 90% separate collection rate annually.
  • Restrictions on certain packaging formats, including single-use plastic packaging and lightweight plastic bags.

Despite challenges, such as balancing access to recycled plastics, the agreement aims to stimulate investment in green jobs. The next step involves formal approval by the Parliament and Council, with the expectation of implementation before the upcoming EU elections in June 2024. Accerio will monitor developments and provide guidance on the regulation’s impact on packaging design.

Peru Draft Packaging Law

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The Peruvian Federal Government introduced a draft decree at the close of 2023 aimed at addressing the management and handling of packaging waste. This draft, known as the Supreme Decree Approving the Special Regime of Management and Handling of Packaging and Container Waste (REE), recently closed for public comment and is now under discussion with Congress.

One of the core elements of the draft decree is the introduction of an Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) system tailored specifically for packaging waste. Under this system, producers, including packers, fillers, and importers, will bear the responsibility for managing and handling the packaging waste generated from their products. While the decree aims to cover a broad spectrum of packaging waste, covering primary, secondary, and tertiary packaging of most material types, certain exemptions have been outlined. These include flexible packaging, hazardous waste packaging, primary packaging for drugs and medications, wood packaging, and microenterprises with operations valued below USD 20,000.

Producers falling within the scope of the decree will be mandated to implement and administer individual or collective packaging management systems. This entails obtaining approval from the Ministry of Environment for their management plans and submitting annual declarations to track progress towards predefined collection and recovery targets to be set by the Ministry.

Accerio can assess if your company would be impacted and help your company prepare for registration if the draft is approved.

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