The concept of extended producer responsibility for products has held manufacturers and distributors in the EU responsible for the return and disposal of end-of-life products for many years. Although the applicable obligations are already well established for a variety of product categories, e. g. electrical appliances, packaging and batteries, the extended producer responsibility system is subject to constant development in order to respond to the increasing scarcity of resources and the necessary prevention and reduction of waste.
Draft EU Regulation on batteries and spent batteries
The draft EU regulation on batteries and spent batteries, which was published on December 10, 2020, is intended to replace Directive 2006/66/EC. The new framework would not only reorganize the rules within an EU Regulation with direct application in the Member States, it also pursues the goal of regulating the entire life cycle of a product (in this case batteries and accumulators) – a novelty under European environmental product laws.
In addition to creating a new category for traction batteries, the draft text focuses on sustainability and safety requirements. With regulations on CO2 footprint, minimum recycled content as well as performance and durability, completely new topics are being addressed. In addition, labeling requirements are expanded; for example, the proposal introduces the obligation to label batteries with a QR code, which would grant access to all labeling and other mandatory information.
A vote on the Rapporteur’s Report in the ENVI Committee is scheduled for February 10, 2022. If approved, the report will be presented to the plenary for a vote during the February meetings (February 14-17, 2022).
Review of the EU Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive Regulation
The EU Directive on packaging and packaging waste is also currently being reviewed with a view to making any necessary adjustments. The revision was originally scheduled for the fourth quarter of 2021, but has now been penciled in on the European Commission’s provisional agenda for July 2022.
The aim of the revision is to improve packaging design in order to promote reuse and recycling, increase the proportion of recycled materials in packaging, avoid excessive packaging and thus reduce packaging waste.
Extended producer responsibility also for textiles?
In early 2021, the European Commission launched an initiative for an EU Sustainable Textiles Strategy. In an initial consultation, comments could be submitted until the beginning of August 2021.
The initiative will consider the role of extended producer responsibility in promoting sustainable textiles and the treatment of textile waste in line with the waste hierarchy, and will advance the implementation of the legal obligation to introduce separate collection of end-of-life textiles by 2025.
Adoption of the strategy is currently scheduled for March 2022.
At national level: “UK Plastic Tax
New developments can also be found at the national level. For example, in the UK, the new “Plastic Tax” for packaging will come into force on April 1, 2022. Manufacturers and importers will then be required to register and pay a tax of GBP 200/ton if a quantity of 10 tons of plastic packaging has been manufactured or imported within the last 12 months. Various exemptions will apply, including plastic packaging containing at least 30% recycled content not being subject to the tax.
Interested in further details or want to know how you are affected? We would be happy to support you in fulfilling your producer obligations. Please do not hesitate to contact us!