EucoLight, the European Association of lighting WEEE Compliance schemes, congratulates the OECD for the recent publication of its report on ‘Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) and the impact of online sales’, to which EucoLight members contributed.
EucoLight considers that this recognition of the challenge of online WEEE non-compliance, or free-riding, faced by EPR organizations is a vital first step to addressing the problem. Furthermore, EucoLight wholeheartedly endorses the recommendation to define multi seller online platforms as ‘producers’ of the products that they list from non-registered companies, and that transit through their fulfilment houses.
As the report indicates, online WEEE non-compliance is hindering the efficiency and effectiveness of EPR systems and affecting around 5 to 10% of the total OECD Electric and Electronic Equipment (EEE) market. This issue affects especially small EEE devices, such as lamps. EucoLight has been promoting policy responses to tackle such WEEE non-compliance and is actively facilitating the debate among stakeholders and institutions, and to identify possible solutions.
As EucoLight Secretary General, Marc Guiraud explains ‘EPR schemes, which aim to make producers responsible for the environmental impact of the products they sell, have been key in increasing recycling and collection rates. However, when producers selling online avoid their obligations, they impose an unfair burden in the rest of the system and on compliant producers. The non-declared distance sales also prevent the correct evaluation of the collection rates, and consequently the achievement of the collection targets, which should be based on the total tonnage of products put-on-the-market.