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WEEE Forum addresses online free-riders in European e-waste industry

WEEE Forum addresses online free-riders in European e-waste industry

The WEEE Forum, (the European Association of Electrical and Electronic waste take back systems) including an international collaboration of 36 e-waste collection schemes in the EU, issued their response to recent consultation regarding a study to support the preparation of the EU Commission's guidance for an e-waste extended producer responsibility organization.

According to WEEE Forum, Online "free-riding" is an issue of great concern. Online (often long 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 organizations, 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 more in the issues paper