France: New developments in the Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) regime


published on 5 April 2023 | reading time approx. 2 minutes

The EPR sectors were created with a view to the prevention and management of waste from certain product categories. These channels are based on the principle of extended producer responsibility, according to which waste producers are responsible for the treatment and management of this waste (Code de l’environnement, Art. L 541-10), in application of the law 2020-105, known as the "AGEC" law. 

This is an application of the polluter-pays principle. The more waste a producer produces, the heavier the load of waste to be treated, and therefore the higher the price of taking care of this waste. The cost of waste treatment is thus proportional to the quantity produced by the producer. France currently has 12 EPR systems, making it one of the leading countries in Europe in this area.
Producers take responsibility for managing their waste by collectively setting up approved eco-organisations to which they transfer their obligations and in return pay a financial contribution, called the eco-contribution. They can also set up an individual system. The management of waste by eco-organisations or individual systems must meet the objectives set by the specifications of the products concerned. These specifications define the terms and conditions for taking back and managing the waste. 
Article L. 541-10-9 of the Code de l’environnement extends EPR to online platforms as of 1 January 2022. 
It is also since this date that the eco-organisations issue producers with an identification number which constitutes proof for the producer that he is effectively registered with the eco-organisation and that he has paid the eco-contribution. Similarly, in accordance with Article R. 541-173 of the Environmental Code, each producer is obliged to indicate its identification number in its general terms and conditions of sale or, failing that, in any other contractual document communicated to the purchaser, such as quotes or invoices. The producer must also indicate this identification number on its website.
FOCUS: Concerned by the EPR regulation? Are your commercial documents, including your GTCs and your website, up to date? We are at your disposal to analyse the extent of your obligations and assist you in your EPR/AGEC compliance.
Article L.541-9-3 of the Code de l’environnement also requires producers to display the "Triman" symbol on the products they sell in order to inform consumers of the applicable recycling instructions. 

The gradual extension of EPR channels in France

Since 1 January 2023, the construction waste stream has been added to the existing EPR streams in France, namely household packaging, paper, electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE), textile products, batteries and accumulators, chemicals, tyres, end-of-life vehicles, recreational or sports boats, punctured medical devices used by self-treatment patients, medicines for human use, furniture, toys, sports and leisure items, as well as DIY and garden items. 
The AGEC Act also provides for the creation of a system for packaging used by catering professionals in 2023 and for the extension of this system to all professional packaging by 2025. Under the AGEC Act, a sector for chewing gum and single-use sanitary textiles will be created in 2024 and a sector for fishing gear containing plastic in 2025.
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