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Extended producer responsibility

Extended producer responsibility

Extended Producer Responsibility

An important factor in effective waste management is the application of the principle of the Extended Producer Responsibility, namely assumption of responsibility by the importers and manufacturers of selected products for financing and infrastructure performance to enable consumers to return a product when it becomes a waste, in order to be appropriately managed. The implementation of extended producer responsibility is regulated for the waste streams of packaging, electrical and electronic equipment, batteries and accumulators and tyres. In the context of the implementation of extended producer responsibility and the harmonisation of EU Directives, through which this concept is applied, the Department of Environment assesses applications for the creation of collective and individual systems and issues the relevant permits, which are signed by the Minister of Agriculture, Rural Development and Environment. Regular inspections and audits of the operation of individual and collective systems are carried out in order to properly implement permit conditions.

Legislation Governed by the principle of Producer Responsibility

Packaging Waste Management

Directive 94/62/EC on packaging and packaging waste (paper/cardboard, plastic, glass, metal), which was adopted in Cyprus with the Packaging and Packaging Waste Law (L.32(I)/2002, 133(I)/2003) 159(I)/2005, 48(I)/2006, 58(I)/2012, 59(I)/2012 and 125(I)/2012), posed 25-45% recycling rates (15% recycling by weight for any material) and 50-65% recovery rates for total packaging waste by December 2005 and by related amendments (L.48(I)/2006) stricter recycling rates at 55-80% (60% for paper /cardboard, 60% for glass, 50% for metal, 22.5% for plastic and 15% for wood, by weight) and 60% recovery rates for all packaging waste for December 2012.

For the fulfilment of the Republic’s obligations to achieve the quantitative targets and avoid the imposition of strict sanctions by the European Union, the primary responsibility lies with the producers, i.e. those who package products and import packaged products at minimum volumes of up to 2 tonnes per material per year. These producers have the obligation to create individual or collective management systems for packaging waste in accordance with the Packaging and Packaging Waste (Responsibility of Financial Operators) Regulations (R.A.A.747/2003).

The Department of Environment, on the basis of the introduction of the possibility to regulate out of court settlements pursuant to the Packaging and Packaging Waste Law, carried out 40 inspections in 2014 and served fines to producers who did not comply with the relevant legislation.

At the same time, a report on the management of packaging waste has been prepared and submitted to the EU for the year 2012 on the recovery / recycling rates achieved. For the purposes of this report figures from 1800 economic operators (producers) and 24 recycling/recovery companies were taken into account, which were filed and processed in the database of the Department of Environment.

According to the results of the report, the total recycling of packaging waste for 2012 is 55.3% and the total recovery is 55.7%. The respective targets set by the Directive are 55-80% for total recycling of and 56% for recovery or incineration at waste incineration plants with energy recovery. In particular, for each packaging stream, recycling rates were 32.4% for glass, 44.8% for plastic, 88.9% for paper / cardboard, 98.8% for metal, and 6.2% for wood.

The respective targets set by the Directive for the recycling of each material is 60% for glass, 22.5% for plastic taking into account materials are recycled back into plastics, 60% for paper/cardboard, 50% for metal and 15% for wood.

Management of Waste from Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE)

WEEE is the most rapidly growing municipal waste stream (with a growth rate of three times more than other EU waste). The EU has regulated the management of such waste through Council Directive 2002/96/EC which applies the principle of producer responsibility, i.e. those placing electrical and electronic equipment on the market are liable to, either collectively or individually, bear the cost of management of their products when they become waste. This Directive has been transposed into Cypriot law through the Regulations R.A.A.668/2004. Subsequently, due to the rapid growth of this stream and for better management purposes, this Directive was repealed and replaced by Directive 2012/19/EC on managing WEEE, according to which the minimum collection rate to be achieved annually shall be 65% of the average weight of EEE placed on the market in the last three years.

For harmonisation purposes, the “Waste (Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment) Regulations 2015” (R.A.A.73/2015) were prepared and transposed into national law.

Under legislation, there is an obligation for separate collection of at least 4 kg / person / year or, at State level, about 3000 tonnes per year. The new target of the new 2012/19/EC Directive in Cyprus is estimated to be about three times more than the quantity we currently collect, i.e. 9000 tonnes per year. The new Directive 2012/19/EC and the obligation for the new target must be implemented by the end of 2018 with an intermediate target of 45% by the end of 2015.

In 2009, the first collective WEEE management system, WEEE Electrocyclosis Cyprus Ltd, was approved and an environmental fee charged to new devices came into force. The environmental fee was approved by the Minister of Agriculture, Rural Development and the Environment as the Competent Authority. A significant portion of the revenue from this fee is available from the system for proper information and awareness of the public about the issue.

The collective system for the management of WEEE (WEEE Electrocyclosis Cyprus Ltd) has now fully developed its activities and has an obligation to seek solutions which will enable it to achieve the goals that it undertook on behalf of the responsible producers.

On the basis of the report submitted to the EU in 2014 for separate collection, recycling and recovery of WEEE for the years 2011 and 2012, the collected quantity of WEEE per capita amounted to 3.16 Kg/resident in 2011 and 2.903 Kg/resident in 2012 respectively.

The effort to achieve the objectives of separate collection and management, is considered particularly difficult, mainly due to the fact that such waste and in particular the large household appliances (washing machines, stoves and air conditioners) are targeted by thieves, because they contain significant amounts of ferrous and non-ferrous metals with high commercial value. As a result, these devices are illegally dismantled which end up at the metal waste managers as metallic waste and not as WEEE, thus losing very large quantities which would have been counted for the attainment of the separate collection target.

Considering that currently the goal of 3,000 tonnes for the current year is barely achieved and that by 2018 the goal will be 9,000 tonnes annually, the Department of Environment proceeded in the following actions to contribute in the attainment of national targets:

· Monitoring the system collection points to identify weaknesses in their operation and increase of efficiency.

· Carrying out inspections, in collaboration with the police, following complaints about illegal metal waste management facilities and road checks on illegal management.

· Collection points of the collective management system were placed in virtually all steel waste management facilities and clear instructions were given to these facilities for sorting any WEEE that are delivered to them as mixed metal wastes and their delivery to the collective management system.

· Continued meetings with the industry sectors of WEEE (e.g. air conditioners), which present the smallest quantities resulting in environmentally sound management and other meetings to find ways to ensure environmentally sound management of such waste and to count them in annual quantities of separate collection. It is worth noting that due to climatic conditions prevailing in Cyprus, air conditioners account for over 20% of the total market.

In addition, in 2014, “The Waste (Restriction of use of certain substances in electrical and electronic equipment) Regulations of 2014 (R.A.A. 203/2014) were published as part of the national legislation, for purposes of harmonization with the new Directive 2011/65/EC on the restriction of the use of certain hazardous substances in electrical and electronic equipment (recast), as well as Directives 2012/50/ΕU, 2012/51/ΕU, 2014/1/EC, 2014/2/EC, 2014/3/EC, 2014/4/EC, 2014/5/EC, 2014/6/EC, 2014/7/EC, 2014/8/EC, 2014/9/EC, 2014/10/EC, 2014/11/EC, 2014/12/EC, 2014/13/EC, 2014/14/EC, 2014/15/EC and 2014/16/EC regarding exemptions in Annexes III and IV in order to adapt to technical progress, where amendments were made to Annexes III and IV. These Regulations specify rules for restricting the use of hazardous substances in electrical and electronic equipment (EEE) in order to contribute to the protection of human health and the environment, including environmentally sound recovery and disposal of EEE waste. The Regulations contain provisions that focus primarily on obligations concerning the manufacturer, the authorized representative, the importer and the distributor. The most important requirements of these provisions are: (i) the creation of technical documentation, on behalf of the manufacturer, within the framework of the legislation on CE marking and (ii) market surveillance under regulation 765/2008/EC setting out the requirements for accreditation and market surveillance relating to the marketing of products. Market surveillance is carried out in accordance with European Regulation 765/2008. This Regulation establishes a clear legal framework for controls of products entering the EU market and clear obligations to the competent national authorities, i.e. Customs authorities. It requires from the authorities responsible for implementing legislation, to execute checks on an adequate scale regarding product characteristics, from the time of entry into the EU and before entering the market.

As a general rule, the customs authorities have the following responsibilities under Articles 27 and 28 of Regulation (EC) No. 765/2008:

· to suspend release of a product when there is suspicion that the product is a serious risk to health or safety and/or does not meet the requirements of EU harmonisation laws or does not meet the documentation and labelling requirements (Article 27, paragraph 3).

· not authorize release for free circulation for the reasons referred to in article 29(1) and (2) (applied after notification of the competent surveillance authority to the Customs).

· to allow the release for free circulation of products which meet the requirements of the relevant Union legislation.

In the event of suspension of free circulation, Customs must notify immediately the Competent Surveillance Authority (CSA) – Department of Environment, which shall proceed to a preliminary investigation regarding the products and decide:

· whether they can be released, provided that they do not pose a serious risk to health and safety or can not be considered to be in breach of EU harmonization legislation

· if they are not to be released, provided that further checks are required to verify their safety and compliance.

The decision to release or suspend the release of goods falls within the competence of the customs authorities. The CSA is competent to determine whether the goods for release for free circulation meet the requirements of EU harmonisation laws and to notify promptly the decision of the Customs authorities.

If the CSA deems that the products pose a serious risk or do not meet the requirements of the legislation, their circulation in the EU market is prohibited. Nonetheless, the CSA may also decide to destroy or otherwise disable these products when they deem it necessary and proportionate. In case of prohibition of importation, the Customs authorities shall indicate on the commercial invoice, or any other accompanying document or electronic system that the import of the product is prohibited because it is dangerous or because of non-compliance. Although the CSA shall take the final decision concerning the action to be taken, it is clear that customs authorities play an important role in the prevention of entry of dangerous or non-compliant products into the EU market.

Management of batteries and accumulators

The relevant European Directive (2006/66/EC) established Producer Liability for the stream of batteries and accumulators which are considered hazardous waste and require separate collection and environmentally sound management.

This legislation was transposed into National Law by R.A.A.125/2009. Under the legislation, the required target for separate collection is 25% of portable batteries available in the market by September 2012 and 45% by September 2016.

To comply with the provisions of the Regulations “Liable Producers” came together and submitted a proposal for operation of the first Collective Battery Management System (AFIS CYPRUS LTD) which was adopted in 2009 (after the publication of the relevant Regulations).

In 2014, a Report was prepared for the European Commission, on the basis of article 10(3) of Directive 2006/66/EC for the year 2013, where it is reported that the percentage for the separate collection of batteries available in the market amounted to 15.82%.

Up until 31/12/2014 the Collective System had placed a total of 2850 collection bins for waste portable batteries at educational institutions (schools, institutes, colleges, universities, etc.), governmental and other organizations, electrical shops, supermarkets, Department stores and banks, where every citizen could discard batteries from small size (button-type batteries) to 2 kg batteries (laptop, power tools, etc). Bins are placed free of charge and upon interest of the organization.

A preliminary estimate for 2014 shows that approximately 40.5 tonnes of waste portable batteries were collected which represents approximately 19% of the quantity placed on the market.

As far as vehicle batteries are concerned, since 2002 there is an organized network of separate collection and dispatch to licensed management facilities abroad. It is estimated that over 90% of vehicle batteries available on the Cypriot market are collected separately and undergo environmentally sound management. Especially for the year 2014, approximately 3840 tonnes of vehicle battery waste were collected and exported to licensed facilities abroad.

During term of the Cyprus Presidency of the Council of Europe, there were discussions for the promotion of a legislative regulation to ban the use of cadmium in batteries for use in Cordless hand tools and button cells with low mercury content. The issue was closed in 2013, when Directive 2013/56/EC was issued amending Directive 2006/66/EC. To this end, a draft called “The Waste (Batteries and Accumulators) Amending Regulations” was prepared, which is expected to pass into National Law in early 2016. These draft Regulations include a provision specifying that at the time of entry and exit of batteries and accumulators into and from the ports, the producer will undergo inspection whether or not he complies with the legislation. This provision is an additional leverage for compliance and better implementation of EEE waste management and ensures equitable compliance between businesses by reducing elements of unfair competition prevailing in the market so far (due to non-compliance by the parties involved)

Waste Tires Management

Through the Solid and Hazardous Waste (Waste Tires) Regulations of 2011 (R.A.A. 61/2011) the tire producer's liability for tires was adopted. In the context of these Regulations, two Collective Systems are operating (RTM Tyres Recycling Ltd and E4C Ltd) as well as an individual system. The purpose of these systems is to comply with the obligations imposed by the Regulations on “tire producers”.

For tire management in Cyprus, a shredder unit, a granulation unit and a combustion unit have been licensed. In the context of their compliance, authorised systems cooperate with these units as licensed collectors/transporters for the sound management of waste tires.

Last Modified at: 22/01/2019 10:13:00 AM
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