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Italy: Implementation of EU Legislation on the Recycling of Electrical Equipment and Batteries

(Oct. 6, 2020) Italy recently took steps to address the proper disposal of batteries and electrical equipment. On September 27, 2020, Legislative Decree No. 118 of September 3, 2020 (L.D. No. 118) entered into force in Italy. The Decree implements EU Directive 849 of 2018, which amended EU Directive No. 66 of 2016 on batteries and accumulators of waste batteries (L.D. No. 119).

Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE)

The new Decree amends Legislative Decree No. 49 of 2014, which implemented EU Directive 2012/19/UE on waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE), to provide that the Ministry of the Environment and Land and Sea Protection must send, each year, to the European Commission, a report with information on the prevention and reduction of the negative impacts deriving from the design and production of electrical equipment and electronics, and from the production and management of the waste deriving therefrom. (L.D. No. 118 art. 1(1)(a).) Another amendment states that EEE (electrical and electronic equipment) producers must register in the National Register of the Subjects Obliged to Finance the WEEE Management Systems, providing data on their activities, which is monitored by the Ministry of the Environment. (L.D. No. 118 art. 1(1)(b).)

Photovoltaic WEEE

The Decree makes producers of photovoltaic EEE responsible for the financing and management of WEEE retroactively, that is, regardless of whether the equipment was placed on the market before the entry into force of this new legislation, or if the equipment is of domestic or professional origin. (L.D. No. 118 art. 1(1)(b).) The legislation recognizes the validity of financial guarantee instruments that may have been activated by producers for the end-of-life management of photovoltaic panels placed on the market before the entry into force of this legislation. (Id.) In the case of photovoltaic panels placed on the market after the date of entry into force of this new legislation, producers must set aside an amount necessary to cover all costs necessary for the proper management and disposal of such equipment, which is to be deposited in a trust account established according to applicable legislation. (L.D. No. 118 art. 1(2).) The trust thus established is operated and managed by a trust guarantee system, which is collectively managed, and that covers up to 20% of the total amount of the costs associated with the financing provided by producers obliged to finance the photovoltaic WEEE. (L.D. No. 118 art. 1(3).)

Reporting on Waste Portable Batteries and Accumulators

According to the new legislation, and pursuant to Regulation (EC) No 2150/2002 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 November 2002 on waste statistics, the Ministry of the Environment must send, electronically, to the European Commission an annual report on waste batteries and accumulators containing all information mentioned in the aforementioned regulation, with an indication on the methods used to obtain the data necessary for the calculation of the waste collection rate for portable batteries and accumulators. (L.D. No. 118 art. 2(1)(c).)