Circularity

Minimum Requirements for EPR Schemes - Eunomia Recommendations: Guidance for Member States for Ecomodulation of fees

European Legislation
Extended producer responsibility schemes form an essential part of efficient waste management. However, their effectiveness and performance differ significantly between Member States. For this reason, the Waste Framework Directive contains since 2018 a set of  minimum operating requirements for such extended producer responsibility schemes, that applies also to extended producer responsibility schemes established pursuant a specific piece of legislation, like the Batteries Directive, the packaging waste directive or the WEEE Directive. 

The general minimum requirements should reduce costs and boost performance, as well as ensure a level playing field, and avoid obstacles to the smooth functioning of the internal market. They should also contribute to the incorporation of end-of-life costs into product prices and provide incentives for producers, when designing their products, to take better into account recyclability, reusability, reparability and the presence of hazardous substances. 

Overall, those requirements should improve the governance and transparency of extended producer responsibility schemes and reduce the possibility of conflicts of interest emerging between organizations implementing extended producer responsibility obligations on behalf of producers of products and waste operators that those organizations contract. The requirements should apply to both new and existing extended producer responsibility schemes. A transitional period is however necessary for existing extended producer responsibility schemes to adapt their structures and procedures to the new requirements. 

Producers of products should cover the costs necessary to meet the waste management targets and other targets and objectives, including on waste prevention, defined for the relevant extended producer responsibility scheme. Under strict conditions, those costs can be shared with the original waste producers or distributors where justified by the need to ensure proper waste management and the economic viability of the extended producer responsibility scheme.

According to the Waste Framework Directive, the Commission should adopt guidelines on the modulation of financial contributions of producers of products to extended producer responsibility schemes in order to assist Member States in the implementation of WFD in facilitating the functioning of the internal market. 

In preparation of the these guidelines, the European Commission contracted the consultant “Eunomia”, that has presented in December 2019 its recommendations. 

These recommendations can be found on this website.

For batteries, they propose two criteria for the ecomodulation of the financial contributions of the producers, in view of the various issues noted during the discussions, in line with the principal of keeping the criteria as simple as possible and to address key circularity issues,:

 

  1. Rechargeability (yes or no) where there are single use as well as rechargeable options, but excluding NiCd. The priority here should be AA (LR6), AAA (LR3), C (LR14), D (LR20) and 9v rectangular section batteries. A bonus should be applied to all rechargeable options, but excluding NiCd, and a malus to all single use batteries; and
  2. Percentage recycled content in the battery product from closed loop battery recycling (all materials). A bonus should be applied to all batteries that include recycled content, a malus where no recycled content is used. This could be done as a banded measure, for example:
    1. 0% - 4% PRC:  malus
    2. 4% - 8% PRC:  bonus level 1

For WEEE, following criteria are proposed:

  1. Disassembly, repair and upgrade is the key priority – Member States should modulate on these criteria. 
  2. Warranty - this criteria combines well with that of disassembly, repair and upgrade. While there is to a certain extent a commercial driver for offering longer warranties in some case, this would increase the attractiveness of such approaches, with a bonus helping to offset any additional cost for producers. 
  3. Spare parts – availability of affordable spare parts is critical, although the need to determine a ‘reasonable’ cost is problematic. It is recommended, however, that the availability of free digital files for 3D printable spares, and physical spares (at a cost) for those products not already covered by the existing implementing regulations, is used as a criteria as this helps to overcome the potential barrier to using spare parts outside of warranty.