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March 2024 Newsletter

Newsletter: March 2024

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

Amendment to the EU WEEE Directive

European_Commission

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

Peru Flag

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.

March 2024 Newsletter Read More »

June 2023 Newsletter

Newsletter: June 2023

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

Washington State Signs Battery EPR Bill

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In May 2023, the governor of Washington State signed SB 5144, a new Extended Producer Responsibility (“EPR”) battery law providing for responsible environmental management of batteries. The law’s EPR obligations cover portable and medium format batteries (batteries up to 25lbs), as well as devices that contain such batteries. Products within this scope will be gradually phased into program management between 2027 and 2029. However, certain exemptions apply based on battery removability, battery or product function, and battery size and chemistry.

Obligated producers are the battery or battery containing product’s manufacturer, brand owner/licensee, importer of record, or first person to place on the market. Producers must join a stewardship organization (collective organization) starting 2027. Additionally, battery labeling requirements are phased in from 2028-2030. The labeling requirements apply to all covered batteries and battery-containing products, plus large format batteries (batteries greater than 25lbs and rating more than 2000 watt-hours).

Washington also has an active E-Waste EPR legislation covering certain products containing screens. Please reach out to Accerio for an assessment of obligations in Washington and for updates as the program develops.

Maryland's First Step towards Packaging EPR

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The State of Maryland passed legislation SB-222 with an effective date of July 1, 2023. The law aims to carry out a statewide ‘Needs Assessment’ of the current recycling systems. Unlike the other packaging extended producer responsibility laws in California, Colorado, Maine, and Oregon, SB-222 does not detail rules for producers but rather informs future EPR laws in Maryland.

To achieve that, SB-222 calls for the creation of a producer responsibility organization (“PRO”) and a producer responsibility advisory council. The advisory council is responsible for providing recommendations for the establishment and implementation of a PRO in the state for packaging materials. Recommendations will include responsibilities of producers under the PRO. The Office of Recycling in the Department of the Environment will carry out the statewide recycling Needs Assessment through an independent consultant. On or before December 1, 2024, the advisory council will report its findings and recommendations to the governor.

Accerio will be tracking the result of the Needs Assessment and subsequent development of the packaging EPR program in Maryland. Please contact us for assessment of your company’s obligations under USA EPR laws.

Changes Ahead for Canadian Compliance

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Canada has several updates to provincial/territorial EPR programs on the horizon, both to existing and upcoming legislation. There are already 9 hazardous waste laws, 7 battery laws, 5 packaging laws, and 12 WEEE laws active that obligate a variety of selling models for EPR.
The following changes will impact producers:

  • Quebec updated their producer definition for multiple EPR waste streams, now obligating online retailers and distance sellers. In most cases, interest is charged for back-reporting.
  • Saskatchewan household packaging is transitioning to full EPR. Prior to the change, producers are responsible for 75% of program costs transitioning to 100% of costs under the new system.
  • The New Brunswick Packaging + Paper Program is shifting away from a municipal-funded collection system to an EPR program.
  • Northwest Territories published draft legislation to serve as the legal basis for future EPR programs. If approved, initial work will determine which waste streams will be covered.
  • Yukon commits to implement EPR by 2025 for household batteries, packaging, and hazardous waste, as well as automotive waste, though no further announcements have been made.

Accerio can assess your company’s current and future obligations, manage registrations, and provide legislative monitoring.

Uruguay Draft WEEE Regulation

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The Uruguayan government published a draft for the Regulation on Comprehensive Management of WEEE (Reglamento para la gestión integral de residuos de aparatos eléctricos y electrónicos) on February 27, 2023. As of today, it is under discussion in congress and has not been approved.

The draft proposes to implement an EPR system for General WEEE producers and importers, including obligations to register and implement an individual or collective management plan for WEEE, and collection and recycling targets. The draft distinguishes between “General” and “Non-General” WEEE, the former being those devices that can be used indistinctly in household, businesses, or industry, and the latter are those devices that are specifically destined to be used in business or industrial environments. The regulation will not impose EPR obligations to producers and importers of Non-General WEEE but includes obligations to other stakeholders involved in waste management, such as waste processors and recyclers. The draft regulations will apply to an open scope of Electronic and Electric Equipment (“EEE”), including components, consumables, their accessories, and their integrated batteries. If approved, there will be requirements for EEE producers to promote durability and repairability and inform consumers of repair and take-back options.

Though the finalized timeline will not be clear until approval, the current draft indicates collection target deadlines beginning in 2024 and scaling up to an 85% collection target 5 years after the law’s publication. Accerio will update potentially impacted clients if the draft is approved.

June 2023 Newsletter Read More »

March 2023 Newsletter

Newsletter: March 2023

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

EU Packaging Regulation Proposal

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In November 2022, the European Commission proposed a European Packaging and Packaging Waste Regulation, addressing crucial sustainability and safety topics throughout packaging’s entire life cycle. A key distinction between the proposed Regulation and current Packaging Directive is that the Regulation will create a harmonized framework for all EU Member States without transposition in their local legal system. If approved, the Regulation will repeal the currently in force Packaging Directive.

Key aspects:

  • Obligations for all parties in the supply chain who place packaging on the EU market, for all packaging levels (primary, secondary and tertiary), and all packaging materials
  • New obligations throughout the life cycle of packaging, starting from its design and manufacturing to its end-of-life. Touching upon topics such as:
    • Recyclability
    • Minimum recycled content in plastic packaging
    • Targets for reusable packaging usage
    • Harmonized packaging labeling
    • Mandatory Authorized Representative appointment in each Member State where the obligated party places products on the market
    • Provisions on communication of information to end users
  • Prohibition on Member States introducing additional sustainability requirements if they are contrary to the Regulation’s provisions or restrict the free movement of goods in the EU Single Market

It is of note that the provision forbidding contrary or restrictive sustainability requirements is in line with the recent infringement procedure by the EU Commission that included the France Triman labeling requirements. More specifically, the Triman initiative has been considered an action that leads to the fragmentation of the Single Market; the EU Commission has called France to comply with its legal obligations deriving from the EU law. France has until 15th of April 2023 to respond to the concerns of the EU Commission.

The legislative process for drafts like the Packaging Regulation lasts around 18 months but there are steps that you can take to prepare. Please contact Accerio for more information and assistance preparing for the Packaging Regulation.

New E-Waste Rules in India

The Indian government announced new E-Waste Management Rules (E-Waste Rules) on November 2nd, 2022 that are set to enter into force on April 1st, 2023. The E-Waste Rules will replace the E-Waste Management Rules 2016. The legislation will apply to manufacturers, producers, refurbishers, dismantlers, and recyclers involved in any part of the product’s life. The scope has been greatly expanded from the 2016 E-Waste Rules to include solar photo-voltaic panels, certain IT equipment, additional consumer devices, tools and appliances, as well as medical devices.

Manufacturers and Producers shall comply with Extended Producer Responsibility obligations, which among others, are:

  • Registration through the new centralized portal
  • Fulfillment of annual EPR targets
  • Submitting annual and quarterly reports

The E-Waste Rules also allow for reductions in management quantity through purchasing refurbishing certificates. Additionally, there are important changes to the responsibilities of Bulk Consumers, reducing their obligations and shifting responsibilities to other parties in the supply chain. Contact Accerio for an assessment of your obligations under India’s new E-Waste Management Rules.

Belgium Draft Repairability and Durability Legislation

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In September 2022, the Belgium Ministry of Environment published a draft law together with three draft decrees on the subjects of Repairability and Durability score for electronic devices (as well as software compatibility). The draft law introduces a repairability index for electronic devices. The proposed standards are similar to those in France’s 2020 AGEC Law. Belgium’s proposed index is based on several criteria, such as the availability of technical information and maintenance manuals, the ease with which the product can be dismantled, the availability of spare parts and their delivery time, and the price of spare parts.

The new law will also be introducing a durability index as a possible way to supplement the repairability index. The draft decree provides the modalities of communication, format of the repairability index and accessibility to technical standards, a software compatibility obligation, as well as the products covered by the repairability score (some examples of the covered products are washing machines, smartphones, TVs, and laptops).

Public consultation on the drafts closed on the 22nd of March 2023. The drafts are now in the first reading phase at the Federal government level and a publishing date has yet to be announced. The drafts are scheduled to enter into force 6 months after its publication.

March 2023 Newsletter Read More »

March 2022 Newsletter

Newsletter: March 2022

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

France Labeling Obligations for Household Products

According to the French Anti-waste Law and the respective Decrees published on the 29th of June 2021, producers placing Household products obligated under EPR on the French market are required to mark their products with the Triman symbol and the accompanying harmonized sorting information, as approved by the French Authorities.

The products affected are:

  • Household WEEE
  • Portable Batteries and Accumulators
  • Household Photovoltaic Panels
  • Household Lamps
  • Household Packaging

On the 15th of December 2021, the French Authorities approved harmonized sorting and return information that will accompany the Triman logo for the first four product categories. After thorough consultations, the respective eco-organizations confirmed the finalized format and issued the labelling guidelines for producers in mid-January 2022. The packaging information was approved earlier in 2021, with a slightly different format than the other four product categories.

The Triman symbol and the sorting information became mandatory on all household products as of 2022, though there is an extended period for producers to bring products into compliance. Please contact us for more information on the new requirements.

Phase 6 of the UK WEEE DTS is Up and Running!

Under the UK WEEE Regulation, household WEEE distributors are obligated to provide a free of charge, one-for-one basis take-back option to private end-users. This requires the distributor to take any product back for recycling when a private end-user buys a product that fulfills the same function, regardless of the EEE brand or its original seller.

Distributors have two compliance options to fulfill this requirement:

  • Offer in-store take-back of WEEE on a one-for-one basis or
  • Join the Distributor Take-back Scheme (DTS)

DTS is an approved scheme by the UK government that has been running in two-year phases since 2007. The most recent phase (Phase 6) runs from the 1st of January 2022 through December 2023. Being a DTS member exempts distributors from the obligation to provide in-store one-for-one take-back. The DTS increases the rate of WEEE collection, reuse and recycling in the UK while making complying with take-back requirements feasible for foreign and online distributors. Accerio assesses clients for distributor obligations on an ongoing basis and makes recommendations on the best compliance options. Please contact us for more information on the DTS and compliance in the UK.

Marketplaces’ New Role in EU EPR Compliance

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Marketplaces are online platforms that enable businesses to offer their products for sale under their own name, risk, and liability, directly to end-users and resellers. The marketplace acts as an intermediary, providing a platform to bring sellers and buyers together to conclude sales contracts in which the marketplace itself is not party.

Unfortunately, online retail through marketplaces has been a common sales channel of non-compliant or ‘freeriding’ producers in the EU. Addressing this has been discussed in the EU for many years and is a stated priority in the preparation of the 2023 Waste Framework Directive. Though no official guidance has been published by the EU, a few member states have proactively defined the marketplaces’ role in the EPR compliance framework.

Beginning the 1st of January 2022, France AGEC law established that marketplaces hosting obligated products are required to comply with the French EPR legislation on behalf of the producers selling through the platform or ensure the producers themselves are compliant. In response to these requirements, most marketplaces require evidence or supporting documentation of the producer’s compliance for each applicable EPR waste stream as a condition to sell through the marketplace.

In Germany, the German Packaging Act, VerpackG, details a supervisory role for marketplaces over their vendors’ packaging compliance. Third parties who sell through an online marketplace are required to provide their EPR registration number to the marketplace. If the producer fails to provide this information, the marketplace is obligated to ban them from selling through their platform.

In both examples, marketplaces face significant fines if they fail to follow these requirements. Accerio is monitoring the development of EU-wide legislation and, in the meantime, similar measures that are expected to be adopted by other countries.

Draft of a Circular Economy Law for Mexico

The Mexican Senate approved the Circular Economy General Law draft on 18 November 2021, now under review of the Environment and Natural Resources Commission of the Chamber of Deputies. The law would promote the efficient use of products, services, materials, energy, water, and secondary raw materials, by means of clean manufacturing and principles of reuse, recycling, and redesign. Mainly, the purpose is to transition from a linear to a circular economy in Mexico.

If approved, the Law will create the following obligations for EEE and packaging producers:

  • Packaging producers must prepare and file a Circular Economy Plan and EEE producers must have a Waste Plan in place with the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources (“SEMARNAT” for its acronym in Spanish).
  • Producers will need to meet consumer communication requirements as well as collection, recovery, and valorization rates that will be set in the secondary legislation.
  • Producers must also consider minimum recycled plastic content goals for packaging, starting with 20% by 2025 and 30% by 2030.

Accerio will monitor the progression of the law and reach out to clients who are likely to be impacted by the requirements. The draft details significant sanctions for infractions to the law, so we encourage producers to contact us for more information.

March 2022 Newsletter Read More »

February 2021 Newsletter

Newsletter: February 2021

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

EU Batteries Regulation Proposal

The EU Commission has made a proposal to repeal the current Batteries Directive 2006/66/ED and amend Regulation (EU) No 2019/1020. The proposed changes aim to harmonize the batteries waste compliance requirements among EU Member States and to standardize the registration procedure for producers and other actors in the supply chain.

There is an opportunity for public comment available to Producers and interested parties until March 1st, 2021, via this link. For Producers and Manufacturers of batteries, this is an important opportunity to have your voice heard about the proposed changes.
Important key proposed changes include:

  • Definition changes for the key terms “Producer”, ‘’Distributors’’, “Placing on the Market”, and “Making available on the Market”.
  • Battery manufacturers “not established in an EU Member State” will be required to appoint an Authorized Representative.
  • Electric vehicle batteries will be brought into scope as a fourth battery type.
  • Increased transparency of supply chain by establishing and operating a system of control and traceability.
  • A focus on increased collection of portable batteries, including increasing the collection target over time (65% by 2025, and 70% by 2030).
  • New information, labelling, sustainability, and safety requirements, including for example, a QR code to be placed on batteries.
  • The introduction of recycling efficiencies and recovery targets, with a schedule to increase over time, for specific raw materials, including lithium, lead, cobalt, copper, and nickel.
  • Extended producer responsibility (EPR) for industrial batteries.
  • Portable battery definition to include also batteries used in light vehicle (such as scooters and electric bikes) with a maximum weight threshold of 5 Kg.
  • Setting out in detail the model structure for the EU Declaration of Conformity.
  • Distributors of batteries will carry responsibilities to ensure Manufacturers, AR’s, Importers, and other distributors are appropriately registered to sell, and that the batteries are properly compliant with CE Mark, DoC and other requirements, including applicable documentation.

The 2020 European Green Deal’s New Circular Economy Action Plan has identified batteries as a category of products that are a high use of resources, but also great potential for recycling and circularity. The market demand for batteries is expected to dramatically increase over the next decade, especially for lithium batteries. The proposed changes are deemed necessary to address the urgent need for increased battery production, and investment and capacity expansion for recycling and handling capability.

 

 

French Repairability Index

France is the first EU country to implement a key element of the EU Circular Economy Package with the introduction of a Repairability Index for a selection of EEE products. This index is in force as of the 1st of January 2021. Products in scope will need to list the Repairability Index on the product packaging, on a label or online using a specific logo and color.

To begin with, products required to comply are the following:

  • Washing machines
  • TVs
  • Computers and Laptops
  • Mobile phones
  • Corded lawnmowers
  • Battery operated lawnmowers
  • Robotic lawnmowers

Producers or importers will be responsible for calculating and communicating the Index to all parties in the supply chain, and sellers both online and with a physical store must present the Index “in a visible manner on each product offered for sale/in the presentation of the equipment and close to its price”.

The Reparability Index is represented by a grade between 1 and 10, with calculations based on five specific criteria, to inform end-users about the “possibility to repair a product”.

The criteria are:

  1. Availability of the technical documentation, for use, maintenance, and repair
  2. Ease of disassembly, access, and removal of worn parts
  3. Availability of and access to spare parts
  4. Price of spare parts, especially relative to the cost of the item itself
  5. Product specific criteria such as accessibility to remote assistance for repair and possibility of a software reset.

The system will certainly evolve over time to include other requirements and quite likely an expanded product list, and in the early stages there are no sanctions for non-compliance. There are increased specifications planned; from 2022 manufacturers and importers will be required to provide essential spare parts, and in 2023 extended producer responsibility for financing the repair of products is expected. The Repairability Index will influence product design and purchasing habits, and other countries will soon follow suit.
If your products are in scope with the new legislation in France, please contact Accerio for additional information.

German Battery Changes

There are some new procedures for the management of end-of-life batteries in Germany, following changes to the German Battery law.

The Stiftung EAR has now taken over the role as the responsible organization for battery registrations from the UBA. There is a grace period until 01.01.2022 for transfer of current registrations, provided that the battery information at the UBA was up to date at year-end 2020. If your German battery registration is managed by Accerio, we have ensured all details were up to date by the end of 2020.

Main changes to the system include:

  • The collection target for portable batteries increased from 45 to 50%.
  • Collection systems for portable batteries will require approval by the Stiftung EAR.
  • Fees for portable batteries will be structured to provide an incentive to Producers to minimize the use of hazardous substances.
  • From now on firms that do not have a local German entity can appoint an authorized representative. However it is important to note that this is not a mandatory requirement.

The information requirements for producers to provide to customers have become more extensive. End users of batteries will need to be informed about measures to reduce waste and pollution of the environment from spent batteries, the options they have to prepare batteries for re-use, and the potential risks associated with lithium batteries.

Producers of industrial and automotive batteries need to publish the recycling rates they achieved last year on their website before the 31st of May. Furthermore, the German Environment Agency has now the right to request take-back documentation approved by an independent auditor/expert.

If you have any questions about your Producer obligations for batteries in Germany, please contact Accerio for support.

New EPR Legislation in South Africa

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South Africa will begin enforcement of a comprehensive Extended Producer Responsibility law for electronic waste, packaging, and batteries on May 1, 2021, although existing producers will be granted six additional months to move into compliance. After this point, EPR schemes will be regulated and subject to approval by the Environmental Department. Critically, the law stipulates that both foreign and domestic entities will be obligated as producers.

Additional facets of the law include:

  • Participation in a Product Responsibility Organization (PRO) or individual compliance, a change from the previous voluntary system.
  • Scope of EEE categorized under three classes of products: large, medium, and small equipment.
  • Obligations for integrated batteries.
  • Registration with the national authority for most consumer products in the above categories
  • Mandatory take-back and labeling
  • Reporting concerning the above actions and the amounts of product placed on the market.
  • Separate provisions for lighting products, with specific collection criteria and product scope; carrying different requirements than most EEE.

With respect to packaging obligations, the new law introduces EPR for all packaging types and materials, as well as for certain single-use products, following the EU Packaging Directive’s scope.

In terms of WEEE, violations of the Law can be punished by imprisonment, significant fines, or both. Doubtless the de facto requirements of the law will shift with its implementation and subsequent legislation which can be expected in November of 2021.

February 2021 Newsletter Read More »

November 2020 Newsletter

Newsletter: November 2020

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

Singapore Packaging Update

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The next phase of Singapore’s new suite of Extended Producer Responsibility Waste laws, incorporating Packaging, is ready to roll out in Q1 2021.

The spirit of intention of this legislation is to drive a reduction of packaging waste in Singapore, with a focus on packaging reduction and re-use, recycled content, and increased recyclability of packaging.
Actors who meet the definition of packaging producer in Singapore, include local entities who are importing regulated goods and packaging into Singapore.

Packaging Producers will be required to collect packaging data starting from January 1 2021 in order to be prepared for packaging reporting by the end of the year. The reporting required involves submission of plans that indicate initiatives to reduce packaging pollution, including specific targets and performance indicators and reviews of progress.

The Singapore Resource Sustainability Act focuses on definitions of exclusion, and most regulated goods and specified packaging are in scope, unless they meet any of the exclusion criteria. The list of regulated goods is available, and Accerio can help to determine if your products meet the definitions.

Penalties for non-compliance are not insignificant and include financial penalties with steep daily fines in some cases and imprisonment for persistent non-compliance and subsequent convictions.

If your company is importing regulated goods and packaging into Singapore, or if you unsure if your products fall into the definitions of regulated goods, please reach out to Accerio for assistance to register and be compliant with the Singaporean law.

EU Tax on Non-Recyclable Plastic

January 1, 2021 the EU non-recyclable plastics tax will come into effect. The tax is part of a Coronavirus recovery package. The €0.80 per Kg tax will be levied on EU Member state governments and will be calculated on the reported weight of non-recyclable plastic placed on the market in each country. Lesser economically developed countries will be granted exemptions.

Because it is individual EU Member States and not the non-recyclable plastics Producers themselves who are covered by this tax, it leaves a great amount of discretion for how this cost could be passed on to Producers, or not, as they see fit. Specific details are not yet available about which products the tax will apply to, or what exemptions may exist.

Because EU Member states will receive tax incentives from the EU Commission for higher rates of recycling, it is reasonable to expect that they will enact punitive economic instruments and policies targeting Producers who place unrecyclable plastics on the EU market. Whilst we cannot yet tell what the costs will be to Producers, what we can expect is enhanced scrutiny of plastics reporting by Producers, and almost certainly some kind of increase in fees and costs for Producers affected.

Regardless of the specific outcome of this tax, the trend is clear. There is a consistent push towards more recyclable packaging, and less of it, with taxes and laws coming into force in the next 12+ months in many European Member States. In anticipation of fee increases from this tax and other similar policies there is a window of opportunity now for Packaging Producers to analyze packaging used and work with supply chains to identify unrecycled plastics in use and possible recyclable alternatives, as well as potential to reduce the amount of packaging used.

Ontario 2021 WEEE Law Relaunch

On January 1, 2021 the new Ontario Electronic Waste law (The Electrical and Electronic Equipment (EEE) Regulation under the Resource Recovery and Circular Economy Act, 2016, O. Reg. 522/20: Electrical and Electronic Equipment) comes into force, obligating an expanded range of Electrical and Electronic Equipment. Products covered by the law include Telecommunications, Audio visual, and IT products, with spare parts and cables now included as well.

It is important to note that rechargeable batteries sold integrated in products were previously exempted, however all chemistries of integrated batteries will now carry obligations under the new E-Waste law. All standalone batteries, of all chemistries weighing < 5Kg are covered by Ontario’s new Battery law that commenced on July 1 2020 and was covered in our last newsletter.

The registration deadline with the Ontario authority was originally set for November 30, 2020, which didn’t permit much time to prepare, so this has been extended now until January 31, 2021. Registration requires submission of sales data from 2018 and 2019 in order to determine obligation thresholds, so Producers who have been selling Electrical and Electronic Goods, products with integrated batteries, or stand-alone or replacement batteries from that time frame should please contact Accerio as a matter of high priority for assistance in preparing reporting data in time for your registration application.

Please note that for Accerio clients who are currently already registered and complying through the collective EPRA will also need to register with the Authority (RPRA) but can continue complying through a collective organization, and your Account Manager will contact you to process this adjustment.

Year-End Reporting Preparation

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2021 is almost upon us, and with it comes the end-of-year WEEE, Batteries, and Packaging reporting. All Producers selling these types of goods anywhere in the EU will be required to report, which makes for a lot of very 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 that you may not have advised us of yet. 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 done by yourselves or any third parties, please send us the data and information. We may need a report directly from the recycling facility on how the take-back was recycled, so please ensure you know who to contact to obtain these reports.

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.

November 2020 Newsletter Read More »

August 2020 Newsletter

Newsletter: August 2020

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

Ontario's New Battery Law

Ontario battery recycling

The Province of Ontario in Canada has a new battery law that came into force on July 1 2020 as part of the Resource Recovery and Circular Economy Act: Ontario Regulation 30/20. Battery producers who place any sold-separately battery that weighs less than 5 Kg on the Ontario market are defined as obligated “Stewards”. Both single-use and rechargeable batteries are obligated. Stewards will be considered individually accountable and financially responsible for the resource recovery (reuse, refurbishment, or processing) of those end-of-life batteries that fall within the scope of obligated batteries.

The definition of a battery steward encompasses a variety of scenarios, but it does capture most sellers, with variables such as which party is the brand holder, their residency status in Ontario and Canada, and to whom the battery is sold. Some exemptions apply for specific scenarios.

Integrated batteries, meaning batteries that are sold already inside a product, are exempted from this law. However, a new electronic waste law is in the pipeline for Ontario and due to come into force early 2021. This is expected to encompass integrated batteries.

Requirements for compliance include free collection networks for consumers, the need for promotional and education materials until the end of 2022 to increase consumer awareness, and most producers will be likely to need to source services from a Producer Responsibility Organization to meet the legal obligations.

If your company sells portable batteries weighing less than 5 Kg on the Ontario market, or in any Canadian province, please contact Accerio for more details about your potential obligations.

UK Plastic Packaging Tax

From April 2022, the UK government will impose a £200 per tonne tax on plastic packaging that contains less than 30% recycled plastic. Plastic packaging is defined as packaging materials where plastic is the predominant material. The tax is designed to grow the recycled plastics market to meet increased demand and divert more waste from landfill. Most of the provisions have been finalized, however a few details are yet to be confirmed, including whether or not to exempt transit packaging intended only to protect products during transport.

This tax will apply to:

  • Large Producers: who place more than 10,000 Kg of plastic packaging on the UK market annually
  • UK Packaging Producers
  • UK Packaging Importers, if the packaging is produced outside of the UK
  • All packaging, regardless whether it is empty or filled, to all end users

This tax will not apply to:

  • Small producers: who place less than 10, 000 Kg of plastic packaging on the UK market annually
  • Foreign distance sellers (see above, the UK importer will carry obligation)

Quarterly reporting on packaging will be mandatory, with declarations required of all weights of packaging placed on the market (POM).  The tax applying to packaging in scope will be administered through Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) Department, and unless packaging is declared – with evidence – to contain at least 30% recycled material, the tax will apply to the total weight POM.

April 2022 will be here before we know it, so it is advisable to look now at supply chains to determine the % recycled content of plastic packaging used, and if proof of the recycled content exists in the form of certification or specification sheets.

New Eco-Design Regulations

Eco Design repair screen

The new EU Eco-design regulations, adopted as part of the Circular Economy package’s Eco-Design Working Plan, are coming into force in 2021, with the objective of increasing the repair, reuse, and recyclability of the products targeted. The 10 regulations apply to all products in scope that are placed on the EU Market regardless of their country of manufacture.  The product categories targeted are:

  1. Household Refrigerators
  2. Refrigerators with a direct sales function (e.g. fridges in supermarkets, vending machines)
  3. Washing Machines
  4. Dishwashers
  5. Welding Equipment
  1. Electronic Displays (including most computer monitors and televisions)
  2. Light Sources and Separate Control Gears
  3. External Power Supplies
  4. Electric Motors
  5. Power Transformers

The Eco-Design Regulations have a direct application, with no need for transposition into local legislation. The 2021 deadlines vary, the first being March for electronic displays, April for external power supplies, July for electric motors and power transformers, September for light sources.

The new requirements are focusing on lower limits for the Energy Efficiency Index and are bringing new material efficiency specifications. The Regulations are strengthening the concepts of products designed for repair and reuse, and design for dismantling, recycling and recovering, in accordant with the Waste Hierarchy. More, specific information will have to be made available in the technical documentation and on the producer website, together with specific labelling requirements, especially for some plastic components.

For Producers it may impact on production strategies and costs, with the decision to be made whether to manufacture compliant product lines specifically to be sold in Europe or to make products bound for all geographies in line with these regulations.

If you are interested in more information regarding Eco-Design Regulations, please contact Accerio for an introduction to the new requirements.

The Impact of POPs

POPs Old monitor

From July 15, 2020 the recast EU Regulation on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) came into force, repealing the previous POP’s Regulation. POPs are problematic for all biological life, and legacy Electronic and Electrical Equipment (EEE) containing these materials will now face increased treatment requirements, driving up WEEE treatment costs across Europe.

The new regulation aligns more closely with the REACH regulation and the Waste Framework Directive, with greater clarification of definitions to ensure unity across the EU. The list of POP chemicals included has been expanded, applying restrictions on the use of specific substances in manufactured products, as well as more detail of end-of -life treatment methods that must be used for certain products containing chemicals.

These chemicals are not as plentiful in current manufacturing as they once were but, they are still being collected in older WEEE processed. For example, many household electrical items, such as televisions and computer monitors, used to be manufactured using brominated flame retardants to reduce their risk of catching fire if overheating. These old items can no longer be recycled with other WEEE and must now be subject to thermal treatment at a hazardous waste plant.

As yet it is not clear how or when collective organizations and authorities will pass on the costs, or if they will instead absorb them, but it is probable that the increased handling overheads will translate into increase fees for Producers across the EU.

August 2020 Newsletter Read More »

May 2020 Newsletter

Newsletter: May 2020

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

Demonstration, Research, and Development Units: when are they considered WEEE in the European Union?

R&D

A question often asked is “when are demonstration units or research electrical devices exempted from being categorized as WEEE in the EU?”. The EU WEEE Directive 2012/19/EU in Article 2(4)(f) states that an exemption applies to:

equipment specifically designed solely for the purposes of research and development that is only made available on a business-to-business basis;

The intention of this exemption is to not create burdens with electronic waste laws that would stifle innovation, research, and development.

The European Commission’s guidance in the Frequently Asked Question (FAQ) reference defines the circumstances when the exemption does not apply:

Standard equipment, such as monitoring devices or instruments for chemical analysis and other laboratory equipment, that can be used both for R&D applications and in commercial or other applications does not benefit from this exclusion. Neither does the exclusion apply to equipment designed and placed on the market to test, validate or monitor R&D equipment and/or prototypes

It is important to note that whilst the FAQ is not a legally binding document, the guidance carries significant weight when determining applicability of the rules.

This means demonstration units are not exempted and are considered WEEE in the European Union.  The key defining feature for exemption is products that are still in a conceptual stage, such as a product in development, still being designed, and not yet in production. Finished products placed on the market for evaluation by potential clients are WEEE and as such carry the associated compliance obligations.  If you would like to check to see if your products are exempted or not, please contact us at Accerio to discuss an obligation assessment.

Financial Guarantee In Europe Overview

Safe

In some EU countries WEEE Producers are required to have a Financial Guarantee in place. If it is required in an EU country where a registration is in place, then you should already be compliant with this requirement and Accerio will have put it in place for you.

What is a financial guarantee, and why is this requirement in place?
The intention of the WEEE directive 2012/19/EU is that those who place products on the European market (i.e. producers) should finance the costs of the end of life management of these products. This includes a provision that in the event that the company ceases to exist, the costs of managing their products does not fall on society or on other producers.

The financial guarantee also represents one of the rules governing how waste can be shipped into or out of a country. Producers must ensure that there is enough money available for the Environment Agencies to deal with the waste if the shipment is not completed, including the cost of returning the exported waste.

The costs are calculated according to the amount of EEE placed on the market, taking into consideration that will one day it will become waste (i.e. WEEE).

The producer can choose to fulfil this obligation individually or in many EU countries can satisfy the requirements by joining a collective scheme. If complying individually, in principal there are two major approaches for the individual guarantee:

  • bank deposit/blocked account (in cash)
  • bank guarantee (on a contractual basis with a monthly interest to be paid by the notifier)

EU Member States agree that the financial guarantee itself depends on the hazardousness of the waste, quantity, transportation route, etc., and it is strictly calculated according to the national/regional formulas. The totals can differ because the disposal costs and quantities for the waste vary greatly. In some regions, as a rule, companies apply for partial guarantees, covering only a subset of transports at a time.

For many companies, the financial guarantee will never be used, as long as the company remains functioning; but it is important that a contingency exists in case it is ever needed.

Africa: Electronic Waste Extended Producer Obligations Overview

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In Africa market failures are generating pressure for an increase in implementation of WEEE/E-Waste laws, with Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) programs, and associated compliance requirements.

Currently only Ghana, Nigeria, Rwanda, and South Africa have legislation in force that is binding, with varying degrees of operational capacity. The definition of obligated producers and products covered by these laws varies, but most include foreign manufacturers in the definition of obligated Producers. Kenya has WEEE legislation in place and Cameroon has proposed legislation in progress, with both still to implement fully operational EPR programs.

Africa has rapidly growing electronic waste streams from both imported E-waste and second-hand electronics, as well as local generation. The UN Global E-waste Monitor estimates that less than 1% of all the E-Waste in Africa is currently collected, with the growth in electronic waste generated expected to reach a net volume of over 50 million tonnes in total by 2020.

The capacity for growth in this region is manifest, and along with insufficient municipal funding to address the problem, there is an increased interest in development of EPR programs. Given the need for solutions, it is expected that other countries in Africa will follow suit with their own electronic waste laws including EPR programs.

If you are selling electronics products into Africa and wish to understand your obligations, please contact us at Accerio to discuss a compliance obligation assessment.

May 2020 Newsletter Read More »

March 2020 Newsletter

Newsletter: March 2020

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

Compliance Is Going Digital

The use of Electronic IDs is becoming mainstream in the EU for WEEE, batteries and packaging compliance and is increasingly required to perform required compliance activities including registration and reporting. The European Union Directive 910/2014, eIDAS (Electronic Identification, Authentication and Trust Services), directs that from September 2018 all organizations using digital services must recognize electronic identification from all EU member states. At Accerio we are seeing this roll out as more and more countries are adopting this system, and countries outside of Europe increasingly have similar systems and requirements.

The use of E-ID’s provides safer and more efficient electronic interaction between businesses, citizens and public authorities, and these digital transactions have the same legal standing as paper transactions. The main purpose of the regulation is to strengthen the cross-border collaboration and to reduce the time and effort when it comes to some administrative tasks, and to provide transparency and inter-operability to support the new Digital Single Market.

Producers registered for WEEE, batteries or packaging in the European Union may need to apply for an E-ID in the EU member state where they sell from, and implement trust services programs in their business system, in order to comply with EPR compliance obligations. Some EU countries have had electronic ID systems in place for a few years, but it is a more recent development to have these IDs recognized in EU Member States other than the one where they were issued. Some countries already have their systems up and running and others are coming online now with partial implementation and limited access for a specific short list of countries, which is expected to expand.
As E-ID’s become more common Accerio will reach out as related changes occur that affect your registrations.

Singapore’s Electronic Waste EPR Program Goes Live

Singapore has launched their new electronic waste Extended Producer Responsibility program for electronic waste and packaging. The program is being rolled out in phases with phase 1 now in operation (active from January 1, 2020) with the establishment of a national Producer register requiring obligated Producers to register in order to sell electronic products covered according to the Resource Sustainability Act 2019.

Later this year phase 2 will come into effect and when the new packaging obligations apply. The remaining provisions of the program will be established by July 2021.

Producer requirements have some similarities to the EU WEEE responsibilities including:

  • Registration for obligated producers
  • Reporting weights and units sold
  • Join a Producer Responsibility Scheme (for specific producers)
  • Facilitate free takeback
  • Takeback reporting
  • Public Education

Unique features of the system influence obligations, which can include minimum thresholds and product scope, and individuals would need to be assessed to determine compliance responsibilities. Non-compliance carries significant financial penalties, including potential conviction of an offence under the Singaporean act and imprisonment, and the Act includes a provision for the right for authorized officers to conduct surprise inspections.

If you’d like to know more and understand your obligations in Singapore, please reach out to us on singapore@accerio.com and we’d be happy to conduct an assessment to determine if responsibilities apply.

EU Waste Regulations Amendments

The EU is currently reviewing the Waste Framework Directive, as part of the new Circular Economy Package. This will have an impact on all Member States and will create changes for WEEE, battery and packaging producers.

The outcome is projected to be a system that is in greater harmony with the tenets of a circular economy. The new model is expected to promote a growth in secondary markets for used but still functioning EEE, with an increased focus on making better use of EEE to reduce the amount of electronic waste and create products that are less polluting than previous versions.

The drivers of change for Member states will be:

  • Member States must facilitate:
    • Innovation of production
    • Models to reduce hazardous substances in materials and production
    • Encourage increased lifespan of products
    • Promote re-use and use of recycled products
    • Promote recycling of materials.
  • Minimum operating requirements for extended producer responsibility schemes.
  • Member States’ obligation to set up separate collection for paper, metal, plastic, and glass waste, and better measures for re-use of waste after its collection, and recycling.

The anticipated impacts from these programs on Producers are expected to include:

  • Product design changes to improve life-span, repairability, recyclability and re-useability of products and packaging, which may include requirements for example such as making repair manuals readily available
  • Increased standards for chemical/pollutant content of product material composition, with a stronger connection between waste compliance and chemical compliance (REACH and RoHS legislation)
  • A possible increase in reporting for adherence to new measures with e.g. declaration statements, quality control, self-monitoring, and accreditation requirements etc.

As the specifics of the program become available Accerio will keep you informed.

March 2020 Newsletter Read More »

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