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EPR non-compliance through online marketplaces: the state of play

EPR non-compliance through online marketplaces: the state of play

Held on 09 March 2022- from 10:30 to 13:00 CET, via Zoom

The webinar includes presentations from member states that have implemented new legislation to control the problem. A number of different approaches are being adopted – the webinar gives an opportunity to compare the different strategies adopted. It also summarises initiatives at a European level that may tackle the problem and concludes with a marketplaces’ point of view on the topic.

Watch the recording to hear about the state of play from authorities and experts. 

Legislative solutions to prevent non-compliant sales through online marketplaces

On 9 December, over 150 participants attended a webinar organised by EucoLight, the European Association of lighting WEEE compliance scheme. The theme was “National approaches to prevent non-compliant sales through online marketplaces – Extended producer responsibility free riding”. Attendees included representatives from ten Member State national authorities, the European institutions, and many other stakeholders.


The exceptionally high level of product sold through online marketplaces that is not compliant with extended producer responsibility legislation is well established. The Covid-19 pandemic has further exacerbated the problem, as the growth in online sales has accelerated.


The participants heard of the scale and nature of the issue and received an overview of legislative and non-legislative solutions being considered.


EucoLight was delighted to hear of the progress made by some Member States, notably France and Germany which will put legislation in place to tackle the problem. In both cases, the national solutions make online marketplaces and fulfilment service providers liable. That liability is either to take on the responsibility of non-compliant sellers or to prevent the sales of non-compliant sellers. EucoLight supports both approaches.


The recently adopted French law states that, unless the online marketplace facilitating distance sales has proof that the seller has already fulfilled its EPR obligations, it is the marketplace that must fulfil the seller’s EPR obligations. And a legal study for Germany would oblige marketplaces and fulfilment services to only sell product from registered producers.

Attendees also heard from LightingEurope, whose Secretary General said: “What’s illegal offline should be illegal online. Our obligations towards the planet do not stop when we sell or buy online.


When non-compliant product is supplied, the sellers do not support the collection and recycling efforts required by European legislation. This puts the sustainability of EPR schemes at risk, creates unfair competition for compliant companies, and distorts the internal market. It also creates environmental risks. The majority of the problem arises from the numerous sellers located outside of the EU, for which there is no responsible person in the EU.


The meeting also heard proposals from the E-commerce sector itself, but these attracted a number of criticisms. Panellists were concerned that the proposals would not be enforceable, because they left liability with the seller, not the marketplace. Concerns were also expressed that making compliance through marketplaces simpler would transfer more market power to online marketplaces.

EucoLight encourages other Member States to follow the example set by France and Germany, in putting in place legislative solutions to control online freeriding, pending progress with a workable harmonised European solution.

To know more about was presented a link to the video recording can be replayed.

Webinar replay


Mr Fabrizio D’Amico, Ecolamp, Chairman of EucoLight

Update on the implementation of the AGEC Law in France
Mr Jean-Paul Auberger, Ecosystem, France

The compulsory verification in the German ElektroG
Ms Anne Sachse, German Environment Agency, Germany

How effective is the compulsory verification model in protecting the environment & consumers?
Mr Philipp Sommer, Environmental Action Germany, Germany

Spanish measures against freeriding
Ms Raquel Gomez Rodriguez, Spanish Environment Ministry, Spain

How SOIVRE service of inspection can help tackle free-riders
Mr Angel Gerardo Meléndez Hernández, Spanish Ministry of industry, trade and tourism, Spain

The new Finnish Waste law and authorities’ actions for compliance monitoring
Ms Tiina Vermaete, Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment, Finland

Simplified Compliance Models and Competition Neutrality
Mr Carlo Bardini, Italian Competition Authority, Italy

EPR non-compliance through online marketplaces: New regulation in Austria
Ms Mag. Brigitte Reich, UFH, Austria

European Measures to Address the Online Free Riding Issue
Ms Star Molteno, Eunomia Research and Consulting, United Kingdom

Other EU initiatives of potential interest to tackle online free riding
Mr Marc Guiraud, EucoLight, Belgium

Re-thinking EPR compliance in a Digital Economy & SME-friendly world
Ms Caroline Heinz, DSS, United Kingdom

Q&A session
Chaired by Ms Natalia Sierra, Ambilamp, Spain, with the support of Mr Nigel Harvey, Recolight, United Kingdom

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