In response to the consultation regarding the study to support the preparation of the Commission’s guidance for extended producer responsibility schemes, the WEEE Forum has prepared the issues paper proposing solutions to tackle the free-riders problem.
Online free-riding is an issue of great concern. Online (often distance) sellers not registered and not undertaking take back, or not paying for collection and reprocessing, impose an unfair cost on other producers and retailers, distort the market, make compliant companies less competitive and result in an overstatement of WEEE collection rates. Free-riding undermines EU efforts towards a circular economy. And also the single market is at risk if all Member States start adjusting the legal definitions of producer.
The WEEE Forum 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.