Reinforcement of EPR
Within the new general introductory provisions to the part of the Environmental Code governing the EPR, the Anti-Wastage & Circular Economy Law lays down several important principles:
- The manufacture, holding, sale or provision of wastegenerating products may be regulated or even prohibited in order to facilitate the management of the waste generated;
- In order to achieve recycling targets, the placing on the market of certain categories of products and materials may be subject to compliance with a minimum rate of incorporation of recycled material;
- Producers, importers or exporters must prove that the waste generated by their products is capable of being managed under the conditions laid down by the Environmental Code. By 1 January 2030 at the latest, they will have to prove that this waste is likely to enter a recycling scheme.
The Anti-Wastage & Circular Economy Law also changes the notion of producer to cover "any natural or legal person who develops, manufactures, handles, processes, sells or imports waste-generating products or the elements and materials used to manufacture them" (Article L. 541-10). This producer must register with a unique identifier from 1 January 2022 (Article L. 541-10-13).
In addition, the eco-contribution will be adjusted, by a system of bonuses and penalties, based on environmental performance criteria, including the incorporation of recycled material, durability, repairability, possibilities for reuse or further use or the absence of ecotoxicity (Article L. 541-10-3 of the Environmental Code).
New EPR schemes
The EPR principle, enshrined in Article L. 541-10 of the Environmental Code, is extended to integrate new schemes (furniture items, textile products, toys, sports and leisure items, DIY and gardening items, cars, chewing gums, etc.).
Producers, importers and distributors in the concerned sectors will therefore soon be required to either provide themselves or contribute financially via an eco-contribution to the management of the waste generated by their products by joining an eco-organisation ("play or pay" principle). As before, producers will fulfil their obligations by collectively setting up eco-organisations to which they transfer their obligation in return for an eco-contribution or by setting up an approved individual collection or processing system, which may include a return bonus (or deposit) if applicable.
The effective establishment of those schemes presupposes that the products specifically concerned by these eco-contributions are defined after consultation with producers and after private eco-organisations are created for each sector. Decrees and specifications will define the conditions of these eco-contribution schemes (person in charge, products concerned, amount of eco-contributions, etc.).
The entry into force of these systems is therefore expected from 1 January 2022 for most new sectors.
Producers of EPR schemes are now required to develop and implement, possibly via the eco-organisation, a five-year prevention and eco-design plan with the objective of reducing the use of non-renewable resources, increasing the use of recycled materials and increasing the recyclability of their products in processing facilities (Article L. 541-10-12 of the Environmental Code).
Obligation to take back free of charge by distributors
In order to improve the collection of these products, the Anti-Wastage & Circular Economy Law provides that distributors of products under an EPR scheme may be obliged to take back used products, of which the end user is disposing, free of charge and without any obligation to purchase within the limit of the quantity and type of product sold or products it is replacing.
Market places and platforms are required to provide or contribute to the prevention and management of waste from distance sales or delivery on behalf of a third party of products falling within the scope of an EPR scheme, unless they prove that the third party has already fulfilled these obligations.
Anti-Wastage and Circular Economy Law
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