Electronic equipment retailer
Within the meaning of legislation governing the obligations related to EEE, ‘distributor’ refers to commercial suppliers of electrical and electronic equipment to individuals who intend to use them. In other words, the obligations imposed on distributors by legislation fall upon persons who do not import EEE, but who act as retailers of EEE.
Note that subsection 26 (12) of the Waste Act provides for an important exception:
provisions concerning producers apply to distributors if the distributor resells products manufactured or placed on the market by a producer that is not registered in the National Register of Products of Concern.
Thus, EEE retailers who are not interested in assuming the obligations placed on producers should make sure that the suppliers of the goods they accept to sell are importers (producers) registered in the National Register of Products of Concern. The easiest way to verify this is to ask for the number of registration in the National Register of Products of Concern, which is given to all producers registered in the register. Relevant information can also be found on the website of the register: http://proto.envir.ee
Obligations of distributors
Pursuant to Regulation No. 376 of the Government of the Republic, since 13 August 2005, all persons selling electrical and electronic equipment are obliged to accept equipment that has become inoperable from consumers. The scope of the obligation depends on whether or not there is a collection point for WEEE within a 10-km radius of the point of sale:
-> If there is a collection point for WEEE within 10-km radius from the point of sale, the distributor is obliged to accept from waste holders, free of charge, WEEE on a one-to-one basis as long as the equipment is of equivalent type and has fulfilled the same functions as equipment placed on the market by the distributor. Example 1: If a customer purchases a new piece of equipment from you, you must accept an old piece of equipment from the customer upon request as long as the equipment is of equivalent type. In any other case, you are not obliged to accept any equipment.
If there is no collection point for WEEE within a 10-km radius from the point of sale, the distributor must accept from natural persons, free of charge, WEEE on a one-to-one basis as long as the equipment is of equivalent type and has fulfilled the same functions as equipment placed on the market by the distributor, regardless of whether the natural person has purchased or will be purchasing similar equipment from the distributor.
Example 2: If a person wants to get rid of an old piece of equipment and you sell the same type of equipment at your point of sale, you must accept the old piece of equipment regardless of whether you want to or not.
WEEE accepted at a point of sale (by a distributor) pursuant to the respective obligation must be accepted from the point of sale by the importers (producers) of the respective equipment free of charge.
MTÜ Eesti Elektroonikaromu is a non-profit organisation operating under the principle of producer responsibility, whose main activity is arranging for the collection, recovery, and disposal of used electronic equipment in accordance with the requirements arising from law. One of our major objectives has been the creation of a nationwide network of collection points that enables retailers to avoid having to accept an unlimited amount of WEEE. Today we can say that there is a sufficient number of Eesti Elektroonikaromu’s collection points across Estonia to free most distributors from the obligation of unlimited acceptance (Example 2).
Distributors selling equipment imported to Estonia by producers who have joined Eesti Elektroonikaromu can refer to one of Eesti Elektroonikaromu’s collection points, leaving the point of sale only with the obligation of accepting WEEE on a one-to-one basis if the equipment is of equivalent type and has fulfilled the same functions as equipment placed on the market by the distributor (i.e. on the so-called ‘1:1 principle’). If necessary, Eesti Elektroonikaromu will provide the point of sale with a corresponding poster, indicating the address and opening hours of the nearest WEEE collection point. The poster looks like this: Poster for retailers.