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 only certain 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.
  • 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.

Finally, the new law’s obligations in terms of batteries remains unclear, meaning requirements for these products cannot yet be fully assessed.

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.

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