Waste electronic and electrical equipment (WEEE) compliance scheme Recolight has said Defra’s proposals to extend producer responsibility (EPR) legislation on packaging to online marketplaces could result in “tens of thousands” of producers being included under legislation.
It said this would deter unfair competition, and pointed to a review of listings on one online marketplace that had highlighted the ‘free riders’ problem, with 76% of LED lightbulbs, 54% of power tools and 50% of electric haircare products found not compliant with WEEE legislation.
Defra has proposed creating a new class of producer that would make online marketplaces responsible for the compliance of all products imported into the UK that are sold through their websites.
Recolight chief executive Nigel Harvey said that, although the process was proposed only for waste packaging, it could be extended to WEEE and batteries.
He said: “The Defra proposal will at last tackle this major problem. The solution they have come up with is particularly elegant.
“Producers based inside the UK who sell through online marketplaces continue to take direct responsibility for their products. But where the producer is based outside the UK, that responsibility would fall upon the online marketplace.”
Harvey said this would include tens of thousands of producers mainly based in China into compliance.
Product data captured by online marketplaces through sales transactions would be aggregated and submitted as a part of their compliance process.
Earlier this month, consultancy Eunomia said that up to 10% of electronic and electrical equipment bought on digital marketplaces in Europe avoids contributing to EPR systems, putting their viability at risk.
The consultation on EPR for packaging calls for the costs of recycling to be borne by producers. It runs to 13 May.