Newsletter: August 2019
On the Move
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
Boulder, CO, 80302
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
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
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
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:
“…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.
- 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.