Three European trade associations have written an open letter to the European Commission calling for action against online retailers failing to comply with producer responsibility.
EucoLight, the WEEE Forum and Expra say there is a high level of non-compliance through online retailers and ’fulfilment houses’, notably around waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE).
Nigel Harvey, a director of EucoLight and chief executive of lighting WEEE scheme Recolight, said: “Non-compliance damages legitimate companies by putting them at a competitive disadvantage. It also undermines the sustainable financing of waste collection and recycling.
“The best way to tackle this problem is to make online sellers and fulfilment houses legally required to take on the duties of producer under EPR legislation for the product they sell or stock on behalf of non-compliant companies.”
In the summer, Recolight calculated that around 20% of all LED lamps sold in the UK are not WEEE-compliant because of the growing practice of transactions through multi-seller online retailers.
Recolight referred to research it carried out on on the website of a major retailer, which it did not name. The site returned 480,000 hits for the search term ‘LED bulb’. Recolight found that 75% of sellers were not registered for WEEE and it estimated that 20% of all the lamps were non-compliant.
Harvey said much of the WEEE came from companies based in China or Hong Kong.