Comparing the EPR regulations and systems across the EU
The EU directives regarding extended producer responsibility (EPR) are mandatory for all European countries. The translation into national laws in the countries must be completed by 2025 at the latest. The aim of the revised EU Packaging Directive and the requirements of the EU WEEE Directive for electrical appliances or batteries is to hold manufacturers and importers responsible for their products at the end of their lifecycle. Collection, take-back, proper disposal, and recycling of products are intended to reduce environmental impacts and help achieve climate goals. Each country is free to design its local laws in line with EU directives. This means that EPR imposes different requirements on countries, such as registration.
To provide more clarity, we compare the EPR regulations and systems in this post and show you what you need to consider in each target market.
Depending on the target market, you must expect different requirements in EPR countries. This arises from the fact that the translation of the EU directive gives national governments considerable leeway. Thus, each country has enacted its own regulations and laws. Nevertheless, it is essential for expanding companies to know and comply with the respective extended producer responsibility guidelines. Ignorance does not protect you from heavy fines if you fail to fulfill your obligations.
Why compare the EPR regulations
The packaging license and WEEE/Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive for electrical appliances and/or the Battery Act (BattG) are binding when selling products to commercial customers and private end consumers – whether through your own online shop or a marketplace like Amazon or eBay. The rule is: If you distribute your goods in EU countries, the EPR regulations of that country apply, not the country where you are based. The catch is: the translated EU directives for EPR in countries vary greatly because each country enjoys corresponding design freedoms. The result is high complexity and primary lack of clarity. Therefore, it is essential to consider the EPR countries in comparison before expanding into a target country. Failure to comply with EPR in countries can lead to high fines, warnings, and trade bans. The following list of selected countries’ national EPR guidelines should give you a first impression. It is advisable to contact the experts of Deutsche Recycling GmbH personally afterwards. We support you individually on the topic of environmental compliance with our comprehensive EPR services.
EPR regulations in Germany
- Legal implementation of EU directives in the Packaging Act (VerpackG)
- Mandatory registration in the LUCID Packaging Register for manufacturers according to § 3 para. 14 of the Packaging Act (VerpackG) and importers for foreign suppliers
- Participation in a dual system that covers the costs of disposal and recycling with fees
- Distribution prohibition without the LUCID registration number
- The Central Packaging Register Office (ZSVR) is the administrative body
- Online shops, operators of electronic marketplaces, and fulfillment service providers are also subject to the requirements of the Packaging Act (VerpackG)
- Take-back and disposal at their own expense: retailers and online retailers with a sales, storage, or shipping area of at least 400 sqm or food retailers with a total sales area of at least 800 sqm bear the costs of taking back old appliances and electronic waste from private households according to ElektroG
- Registration and receipt of the WEEE number at the Stiftung Elektro-Altgeräte Register (Stiftung EAR)
EPR regulations in France
- The legal framework for implementing EU directives on EPR in France varies, with Environmental Code Art. R. 543 – 33 ff addressing packaging for private consumers and Environmental Code Art. R. 543 – 66 ff applying to other categories.
- Manufacturers or distributors, whether based in France or abroad, are required to collect and dispose of household packaging as stipulated by French regulations.
- Compliance can be achieved through either an accredited return system (such as CITEO, Adelphe, or LÉKO, and EcoDDS for packaging with health and environmental risks) or an independent system.
- Valid proof of compliance is provided via the EPR registration number or Unique Identification Numbers.
- Packaging under EPR in France must bear the Triman logo for identification purposes.
- In addition to batteries and electrical and electronic equipment, the take-back and disposal obligations extend to various product categories, including toys without integrated batteries.
- Individual identification numbers are obtained through the French authority ADEME.
EPR regulations in Italy
- The EPR guidelines were translated into Italian law decree 152/06
- Suppliers, manufacturers, distributors, and importers are obliged to collect, process, properly dispose of, or reuse packaging and packaging waste
- Mandatory registration with the national packaging consortium CONAI and the CONAI supply chain consortia
- Both entities ensure, along with the Italian municipalities, the collection and disposal using the fees
- Law decree No. 196 expands the country’s EPR and bans single-use plastic products since 2022
- In Italy, the RENE AG return system is responsible for electrical waste
EPR regulations in the Netherlands
- The “Besluit beheer verpakkingen en papier en karton” (Packaging and Paper and Cardboard Management Decree) serves as the legal framework for implementing EU directives in the Netherlands
- Creation of a waste management contribution based on type and material, flowing into the waste fund
- Fees are divided into net costs and system costs
- Costs are generally borne by the cause of packaging waste
- All companies that put more than 50,000 kg of packaging material per year on the Dutch market are obliged to pay the waste management contribution
- EPR guidelines in the Netherlands also apply to foreign companies selling their goods in the Netherlands
- Companies with exclusively commercial packaging may benefit from a lower waste management contribution under certain circumstances if the requirements of the commercial packaging regulation are met
- For household electronic waste, the retailer is responsible; for commercially used electrical and electronic equipment, they must be returned to the product manufacturer
EPR regulations in Sweden
- In Sweden, as an EPR-compliant nation, the legal framework is governed by Regulation 2018:1462.
- This regulation applies universally within Sweden and encompasses manufacturers, sellers, and importers, as well as foreign manufacturers involved in packaging distribution.
- Foreign companies engaging in direct sales to end consumers through online platforms are subject to identical regulations as domestic companies.
- Compliance entails mandatory registration and data reporting with Naturvårdsverket.
- Collection and recycling efforts are conducted in collaboration with local recyclers.
- Every retailer is obligated to accept and appropriately dispose of electrical or electronic devices introduced to the Swedish market, with no registration threshold.
- Registration and acquisition of the WEEE number are facilitated by the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency.
EPR regulations in Denmark
- Unlike other EPR countries, Denmark already had a functioning waste management system in place when the EU directives came into effect.
- Only a special consumption tax was levied, applying volume-based charges on beverage packaging and weight-based charges on carrier bags for manufacturers and importers.
- Starting from January 1, 2025, EPR will now be implemented in Denmark.
- September 30, 2024, is the deadline for reporting planned packaging consumption and recycling rates.
- Registration takes place in the manufacturer register known as “Dansk Producentansvar.”
- Private operators and municipalities share the responsibility for recycling and treating packaging waste.
Other countries and their EPR implementations
Of course, other EU countries are also subject to EPR, including Belgium, Bulgaria, Estonia, Finland, Greece, Ireland, Croatia, Luxembourg, Norway, Austria, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Switzerland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Czech Republic, Turkey, and Hungary.
Are you planning to export your goods to one of these target countries and unsure about the EPR requirements you need to fulfill?
Let Deutsche Recycling Service GmbH provide you with legally sound advice. We conduct compliance checks and support you through all necessary steps, from registration to product take-back in the respective EPR country.