New EPR Obligations for Online Platforms in Austria
Austria has implemented new Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) obligations for online platforms and their partners who sell in the country since January 1, 2023.
Lovat offers assistance with EPR registration and filing to support you in managing your obligations effectively. Explore the details by visiting the link.
We explain what these obligations entail, who they apply to, and what the consequences are for non-compliance.
Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) is a concept that holds producers responsible for the environmental impact of their products and packaging.
Recently, the Austrian government has implemented new Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) obligations for online platforms and their partners engaged in sales within the country. Effective since January 1, 2023, manufacturers or primary obligated parties who fail to fulfill these obligations are prohibited from utilizing major digital marketplaces like Zalando, Joom, Amazon, AliExpress, eBay, among others, to sell their products. This regulatory measure aims to ensure compliance and underscores the manufacturers’ accountability in meeting their obligations. Consequently, it is the producer’s responsibility to ensure that their products are integrated into a recycling program. Typically, producers assign this duty to a third-party entity known as a Producer Responsibility Organization (PRO) or an “approved collection and recovery system.” These entities are compensated to oversee the management of used products.
To guarantee participation in a recycling program, producers must register with a PRO/approved collection and recovery system, provide reports on the number of products sold, and remit the corresponding fees to the PRO/approved collection and recovery system.
These obligations relate to the collection and recovery of:
- electrical and electronic equipment (EEE);
Austria’s new EPR regulations
Under Austria’s new EPR regulations, online platforms and foreign sellers have specific obligations to fulfill. These obligations include:
Registration with an Approved Collection and Recovery System:
Partners who sell via online platforms are required to register with an approved collection and recovery system designated for packaging, electrical and electronic equipment (EEE), and/or batteries.
Reporting and Payment:
Partners must report the quantities of packaging, EEE, and/or batteries they place on the market to the respective collection and recovery system. They are also responsible for paying the corresponding fees associated with their product quantities.
Appointment of Authorized Representative:
Additionally, partners must appoint an authorized representative in Austria for their EEE and/or batteries. This representative serves as a point of contact and ensures compliance with the EPR regulations.
Who do EPR obligations?
These new obligations apply to all online platforms and their partners who sell in Austria.
Partners include any person or entity that sells EEE and/or batteries directly to end-users, such as manufacturers, importers, and distributors.
The obligations also apply to partners who sell packaging to end-users that is not intended for household use.
Regarding Electrical and Electronic Equipment (EEE) and batteries, a company is considered a producer if:
- they manufacture a product that falls under EPR requirements in Austria and sell it domestically, and/or
- they import a product subject to EPR requirements into Austria, and/or
- they sell a product subject to EPR requirements in Austria without having a registered company address in Austria.
In the case of a company selling its products directly to end-users in Austria, the distant seller, which refers to the company selling online, is considered the producer. This applies to both marketplace and its partners, including brand partners and most retailers.
The primary obligated party for packaging in Austria
- Has a registered office/branch in Austria and acts as an importer, meaning they import packaged goods into Austria with the intention of distributing them within Austria, and/or
- Acts as an importer for own use, meaning they import packaged goods into Austria for their own company’s operations, where the packaging is produced at their own operating site, and/or
- Packs goods in packaging (i.e., packers).
If a company does not have a registered office/branch in Austria and acts as a distant seller, meaning they transfer goods to private end consumers through distance selling/mail-order business and commercially sell (i.e., place on the market) packaging or packaged goods regardless of the distribution method, they are considered the primary obligated party.
It is important to note that these requirements apply to both product packaging and transport/shipping packaging.
What happens if you non-compliant?
Non-compliance with the EPR obligations in Austria can result in significant consequences for sellers. These include:
- Suspension from Selling:
Starting from January 1, 2023, partners who fail to comply with the EPR obligations may face suspension from selling their products in Austria. This suspension remains in effect until they demonstrate compliance with the new regulations.
- Fines and Penalties:
In addition to the suspension, non-compliant partners may be subject to fines and other penalties as determined by the regulatory authorities. The exact fines and penalties can vary depending on the severity and duration of the non-compliance.
How to calculate periodic eco-contributions in Austria?
If you bring in less than 1500 kg of household packaging and 1500 kg of commercial packaging annually in Austria, you can opt for the flat-rate solution without having to provide a detailed breakdown of the packaging quantities by material type to the eco-operator.
However, for larger annual quantities, it is recommended to compare the costs of different providers to find the best option.
How can Lovat help with EPR obligations?
We can assist you with calculating the cost of obtaining a packaging license from different providers by providing us with the packaging quantities and material type for Austria. Our team will then recommend the most favorable partners for you.
By choosing our services, we will handle all legal obligations related to EPR compliance on your behalf. This way, you can concentrate on your core business without worrying about the legal intricacies and requirements of packaging licensing.