What does producer responsibility mean?
Producer responsibility refers to companies’ obligation to arrange the waste management of products they have placed on the market at their own expense when the products are discarded. However, arranging the waste management or collection of their own products is not enough, as the producers of batteries and accumulators must take part in picking up batteries and accumulators collected by distributors everywhere in Finland. All producers are also entered either through a producer organisation or directly into an authority register.
What product groups does the producer responsibility pertain to?
The producer responsibility pertains to packages, paper, tyres, vehicles, batteries and accumulators as well as electric devices. The importers and manufacturers of these products bear the producer responsibility for them. As for packages, the packers and importers of packaged products bear the producer responsibility. See more information about carrying out industry-specific producer responsibilities here: www.ely-keskus.fi
What are portable batteries and accumulators?
In legislation, portable batteries and accumulators refer to all batteries and small accumulators that are sealed and can be carried by hand and are not industrial or automotive batteries or accumulators. They are typically used in devices such as watches, toys, flashlights, portable media players, mobile phones, cameras, computers and electric power tools such as drills. The classification is based on the primary intended purpose of the battery or accumulator more than its size. For example, the batteries used in electric bicycles or other electric means of transport are classified as industrial batteries even though they are not always very large.
Various batteries and small accumulators.
What are industrial batteries and accumulators?
Industrial batteries and accumulators refer to batteries and accumulators designed exclusively for industrial or professional use or used in electric means of transportation. These include batteries and accumulators designed for devices such as solar panels, professional measuring instruments, emergency and back-up power sources, electric bicycles, self-balancing scooters, payment terminals, trains and aircraft. See more information and register as a producer here.
Does the producer responsibility also pertain to batteries and accumulators placed on the market inside devices?
Yes, to batteries and accumulators placed on the market inside both vehicles and electric or electronic devices.
Does the producer responsibility also pertain to corporate products?
Yes. The sales channel of batteries and accumulators does not matter, meaning that the producer responsibility pertains to all batteries and accumulators.
How do I know whether the producer responsibility for batteries and accumulators pertains to my company?
For batteries and accumulators, the producer responsibility falls on a natural or legal person who regardless of the method of sales professionally places batteries or accumulators on the Finnish market for the first time or distance sells batteries or accumulators directly to users in Finland, including batteries and accumulators contained in electric and electronic devices or vehicles. (Waste Act, Section 48).
My company is planning to begin importing batteries and accumulators. How can we take care of our producer responsibility?
Producers of batteries and accumulators can easily take care of the registering process and other producer responsibility obligations through Recser Oy, the producer organisation running Battery Recycling, established by battery and accumulator producers and approved as a producer organisation for batteries and accumulators. Read more about transferring the producer responsibility here.
What is a producer organisation?
The Waste Act stipulates that producers of a certain industry can establish a producer organisation to take care of their producer responsibility obligations. Once the producer responsibility has been transferred to the producer organisation, the producer only has to tell its customers that it has taken care of its producer obligations in a responsible manner and provide the producer organisation with information regarding the amounts of products placed on the market in accordance with an agreed upon schedule. The producer must also make sure that the batteries and accumulators placed on the market feature the required labelling and come with instructions for detaching them.
What fees does transferring the producer responsibility to a producer organisation entail?
Upon registration, every producer is charged a one-off registration fee, in addition to which they must pay recycling fees determined by the amounts of products they place on the market. The recycling fees vary in accordance with the recyclability of the batteries or accumulators. You can receive a valid recycling fee price list by contacting Recser Oy by e-mail at info(a)recser.fi or by telephone at +358 10 249 1717.
The more producers take part in sharing the costs, the lower the fees. It is therefore important that no producer leaves its waste management costs for the others to pay.
Why should I transfer my producer responsibility to a producer organisation?
In practice, arranging the waste management of batteries and accumulators means arranging their pick-up from all store locations that sell batteries and accumulators, as well as other collection points in Finland, and their processing thereafter, the goal of which is to recycle the materials. In practice, the easiest way to take care of producer responsibility matters is to join a producer organisation that sees that all producer obligations are fulfilled everywhere in Finland.
Once your producer responsibility has been transferred to Recser Oy, which runs Battery Recycling, we will notify the authorities on your behalf and take care of arranging your waste management and recycling. All your company has to do is tell its customers that it has taken care of its producer obligations in a responsible manner and provide Recser Oy with information regarding the amounts of products placed on the market in accordance with an agreed upon schedule.
My company is a member of a producer organisation for electric and electronic devices. Does it have to carry out its battery and accumulator producer responsibility separately?
Yes, the producer responsibilities pertaining to batteries and accumulators and those pertaining to electric and electronic devices are entirely separate, and the responsibility for batteries and accumulators cannot be carried out through a producer organisation for electric and electronic devices. Devices placed on the market are reported without the weight of their batteries or accumulators and the batteries and accumulators are reported separately to Recser Oy.
I sell batteries and accumulators to Europe from Finland. Does the membership of a Finnish producer organisation cover the producer responsibility throughout the EU?
The membership of a Finnish producer organisation only covers producer responsibility in Finland. If your company places batteries and accumulators to the markets of other EU countries, it must become a member of the producer organisation of each country. The battery and accumulator producer organisations of other EU countries can be found on the Eucobat website: https://www.eucobat.eu.
What are the consequences of neglecting the producer responsibility?
If a company neglects its producer responsibilities, the authorities can impose a non-conformity fee that is determined by the company’s turnover, up to €500,000. The Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment (ELY Centre) of Pirkanmaa acts as the national authority, except in Åland. You can find more information at www.ely-keskus.fi
Where can I check whether a company has carried out its producer responsibility?
The website of the Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment (ELY Centre) of Pirkanmaa, which is the authority supervising producer responsibilities, has a list of all producers accepted directly to an authority register, as well as links to different producer organisations’ websites. Producer organisations maintain an up-to-date register of producers who have transferred their producer responsibility on their websites.
What should I do if I believe that a company has neglected its producer responsibility?
You can submit an anonymous tip to Recser Oy at info(a)recser.fi or +358 (0)10 249 1717 or directly to the supervisory authority at ympariston.asiakaspalvelu(at)ely-keskus.fi or +358 (0)295 020 900.
Large industrial batteries and accumulators
What are large industrial batteries and accumulators?
A large industrial battery or accumulator refers to an industrial battery or accumulator designed exclusively for industrial or professional use, within the meaning of the Government Decree on Batteries and Accumulators (Battery Decree 520/2014, section 2(1)(7)), the size of which does not allow for easy manual carrying.
In this context, large industrial batteries and accumulators do not refer to the accumulators of electric vehicles, such as electric and hybrid cars or electric motorcycles, in which the accumulator is integrated into the device and not intended for the end user to remove at any point.
Examples of large industrial batteries and accumulators include, but are not limited to batteries and accumulators used for emergency or back-up power in hospitals, airports or offices, batteries and accumulators used in trains and aircraft, forklift batteries and batteries and accumulators used on oil rigs at sea and in lighthouses.
Examples of batteries designed exclusively for industrial and professional use are the batteries used in fork lifts.
What does producer responsibility mean in regard to large industrial accumulators?
Producers, i.e. importers and manufacturers, of batteries and accumulators are obligated to arrange the waste management of their products at their own expense when the products are discarded. As regards large industrial accumulators, arranging waste management means arranging their reception and subsequent processing, the aim of which is to recycle the material. Each producer must also submit their information to the register of producers and report all the batteries and accumulators that they place on the market and all batteries and accumulators that they receive and recycle, either via a producer organisation or directly. End users must also be provided with information on e.g. collection points and the environmental and health impacts of the substances contained in batteries and accumulators. Producer responsibility is governed by the Waste Act (646/2011) and the Government Decree on Batteries and Accumulators (520/2014) based on Directive 2006/66/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council.
How can I take care of my producer responsibility for large industrial batteries and accumulators?
You can take care of your producer responsibility for large industrial batteries and accumulators in terms of registration and reporting through Recser Oy by transferring producer responsibility to it with an agreement. The registration form is available here.
The producer is responsible for organising the reception of large industrial batteries and accumulators and other waste management. Recser Oy is currently negotiating with waste management service providers on a reception model that would allow producers to easily recycle large industrial batteries and accumulators in accordance with legislative requirements. We will be providing more information to our producers once the model is finalised.
Alternatively, producers of large industrial batteries and accumulators can take care of producer responsibility entirely by themselves and submit an application directly to a register of producers maintained by the supervisory authority. In this case, the producer must report all batteries and accumulators that they place on the market and all batteries and accumulators that they recycle with their chosen waste management service provider directly to the authorities along with their other monitoring data. More information is available here.
What costs does taking care of the producer responsibility cause to producers of large industrial batteries and accumulators?
Producers of large industrial batteries and accumulators that make a producer responsibility transfer agreement with Recser Oy pay a one-off registration fee to cover expenses upon registration. Additionally, Recser Oy charges an annual fee for compiling annual reporting information for the authorities to cover administrative expenses. The producer pays the accumulator recycling costs directly to its chosen waste management operator as accumulators are returned for recycling. The Waste Act allows for the producer to agree on dividing the waste management costs for large industrial batteries and accumulators with the last holder of the accumulator (Waste Act 646/2011, section 53).
How do producers of large industrial accumulators benefit from registering with the producer organisation?
Producers that have made a producer responsibility transfer agreement with Recser Oy can report all batteries and accumulators of different classes placed on the market at the same time in their quarterly reporting. Recser Oy also collects information about large industrial accumulators received and recycled by the producer directly from producers and agreement operators and submits the information to the authorities on an annual basis. When taking care of its producer responsibility through Recser Oy, the producer does not need to separately register with or report to the producer register administrated by the responsible authority. This is especially convenient for producers who place batteries and accumulators belonging to different classes onto the market.
What requirements have been set for recycling large industrial batteries and accumulators?
When processing and recycling discarded batteries and accumulators, the priority order set in section 8 of the Waste Act (646/2011) must be followed as strictly as possible. The storage, recycling and other processing of separately collected discarded batteries and accumulators must also be organised in accordance with the general requirements set in section 9 of the Government Decree on Batteries and Accumulators (520/2014). The Decree stipulates, among other things, that the best available techniques must be used, and that it must be ensured that the recycling efficiency requirements set in section 10 are met. Section 11 of the Decree separately prohibits the depositing of industrial batteries and accumulators in landfills and their disposal by incineration. According to section 9 of the Decree, the remains of recycled or otherwise processed discarded batteries and accumulators can, however, be disposed of by incineration or deposited in a landfill, provided that the provisions of the Environmental Protection Act (86/2000) and the Waste Act on waste incineration and the depositing of waste in landfills are followed.
Additionally, the producer must note that discarded batteries may only be returned to authorised businesses (ymparisto.fi, the text is written in Finnish), and that if discarded accumulators are to be delivered abroad, an international waste transfer permit granted by Finnish Environment Institute is required (ely-keskus.fi, the text is written in English).