What are the latest developments concerning environmental legislation globally? We’ve picked out some highlights for you for March 2021.

ERP on proposed EU Battery Regulation

8 April 2021

In December, the European Commission presented a proposal for a new legal framework to make batteries more sustainable, efficient and safer (see article from January’s COMPASS).

Landbell Group company European Recycling Platform (ERP) contributed to the public consultation, which ended on 1 March, by submitting a position paper.

In general, ERP welcomes the Commission’s proposal and commends the proposal’s ambition to reflect both the latest market and technological developments, and the latest changes to general waste legislation.

However, ERP suggests a few amendments to ensure that the new Regulation can fully deliver on its objectives, including:

  • a specification of the definitions of “portable batteries” and “industrial batteries” to avoid overlaps with other battery types,
  • a more realistic approach to the collection targets for waste portable batteries, taking into account aspects like the increasing lifetime of batteries and exports,
  • a requirement on final users to hand over their waste batteries to producers or producer responsibility organisations to ensure that all batteries available for collection find their way to the actors held responsible for collection,
  • effective enforcement measures to ensure compliance and combat free riding.

The European Parliament and the Council of the European Union will now discuss the Commission’s proposal. ERP will contribute its extensive experience in the field of battery take-back to the further consultations.

For more information, please contact us.

UK Plastic Packaging Tax

On 12th November 2020, the UK Government published a summary of responses, primary draft legislation and explanatory notes following Phase 2 of the consultation on a plastic packaging tax.

The tax aims to encourage the use of recycled plastic within packaging, by creating a financial burden on plastic packaging that has less than 30% recycled content.

Whilst many of the finer details of the legislation are still to be decided, the following key points are confirmed:

  • introduction on 1 April 2022
  • a £200 per tonne tax rate on plastic packaging that has been manufactured in, or imported into, the UK and has less than 30% recycled content of plastic
  • a 10 tonne de-minimis per 12-month period
  • regulated by Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs
  • quarterly reporting in line with tax year, and
  • group registrations are allowed

Two important changes that came out of the second phase of the consultation were:

  • the tax point being moved from the primary manufacturer to the final stage of modification before the packaging is pack or filled, and
  • the inclusion of items used for the transportation, storage or preservation of goods by the user, and not just as packaging in the supply chain.

The UK Government will now co-operate with industry on the implementation of the tax before introducing legislation in a Finance Bill.

Landbell Group company ERP UK will continue to monitor and communicate developments via its newsletters and webinars, and will also develop services to assist organisations with the collection, calculation, submission of data on a quarterly basis, and evidence gathering to help businesses comply.

For more information, please contact us.

Preventing confusing packaging labels

From 1 April, new regulations on the labelling of household packaging will apply in France. The regulations are part of the new circular economy law (Loi AGEC) which was adopted in February 2020.

The new regulations are intended to prevent labels that are confusing for consumers, such as the Green Dot, and improve waste separation in the country.

A penalty payment will be due for any packaging that is marked with the Green Dot. Exceptions apply for packaging that is also put on the market in Spain and Cyprus, where the marking of the Green Dot is still mandatory. In addition, a transitional period of 18 months is provided for packaging that was already put on the market before 1 April.

In Germany and other European countries, the labelling of packaging is also leading to confusion.

Many consumers still assume that only packaging marked with a Green Dot belongs in the yellow bin or bag, whereas the German Packaging Law stipulates that all sales packaging made of plastic, metal or composite material may be disposed of in the yellow bin or bag.

German government adopts regulation on the labelling of single-use plastics

The German Government has adopted the Regulation on the Characteristics and Labelling of certain Single-use Plastic Products, which transposes parts of the European Single-use Plastics Directive into German law.

According to the regulation, certain single-use plastic items placed on the German market must bear a label (on the product itself or on the packaging) informing consumers of the plastic content of the product and the correct disposal route. This obligation affects products such as hygiene pads, tobacco products with filters, and single-use plastic beverage cups.

Once approved by the country’s Upper House, the regulation is due to enter into force on 3 July.

For more information, please contact us.