Getting all online retailers to share the cost of producer responsibility
The producer responsibility organisations (PRO) of the WEEE Forum acknowledge that the European Commission is keen to identify existing practices and experience, and possible solutions, to tackle free-riders, generally understood to occur when one firm benefits from the actions and efforts of another without paying or sharing the costs. More specifically, in the area of EPR, ‘online free-riders’ are market operators that circumvent extended producer responsibility and related obligations, such as registration and payment of fees.
in the area of EPR, ‘online free-riders’ are market operators that circumvent extended producer responsibility and related obligations, such as registration and payment of fees
Under Directive 2008/98/EC on waste, as amended by Directive 2018/851, in relation to the minimum requirements for EPR schemes, paragraph 5 of Article 8a states the following: “Member States shall establish an adequate monitoring and enforcement framework with a view to ensuring that producers of products and organisations implementing extended producer responsibility obligations on their behalf implement their extended producer responsibility obligations, including in the case of distance sales, that the financial means are properly used and that all actors involved in the implementation of the extended producer responsibility schemes report reliable data.”
The WEEE Forum, in coalition with other associations that speak for producer responsibility organisations, is of the opinion that the solution to this problem is:
- Updated regulatory measures, at EU and/or Member State level, to define online platforms as the ‘producer’ of all products for which they facilitate, by whatever means, the import or entry into the Member State territory”.
- Better enforcement and enhanced, structured co-operation between producer responsibility organisations, on the one hand, and enforcement agencies, customs and other authorities, home delivery companies and marketplaces, on the other.
- Awareness campaigns to educate market operators about their EPR obligations.
Read our paper on countering online free-riders, which is in response to the consultation regarding the study to support the preparation of the Commission’s guidance for extended producer responsibility schemes.