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Can you register for WEEE without Batteries and Packaging?

December 20th, 2018

Background: The Three Directives 

The EU Directives on WEEE, Batteries and Packaging and Packaging Waste are standalone articles of European law which individually set collection, recycling and recovery targets for either electrical goods, batteries or packaging. Most EU member states have developed separate organisations to facilitate compliance to each Directive, usually with different national registers for WEEE, batteries and packaging producers.

Even though manufacturers selling into Europe are often obligated as WEEE, batteries and packaging producers at the same time, many register only as a WEEE producer when prompted to do so by the WEEE regulatory authorities. The fact that the majority of enforcement action relates to non-compliance with the WEEE regulations may account for some of the short fall of batteries and packaging registrations; however, as discussed in more detail below, the ability of producers to register only for WEEE and avoid any batteries and packaging registrations may be changing.

Increasing Pressure on Batteries and Packaging Producers?

Awareness and pressure to tackle online ‘free-riding’ is increasing and member states’ tolerance of non-compliance is decreasing. For example, Ireland has recently announced plans to implement Fixed Penalty notices for breaches in WEEE and batteries compliance and Germany will soon introduce a stricter new packaging law, VerpackV, which will require all packaging producers to register prior to placing any packaging on the German market, potentially blocking unregistered sales. 

In addition, manufacturers which were not previously obligated may be required to register for batteries and packaging in the future. A number of EU member states already make foreign producers obligated for batteries and packaging even though this is not specifically required under the Batteries and Packaging Directives. With the introduction of the EU Circular Economy Package including the requirement for Extended Producer Responsibility Schemes to cover distance sales of packaging, it’s likely that legal obligations being placed on all batteries and packaging producers will become common in more EU member states.

EC4P works closely with regulatory authorities and compliance organisations to implement appropriate compliance arrangements for WEEE, batteries and packaging producers across the EU and around the world and an increasingly common request upon registering as a WEEE producer is to show how/if the registrant also meets any batteries and packaging producer obligations. This is already the case in Ireland, Poland, Portugal and Romania where a WEEE producer cannot register without also addressing their batteries/packaging producer obligations. This is expected to become a more common requirement.

Looking to the future

Currently, WEEE, batteries and packaging compliance arrangements are implemented separately in most EU member states, however, producers should be aware that under more holistic initiatives such as the Circular Economy Package, their WEEE, batteries and packaging obligations will be treated with equal importance and registration for one may put extra pressure on registrations for the others.

To stay up-to-date with any regulatory changes when registering as a WEEE, batteries or packaging producer, you can join the EC4P newsletter using the form below. To learn how EC4P can help your company meet producer obligations, see here.

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