Govt set to act on Amazon lights packaging

THE UK GOVERNMENT says it is set to tackle the issue of lighting products on Amazon and other online marketplaces which don’t comply with waste packaging laws.

The Department of Environment, Food & Rural Affairs has unveiled proposals to make the websites advertising the lamps and luminaires responsible for compliance with waste packaging legislation.

Recolight chief Nigel Harvey says the Defra proposal to tackle rogue lamp suppliers is ‘particularly elegant’.

The plans mean that Amazon, Ebay and other online ‘marketplaces’ will assume the responsibility of producers for the packaging of lighting equipment and other products sourced from outside the UK.

Defra says its move is designed to tackle the ‘growing problem of non-compliance through online marketplaces’.   

The responsibility for the packaging of products put up for sale on the websites from UK suppliers will continue to remain with those companies.

The new waste packaging legislation is likely to come into force in 2023.  The Government will consult on amending the WEEE regulations in 2020.

Lighting industry WEEE scheme Recolight says it ‘warmly welcomes’ the proposals. Its research suggests that 76 per cent of LED lightbulbs offered for sale online does not comply with WEEE legislation.

Recolight chief Nigel Harvey told Lux: ‘The Defra proposal will at last tackle this major problem.  

‘The solution they have come up with is particularly elegant. Producers based inside the UK who sell through online marketplaces continue to take direct responsibility for their products.  

‘But where the producer is based outside the UK, that responsibility would fall upon the online marketplace.

‘At a stroke, this would bring product from thousands, or even tens of thousands of producers, predominantly based in China, into compliance.  

‘Those producers would not need to individually register with compliance schemes. Instead, product data, already captured by online marketplaces through sales transactions, would be aggregated and submitted as a part of their own compliance process.’

‘The process would be simple to audit, simple to administer, and effective at capturing a high proportion of non-compliant product.  Enforcing UK legislation on a large number of companies based on the other side of the globe is nigh on impossible.  Focusing instead on a few online marketplaces could really drive compliance.’

The current proposal only relates to the waste packaging legislation but seems likely to be incorporated within other producer responsibility legislation, including WEEE and batteries.

Nigel Harvey added ‘Our only concern is with timescales. The unfair competition of non-compliant product sold through online marketplaces is causing real commercial damage now.  Earlier implementation of the proposed change is therefore essential.’

The Defra consultation closes on 13 May 2019.



  • Learn more about the latest Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment regulations at LuxLive 2019 taking place on Wednesday 13 November and Thursday 14 November. Entry is free - register and see the full programme HERE.