Simplify WEEE legislation to stop free riding, says Lorax

Michelle Carvell, COO at Lorax Compliance, has issued the following statement:

“With new research urging governments to crack down on WEEE free riding,* we believe that the European Environment Agency (EEA) should imminently review current environmental legislation to ensure it is fit for purpose for the online retail sector. This will help implicated businesses to avoid the financial penalties that may be incurred by non-compliance.

“All producers of EEE (electronic and electrical equipment) in the EU must declare the volume of electrical goods they place on the market, under extended producer responsibility legislation (EPR). Companies must then pay a fee on each item to fund end-of-life product collection and recycling. Failure to fund product collection and recovery, which is also known as free riding, puts non-compliant businesses at risk of potentially hefty fines.

“EPR reporting requirements differ in all EU countries. As a result, environmental reporting is a hugely complex process, even for a full-time resource in a large corporation to manage. A retail operation which functions online only is perhaps unaware of the environmental obligations it is required to meet under the WEEE directive – obligations which differ in each European market.

“There is an assumption that online retailers are shirking their responsibilities in avoiding their WEEE obligations and enjoying a sustained period of ‘compliance tourism’. However, we believe that the existing legislation is too complex for online retailers to follow because it is inconsistent across a wide range of markets.

“As growth in online trading increases and cross-border compliance becomes harder to enforce, it is important for compliance to adapt to market conditions. This will prevent an overestimation of WEEE recycling rates, which is the result of inaccurate declarations of products placed for sale in each country, across any affected market.

“We urge the EEA to review WEEE legislation requirements for online retailers in order to assess how companies can more easily record their environmental obligations in each required global market.”

*OECD 2018

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About Lorax Compliance

Lorax Compliance helps businesses to simplify and manage the escalating scope and complexity of global environmental compliance for manufacturers which need to comply with local, national and worldwide waste directives such as packaging, WEEE, batteries, deposit and textiles.

Through our software and consultancy services, we can identify and solve problem areas with both data and the compliance process and assist companies in reducing impact and cost through transparency, in support of their sustainability agenda.

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