1. Do you know what is EPR?
EPR is the abbreviation of Extended Producer Responsibility, the regulations that enforce producers to be responsible for their products through all stages of the life cycle. In Austria, producers and importers of certain product categories, including Waste Electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE), batteries, packaging, and single-use plastics have the responsibility to recycle these items.
2. What products that you have a responsibility to recycle?
All importers including distance sellers in Austria are required to register under the Austrian Packaging Act and designate an authorized representative for recycling.
Multiple types of packaging materials are covered by the category, which includes: paper, cardboard, composite materials, textile fibers, aluminum, wood, glass, polystyrenes, and steel.
This category includes any plastic-made products that are supposed to be used only once or for a short period, including balloons, wipes, wrappers, food containers, beverages, plastic bags, straws & stirrers, or boxes. Please be aware that packaging made of plastic also falls into this category.
Waste Electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE):
This category includes all types of electrical and electronic equipment which could be concluded into the following 6 types:
Heat exchangers including all refrigerating equipment
Personal household displays and monitors or devices
Large electrical appliance with one side > 50 cm
Small electronic appliance
Small IT and telecommunication equipment
All the products that contain batteries are covered by the Battery Management Act and could be generally divided into the following four categories:
Producers of batteries are responsible for ensuring that their waste batteries can be recycled or disposed of correctly by joining a batteries recycling scheme.
3. What should you do?
Since 2023, multiple platforms including Amazon, Zalando, Joom, Alibaba, etc, have started or will shortly start to request sellers to be compliant with the Austrian EPR legislation. Any products failed to be compliant with the regulations have the potential to be suspended from being sold in Austria. The sellers can also be fined or prosecuted.
To be compliant, sellers could sign a contract with an approved collection and recovery system for the product categories covered by the EPR legislation. After the registration, they report to the system and pay fees on a regular basis depending on the company size and sales. For those cross-border sellers in particular, a local authorized representative must be appointed before they can join a product recycling scheme.
4. Let us help!
If you are still confused about the Austrian EPR legislation or would like to have more information, TB Accountants is here to help. TB Accountants as a professional accounting firm will help you through the EPR registration and reporting process, and ensure your products are all compliant with the legislation in Austria and more international markets.