How are eco-fees set after 2020?
On 14th June 2018, Directive (EU) 2018/851 of the European Parliament and of the Council, which amends Framework Directive 2008/98/EC on waste and is part of the EU legislative package on circular economy (hereafter referred to as the Directive), was published in the Official Journal of the European Union.
In 2021, the Waste Management Act transposed the main requirements of the Directive and the individual WSW Regulations transposed all the specific requirements of the EC legislative package on circular economy.
The revised European waste legislation sets new recycling targets and mandatory EPR systems (e.g. for all packaging, not just household packaging) to be in place by 31 December 2024, as well as harmonised minimum requirements for them to reduce disparities between Member States.
The Directive introduces a new definition of a EPR system, carried over into the WMA, according to which
‘extended producer responsibility scheme’ means a set of measures taken to ensure that product manufacturers are financially responsible or financially and operationally accountable for waste management as a stage in the life cycle of a product after it has become waste.
Reference 14 of the preamble to Directive (EU) 2018/851 specifies that this obligation may also include organisational responsibility and responsibility for contributing to waste prevention as well as product reuse and recycling.
The following basic rules shall be introduced for the determination of eco-fees in the extended producer responsibility:
Covering waste management costs
Eco-fees should cover the following waste management costs of products placed on the market by the producer:
- The cost of waste separation activities and their subsequent transport and treatment, including treatment required to meet waste management targets, taking into account revenue from reuse, from the sale of the by-products of these products and from unclaimed deposit fees;
- The cost of providing appropriate information to waste holders (on waste prevention measures, re-use and re-use preparation centres, buy-back systems, etc.);
- The cost of collecting information and reporting waste data in accordance with regulatory requirements.
Eco-modulation of eco-fees
Eco-fees are modulated for individual products/groups of similar products, taking into account their sustainability, repairability, reusability and recyclability, as well as the presence of hazardous substances.
Thus, a life-cycle approach is being adopted – the so-called eco-modulation of fees, which is introduced at the discretion and if possible.
Experience shows that eco-modulation works very well where there is a EPR system in place without competition.
Eco-fees are set in a cost-effective manner
This means that they should not exceed the cost of providing the waste management services.
The condition is that these costs should be determined in a transparent manner among all stakeholders and be as accurate as possible.
An example of such charges are differentiated charges according to treatment costs.
Paragraph 2 of Article 14 of the Directive provides for the possibility for Member States to decide that the costs of waste management are to be borne in part or in full by the producer of the product from which the waste arises, and that distributors of such a product may share these costs between themselves.
Another innovation introduced by the Directive is that eco-fees paid by producers per unit sold or per tonne of products placed on the market should be declared by the organisations.
These are the basic rules that determine the conditions for setting the eco-fees, which are transposed into the current legislation, namely the Waste Management Act and its implementing regulations.