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November 2019 Newsletter

Newsletter: November 2019

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

The Circular Economy:
Subscribe to a Sustainable Environment

The European Union recently presented the Circular Economy Package, which includes waste directives adopted by the European Parliament and the EU Council amending, among others The Waste Framework Directive (2008/98/EC).
The Circular Economy conceives a system where energy sources are renewable, a reduction in waste production, and waste viewed as a resource instead of a burden for society.

The ‘Waste Hyperarchy’ addresses the entire product cycle of production, consumption, waste management and market for secondary materials to achieve a more efficient use of primary and secondary resources.

Potential impacts on Producers of WEEE, Batteries, and Packaging Producers selling into the European Union include:

  • Economic benefits for Producers of products with more efficient and better ecological designs
  • Greater Extended Producer Responsibility costs for products with poorer ecological and lower efficiency performance of products
  • Increased regulation of:
    → Eco – design criteria
    → Product design
    → Use of hazardous materials
    → Product markings
    → Data collection methodology
    → Easier trade of ‘waste’ i.e. secondary materials
  • Packaging re-design to reduce superfluous secondary packaging and reduce single use plastics, especially those associated with food and beverages, and fishing gear
  • Products designed for Re-Use, Repair, and Recyclability, including repair manuals to be made available
  • Increased standards for chemical/pollutant content of product material composition
  • Requirement to increase of life-span of products

Accerio will keep you informed of practical impacts as they unfold.

Shipping electrical products for repair or re-sale: is it EEE, or is it WEEE?

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When transporting used EEE it is important to know what is required to avoid falling afoul of the European Union’s Regulation (EC) No 1013/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 14 June 2006 on shipments of waste (WSR). This is an important consideration when shipping the following:

  • End-Of-Lease electronic products
  • Used electrical products
  • Faulty or malfunctioning products
  • Electronic goods destined for repair reuse and re-sale

To qualify as EEE the goods must meet certain criteria. The way in which the ‘holder’ of the electrical products treats a product can be interpreted as an indicator of whether or not the goods are truly EEE or are waste. Specifically considered is the evidence of intent to re-use the goods or discard them as waste; it must be demonstrated that the goods are not to be discarded or intended to be discarded. To qualify as EEE:

  • The electrical goods should still be functional for the original purpose; this must be documented with an invoice and or statement to this effect
  • The goods are to be protected from damage in transit e.g. original packaging or other packaging
  • There must be evidence of testing for functionality
  • Malfunctioning electronic products that are intended for repair and re-use must demonstrate the potential for re-useability, that the re-use is certain, testing and or repairs necessary for the item to be reusable have been carried out, or will be carried out by specialized technicians on receipt of the shipment. Documentation of this is required
  • There must be some certainty of the re-use of the products
  • There cannot be intention to discard the products after the transportation, that they cannot be regarded as a burden for the purchaser
  • Redundant stock lines in unopened original packaging will be regarded as EEE
  • Documentation of any or all of the above must accompany the goods during transit, including a declaration the goods are not waste

A cautionary tale is the recent case in July 2019 of Openbaar Ministerie v Tronex BV, where a company was preparing to ship from The Netherlands to Tanzania a consignment of electric appliances consisting of a mix of warranty returns, redundant/old stock, and non-functioning appliances that were declared as to be repaired for re-sale.  The European Court of Justice handed down the ruling against Tronex BV as well as a hefty fine, because the shipment contained electrical items had not been packaged to protect some of the goods that were intended for repair, and there was no documentation about the repairs.

For Specifics on documentation required for shipping EEE and WEEE and further details please refer to the Shipment of WEEE Guidance document in the links below, which includes the requirements from Annex VI of the WEEE Directive 2012/19/EU.

  1. Shipment of WEEE Guidance document
  2. WEEE Directive Annex VI; Minimum Requirements for Shipments
  3. Openbaar Ministerie v Tronex BV
  4. OPINION OF ADVOCATE GENERAL KOKOTT delivered on 28 February 20191 Case C-624/17 Openbaar Ministerie v Tronex BV

EU Ecodesign Measures - New Regulations in Force

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On October 1st 2019, the EU Commission adopted 10 ecodesign requirements amending Directive 2009/125/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 21 October 2009. The objective is to reduce Europe’s energy bill through energy savings and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the main factor in climate change. These measures apply to the following products placed on the Union market, independently of where they are manufactured:

  • Refrigerators
  • Washing machines
  • Dishwashers
  • Electronic displays (including televisions)
  • Light sources and separate control gears
  • External power suppliers
  • Electric motors
  • Refrigerators with a direct sales function (e.g. fridges in supermarkets, vending machines for cold drinks)
  • Power transformers
  • Welding equipment

While refrigerators and welding equipment are for the first time in the spotlights, the other eight ecodesigns are already known in EU, being part of the 2009 legal framework.

The ecodesign measures primarily focus on the reparability and recyclability of the products, with a revision of the existing provisions for durability of lighting systems, water consumption for dishwashers and washing machines, and the marks on the chemical products, underlining the future relationship between Waste and Chemicals regulations.
With the energy labelling regulation, which complements the ecodesign specifications with mandatory labelling requirements, the Commission project targets:

  • The delivery of 167 TWh of final energy savings per year by 2030;
  • The reduction of more than 46 million tonnes of CO2 in the atmosphere;
  • European households save an average of 150 EUR per year.

The ecodesign Working Plan 2016-2019 is part of an ambitious project which aims to influence what happens during the use and end-of-life phases of certain products, not only in terms of energy consumption, but also in terms of waste management.

Year End Reporting: It is nearly that time again...

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The end of 2019 is approaching fast, and with it the end of year WEEE, Batteries, and Packaging reporting requirements. All Producers selling into the EU will be required to report, which makes for tight deadlines at a busy time of the year.

As a reminder, here are a few tips to make the process as streamlined as possible; please let us know here at Accerio if:

  • There have been any product changes, please send us SKU numbers, weights and technical specifications.
  • There are new reporting staff and or change of email addresses, please update our information so we can be sure to be in communication with the right people.
  • There has been any takeback or recycling by yourselves or any third parties, please send us the data and information.

It’s also a good idea to touch base with Authorized Signatories in your organization to remind them that some annual reports will require their signature, given it is an extra demand on them at a busy time of the year.

If you would like us to check through your data before the end of year to ensure that January is as stress free as possible, please feel free to contact your account manager.

On the Move

Accerio has outgrown the current space we occupy in the Netherlands and the time has come to relocate.

The big move is now complete, with the assistance of bicycles, ramps, stroopwafels and the local weather being nice enough to hold back snow and rain.

We now have larger premises in a great part of town east of the city centre at:

Panamalaan 8D
1019 AZ Amsterdam
The Netherlands

Please ensure you update our address in your records; our phone number will remain the same:

+31-20-716-3480

Please do stop by to say hello if you are nearby!

November 2019 Newsletter Read More »

August 2019 Newsletter

Newsletter: August 2019

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

On the Move

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Accerio has outgrown the current space we occupy in the USA and the time has come to relocate. We will be on the move in the latter part of August to new larger premises only a few blocks away, located right on the famous Boulder Pearl Street Mall.

To update your records, from September 1st our new address will be:

1245 Pearl Street
Suite 201
Boulder, CO, 80302
USA

Please note, if you have our Amsterdam (Accerio BV) office in your records, this does not need to be updated.

Please ensure you update our address in your records from September onwards; our phone number will remain the same: +1-720-500-0310.

We will be operational throughout the move. If passing through Boulder, please stop by to say hello, we’d love to see you!

Changes to UK Household Take-Back Obligations

Household WEEE fo rUK Take Back article

Phase 4 of the UK Distributor Take-Back Scheme (DTS) which began in January 2017 will end in December of 2019, and there are currently no plans for what will take its place.

Under the current system, the DTS provides its members with an exemption from the take-back requirement of Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive (WEEE), which is to accept and arrange for the recycling of the customers’ old WEEE when a new and functionally equivalent piece of EEE is purchased.

The scheme functions by directing end-users to public recycling facilities where they can recycle their old products. Membership fees are used to fund projects that aim to increase the rate of WEEE collection, reuse and recycling in the UK, as well as the recycling points themselves.

This affects those companies that sell household products directly to end-users and, in the absence of the DTS program, these companies will have to establish a take-back system themselves, ensuring this is offered “in-store”. For online sellers, “in-store” means the website would need to clearly offer customers the opportunity to return their old WEEE at the time of buying a similar product.

A Government consultation on the current WEEE system towards the end of 2020 is planned and the DTS Steering Committee have been researching options for a new DTS phase starting in 2020. An interim DTS phase 5 is being considered until the consultation and review of the WEEE regulations has been completed.

When Phase 3 ended in 2016, confirmation of Phase 4 was not received until very last minute, so Accerio anticipates the same may happen again. As soon as we know the decision for 2020, we will be in touch with affected clients, either to ensure they register with the new phase or to advise how to comply with the take-back regulations.

Evaluation of the Batteries Directive

Batteries

The European Commission has conducted an evaluation of the Batteries Directive 2006/66/EC to determine the impact on the environment and the functioning of the internal market. The findings of this assessment may stimulate a revision of the Directive.

The positive conclusions were that the Batteries Directive:

  • Has delivered sum positive impacts on the environment and promoted batteries recycling
  • Has affected a significant reduction in Mercury and Cadmium content in batteries
  • Has increased Collection and Recycling rates; 2012 targets of 25% have largely been met, however it is notable that only 14 Member States have achieved the 2016 target of 45%

Gap analysis identified areas that need to still be addressed:

  • Extended Producer Responsibility Obligations for Industrial batteries are not well defined, with no provisions for collection, financing, and recycling of industrial batteries
  • Hazardous substances other than Mercury and Cadmium have not been addressed and have not been reduced
  • Re-use of advanced batteries is not addressed, and it is perceived by the majority of stakeholders as not supported by the directive
  • There is no mechanism to accommodate technological novelties and new usages, such as the re-use of lithium ion batteries.

The Batteries Directive has successfully incorporated some of the major circular economy goals, however, there is more progress to be made and it is likely that future amendments will aim to capture them in more depth. It is also anticipated that there will be clearer provisions for the EPR obligations for industrial batteries and new technologies and applications.

Defining a Component

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Accerio often receives questions on components and if they are considered in scope of WEEE. Although components are considered outside the scope of WEEE, it has always been a difficult question to answer as there were never very clear definitions of what is considered a component. Additionally, each company has their own definition of component that may or may not align with the intentions of the WEEE Directive. This lack of clarity has caused a lot of confusion and frustration with producers.

To assist with clarification of the component issue The European WEEE Registers Network (EWRN) has published guidance to help understand the difference between obligated WEEE and non-obligated components.

The European WEEE Registers Network (EWRN) 2019 guide provides the following definitions:

Components are

“…unfinished products that have no direct function for an end user. They are not intended for an end user. Components are intended for a producer for further processing into a (finished) product (the finished EEE)”

EEE is defined as

“EEE is an electrical and electronic product that can be used by and is intended for end users because it (already) works properly. Therefore, EEE is always a finished product that has a (i) direct function and that is (ii) intended for an end user.”

Direct Function is defined as:

“…any function which fulfils the intended use specified by the manufacturer in the instructions for use for an end user…Products are also considered to have a direct function even if they require a combination with other equipment or parts…”

A fundamental element to understand if the “component” is in scope of WEEE is if it is provided to an end-user or another manufacturer for further integration. If provided to the end-user, it is in scope of WEEE.

Additionally:

  • The component would not be in scope at the time it is being provided for further integration by another manufacturer; however, it potentially would be in scope when integrated into that manufacturer’s product. That is to say, it would make up the weight of the product when placed on the market.
  • If you are providing the component to an end-user for integration into a product, then it would be considered WEEE if it is a “finished good”. It is considered finished when it has a direct function and is intended for the end-user.

Some examples of components are cables without finished ends, transistors and capacitors, while items not considered a component include fuses, wall switches, miniature circuit breakers, cables with ends, sockets and hard drive. For further examples, please refer to the guidance.

The diagram below provides even better clarity on how to differentiate:

We highly recommend reviewing this document to understand if the “components” your company sells are out of scope. If you do require further support or have questions about the guidance, please feel free to contact the Accerio team for support.

August 2019 Newsletter Read More »

May 2019 Newsletter

Newsletter: May 2019

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

French Battery Discounts

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As part of French government policy, battery schemes in France have been directed to reward producers of more environmentally considerate battery chemistries with a bonus.  The objective is to financially incentivize preference for more ‘eco-conscious’ batteries to encourage producers to adjust the design of their products to choose more sustainable alternatives.

Batteries that qualify have certain qualities such as good economic value for recovery of the raw materials, especially for materials such as Cobalt, and battery life time as well as other features.

Discounted battery chemistries include:

  • Lithium accumulators using cobalt instead of secondary lithium accumulators. The reduced fee is 0.456 Euro per kg instead of the usual 0.479 Euro per kg. Examples are LCO (Lithium Cobalt Oxide), NMC (Lithium Nickel Manganese Cobalt) and NCA (Lithium Nickel Cobalt Aluminum)
  • Eco-versions of Alkaline batteries, which are those containing recycled materials. This does not apply to regular Alkaline batteries. The reduced fee is 0.360 Euro per kg instead of 0.372 Euro per kg.

Screlec, a French battery recycling organisation, is the first in France to implement the discounted fees for batteries with appropriate eco-criteria. Although the fee reduction is relatively small, the difference can add up, especially for large producers, and it is a good policy direction to encourage production and use of batteries that have more sustainable characteristics.

Brexit Update

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The official date for the UK to leave the EU is now October 31st of 2019 and, despite a great number of uncertainties, Accerio is able to provide some guidance based on probable outcomes. The good news is that it is likely that little will change for WEEE and battery waste management when Brexit does happen.

Some key known facts:

  • Regardless of any deals agreed on, once the UK leaves the European Union, it will no longer be an EU member state and UK entities will from that point on be regarded as Non-EU Entities.  There may be further extensions of the deadline affecting when this occurs, and also the possibility too that Article 50 may be rescinded and Brexit called off.
  • All EU laws are being transposed into UK law, so that, at least temporarily, the same targets and obligations will be applied to those selling EEE and batteries in the UK. Of course, in time, the UK could choose to follow a different route to the EU.

Those who may see significant changes due to Brexit are companies with UK based legal entities who sell to other countries in Europe, because some countries have different regulations and requirements in place for EU entities as compared to non-EU entities.

For example:

  • A local Authorized Representative is required by any EU entity that sells into Denmark, France, Ireland, Portugal or Sweden in order to register and report. Non-EU entities do not require one.
  • Taking over Reseller responsibilities in Czech Republic, Finland, France, Portugal and Sweden is permissible to EU entities only. After Brexit, any current UK based entities will no longer be able to do this and will need to advise their affected resellers that they will need to be able to register and report for themselves.
  • If any country is using a UK-based certification scheme for EU compliance, such RohS certification or the CE mark, they will no longer be authorized to do this after Brexit. Any EU-wide standard mark can only be issued by a company registered in an EU member state. The certification schemes will likely have a plan in place to ensure their continued authority after-Brexit, but please do ensure you have checked this.

In the event that a deal is struck allowing the UK to retain a semi-EU status, similar to EEA members, it is possible that the UK could be viewed as a 3rd Party country and included in some EU requirements, such as AR requirement for UK based entities.

In the meantime whilst all wait for a final decision, here are some helpful documents both the UK government and the EU have released advising businesses on the changes that will come if no deal is agreed upon.

UK guidance: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/how-to-prepare-if-the-uk-leaves-the-eu-with-no-deal

EU Guidance: https://ec.europa.eu/info/brexit/brexit-preparedness/preparedness-notices_en

EU Guide for non-food and non-agricultural products: https://ec.europa.eu/info/sites/info/files/file_import/industrial_products_en_1.pdf

EU Non-Food and non-agricultural FAQ: https://ec.europa.eu/info/sites/info/files/qa_brexit_industrial_products_en.pdf

The Benefits of Compliance

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The EU WEEE and batteries directives are critical to the sustainable management of the electronic and battery waste streams that have grown at an astonishing rate. It is anticipated that by 2020, in the EU alone, more than 12 million tonnes of electronic waste will be generated that year. 

The three pillars of sustainability- People, Planet, and Profit – are fundamental to the spirit of intention behind the WEEE and batteries directives.  These laws help to protect the health and well-being of everyone involved. Extended Producer Responsibility helps fund the management of all this waste according to the ‘Polluter Pays’ principle.

Waste electronics and batteries that end up in landfill contaminate soil, water and air, as toxic raw materials such as heavy metals and other compounds used in their manufacture, seep into the environment.

Transportation of WEEE and waste batteries to countries where regulation is poor or absent, impacts heavily on the health and well-being of vulnerable people who are employed in backyard ‘recycling’ operations where they are exposed to heavy metals and other contaminants.

Waste can be a valuable source of raw materials, especially as the scarcity of specific metals and minerals increases manufacturing and mining costs. And as recycling technologies improve, there are increasing economic benefits to the efficient re-use of these commodities.

Europe 2020’s growth Strategy aims to lead to a more resource efficient Europe, and compliance with the WEEE and Batteries Directives supports the objectives towards building a more sustainable society. Through the financing of recycling programs, producers contribute to better health and well-being of humans, animals, and plants by preventing landfill of electronics and batteries. Producers also benefit from the economic and logistical efficiencies through the recycling of valuable raw materials, especially as some of these materials become more scarce and prices increase.

May 2019 Newsletter Read More »

February 2019 Newsletter

Newsletter: February 2019

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

German Scope Updates

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At the beginning of the year the German WEEE authority announced that “passive” devices (devices that only transmit currents or signals) will be in scope as of the 1st of May and thus need to be registered  This development brings Germany into line with what is already common practice in many other European countries.

Here are some examples of passive devices: 

Passive devices are to be categorized in either category 4 (large devices), category 5 (small devices) or category 6 (small ICT devices).

Passive devices vs. components

To differentiate between Passive Devices and Components, the new rule is of relevance to end-equipment designed for operation with a maximum alternating voltage (AC) of 1,000 volts or a maximum direct voltage (DC) of 1,500 volts. Components, such as cable by the metre, ferrules or ring cable lugs, remain out of scope.

If you are a manufacturer of passive devices, you should check the following:

Do you already have a registration for the corresponding device type and brand?

Yes, I have the required registrations No, I am not registered in the required categories
From May onwards, we can simply add the quantities of your passive devices in the corresponding device type to your regular reporting. Please get in touch with us so that we can arrange for a respective registration. As the approval procedure by the respective Authority can take up to 12 weeks it would be preferable to apply for registration in February.

If you need any help within this process, please contact your Accerio Account Manager who will be happy to assist you.

2018 in Review

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2018 was a big year in the WEEE/e-waste, batteries and packaging compliance world, with some significant changes and developments.

  • The European Union underwent a significant change with the advent of new reporting categories, called Open Scope, to expand and facilitate improvement of recycling and reporting of electronic waste. The previous system used 10 categories and the new system has 6 categories for reporting and more products are now expected to be reported.
  • The German reporting structure underwent some big changes with the new packaging law and associated authority launching, plus bringing new products into scope (see passive instruments article for reference).
  • Poland launched the new BDO environment authority superseding the previous GIOS organization and expressed intent to increase enforcement activities. 
  • Portugal experienced significant changes in the reporting systems and procedures. Additionally the Portuguese Environmental Agency became more active in enforcing correct implementation of Authorized Representative requirements and notifying distance sellers of packaging obligations.
  • 2018 saw an increase in compliance enforcement activities across the EU, especially in Ireland and Germany, with a greater and more aggressive focus on the full range of compliance requirements that occur after registration.
  • The advent of the European WEEE Enforcement Network (EWEN) which co-ordinates environmental authorities across the EU started in late 2017 and stepped up their strategy and efforts to crack down on free-riders in 2018, especially the growing area of online sales of electronics.

The changes in 2018 demonstrate that ongoing monitoring of the ever changing EU WEEE, batteries and packaging compliance landscape is imperative to ensuring full and correct compliance with stricter enforcement expected in 2019, and Accerio as your compliance partner is here to ensure you are covered.

E-Waste Compliance in Canada

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In Canada, E-Waste laws are in place in all 10 provinces and in 2 out of 3 territories (with Nunavut the exception). Provincial and territorial governments regulate Extended Producer Responsibility programs through local law. Some governments began targeting e-waste management about 20 years ago, while others came into effect as recently as 2017.

 Canada requires producers to participate in an approved stewardship program and to pay the appropriate environmental handling fee (EHF) for each regulated product sold into a province or territory. While the country continues to move toward standardization of product categories, each province and territory maintains their own laws and individual list of products that are considered to be in scope of e-waste.

 EPR laws focus e-waste stewardship responsibility on a variety of players, including manufacturers, brand owners, importers and retailers. It can be difficult for companies that sell into Canada to know what their EPR requirements are, whether the products they sell are ‘regulated’ and into which province or territory they are considered to be regulated. In addition, regulated product lists continue to evolve, making it necessary to review obligation status on an ongoing basis. There are also battery and packaging laws in place which look at producer responsibility differently from e-waste, which adds to the complexity of meeting compliance requirements.

 If your products are sold into Canada and you would like to understand whether you have any obligations as a steward, you can simply contact Accerio for an obligation assessment. Our country experts keep track of this ever changing landscape and are available to help simplify compliance in Canada and help you fulfill your legal obligations. 

February 2019 Newsletter Read More »

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