OECD Report Indicates WEEE Non-compliance Through Online Marketplaces

EucoLight has welcomed the OECD report, Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) and the impact of online sales, to which EucoLight members contributed.

Recognition of the online WEEE non-compliance challenge (free-riding) faced by Producer Compliance Schemes is a vital first step to addressing the problem. EucoLight 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.

The report indicates that online WEEE non-compliance is hindering the efficiency of WEEE systems, affecting around 5 to 10% of the total OECD Electric and Electronic Equipment (EEE) market. This issue affects especially small devices, such as LED lamps. EucoLight has been promoting policy responses to tackle WEEE non-compliance and is actively facilitating the debate among stakeholders and institutions, and to identify possible solutions.

EucoLight secretary general, Marc Guiraud explains, “WEEE 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. When producers selling online avoid their obligations, they impose an unfair burden in the rest of the system and on compliant producers. Non-declared products prevent correct calculation of collection rates, and therefore achievement of the collection targets.”

Nigel Harvey, EucoLight vice president and Recolight CEO aded, “The OECD report confirms the large scale of WEEE non-compliance through online marketplaces and fulfilment houses. There is an urgent need for regulatory change. The VAT system has been amended to make online fulfilment houses jointly liable for VAT payments for any product they hold in stock in the UK. A similar approach is now needed for WEEE.”

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