This is El-Kretsen
What does El-Kretsen do?
In 2001, the concept of producer responsibility was introduced as a way to make companies help close the recycling loop. It means that all companies that sell electronic products also have to take responsibility for these products at the end of their useful life. At this point, Swedish electronics producers and their trade organisations created a common service – El-Kretsen – to make the recycling process as smooth as possible. El-Kretsen’s job is to assist producers in their endeavours to fulfil their producer responsibility by offering a nation-wide collection system.
Since we came into existence in 2001, we have been working closely with Sweden’s 290 municipalities. Together with producers, municipalities and recyclers we make taking environmental responsibility easy.
Who are El-Kretsen’s customers?
Our customers are the approximately 2,100 producer companies that have signed affiliation agreements with El-Kretsen.
What generates El-Kretsen’s earnings?
- The sale of collected and recovered materials
- Environmental fees paid by producers
If the material value of a certain product exceeds its collection and recycling costs, the surplus is redistributed to the producers. No dividends are paid to our owner organisations.
Which are El-Kretsen’s main costs?
- Long-distance transport: From the recycling centre to the pre-treatment facility
- Sorting, pre-treatment, recycling and the management of WEEE and batteries.
- Collection (recycling centres and battery bins)
Which companies fall under the producer responsibility provisions?
A producer is any company that manufactures or commissions the manufacturing of electronics or batteries to be sold under their own name or trademark. Companies that import such products from other countries and make them available on the Swedish market also count as producers, as do those who by means of distance communication sell electronics directly to users in another EU country. Foreign companies that sell their products at a distance directly to Swedish end-users also count as producers and need to have a legal representative in Sweden (known as an “Authorized Representative”). El-Kretsen offers such representative services which you can read more about here.
If your company only buys products from Swedish suppliers, it does not fall into the category of companies with producer responsibility.
Are you unsure of which category your company falls into? Take El-Kretsen’s producer test here.
What products give rise to producer responsibility?
Producer responsibility basically applies to all products that require leads or batteries in order to function. Electronics accessories such as junction boxes, keyboards and remote controls are also included.
You can find more information about the products included and any exceptions, etc. here.
What legislation governs producer responsibility?
The basic structure can be found in the ordinances on producer responsibility. There is one ordinance for batteries and one for products. These ordinances also correlate to other relevant legislation, for example the Swedish Environmental Code and the Ecodesign Directive.
Producers of consumer equipment and/or batteries – what requirements apply?
When you put consumer electrical equipment and/or batteries on the Swedish market, you need to register with The Environmental Protection Agency, affiliate to a collection system (El-Kretsen), and label your products and provide information to end users about how the product should be recycled. Read more about information responsibility at The Swedish Environmental Protection Agency.
Producers of professional electrical or electronic equipment – what requirements apply?
The ordinance differs between consumer EEE and “other electronic equipment”. To make things simpler and clearer, we choose to call this “professional electronic equipment”. Those dealing in professional EEE are not required to join a collection system. While the requirement of dealing with consumer EEE falls on the collection system, the responsibility for professional EEE remains with the producer who is responsible for collections within a reasonable geographical area, reporting on statistics and working with information.
Many of El-Kretsen’s customers deal with both consumer and professional EEE. One good reason for producers to declare everything with El-Kretsen is that they get an overall picture of their statistics. Even if our collection system was primarily constructed to deal with consumer WEEE, we know it is also used for professional WEEE. As long as a product can fit into our collection containers, we don’t mind this; on the contrary, we regard it as a positive development that our infrastructure is used to the max. If a producer needs to deposit large and bulky items or substantial volumes, we will help them find a viable solution.
When we mention “geographical area”, we are referring to the fact that the collection point should not be too far from where the WEEE is generated: If you live in the north of Sweden and need to recycle a product made by a company in the south of Sweden, you should not have to send your WEEE all the way back there.
As a producer of professional EEE, every year you have to report to the Swedish EPA what products you have put on the market, what quantities of WEEE you have collected and how the collected materials have been treated. You also have to label your products and provide end-users with information on how to recycle the product.
Professional or consumer equipment – what is the difference?
It is the product’s function and area of use that determines whether it counts as consumer or professional (other) electrical equipment. It does not matter who the customer is, for example if you sell B2B or B2C. If it is a product that can be used both in a household and company/industry/school etc., it counts as “Dual use”, and must then be classified as consumer electrical equipment. Telephones, laptops and screwdrivers are therefore consumer electrical equipment regardless of who buys them. However, commercial kitchen equipment or laboratory equipment can be examples of professional electrical equipment. Professional equipment is installed or used by a professional.
Products, accessories and components – who declares what?
Anyone who sells a combined product should also declare it. For example, a remote control that has been sold together with a TV should be included when the TV is declared, whereas a remote control that is sold separately should be declared as a product in its own right.
A product component, like a circuit board or the motor in a vacuum cleaner, should not be declared by the manufacturer if it is later used in a new complete product by someone else.
What is the cost of an El-Kretsen affiliation agreement?
SEK 500 for an affiliation agreement for WEEE
SEK 250 for an affiliation agreement for portable batteries and portable industrial batteries
SEK 9,000 for an affiliation agreement for large industrial batteries
SEK 5,000 for foreign companies that wish to appoint El-Kretsen as their Authorised Representative. This includes the Swedish EPA’s SEK 1,000 supervisory fee
SEK 0 for reporting agreements, which means that El-Kretsen deals with the annual reporting to the Swedish EPA.
In addition to this, there is also an environmental fee.
What should be reported to the Swedish EPA?
Every year, the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency wants to know how much producers have placed on the market. If you deal in other equipment (and not just consumer equipment), they also want to know the quantities of WEEE you have collected and how this WEEE has been treated. If you have an affiliation agreement with El-Kretsen, we take care of all of this for you, totally free of charge when you sign a Reporting Agreement with us. Go to your Declaration Portal to find your annual summary report which lists the quantities you have sold, collected and treated.
I’m a producer – what information do I need to provide?
Information on how a product can be repaired and how it should be sorted and recycled, as well as why this is important. For any product with a memory that can contain files or pictures, you also need to provide information on how the factory settings can be restored or how any saved information can be erased.
If a product contains built-in batteries, it has to come with instructions on how to remove the batteries.
Information on the best way to dismantle and recycle a product.
What is meant by “labelling” of products and batteries?
All producers must label the products and batteries affected by the regulation with a crossed out wheelie bin symbol, as well as information that the product was placed on the market after August 12, 2005. The latter is symbolized by a thick line under the bin or by a date according to SS-EN 50419.
If it does not fit on the product or battery due to size or function, it can instead be printed on the packaging, in written user instructions and in warranty information that comes with the product.
For exact information regarding the label, we refer to the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency.
What is WEEE Europe?
Do you declare WEEE for different countries, or does your company sell EEE to end users in other EU countries by means of distance communication? Given the different collection systems and different legislation applicable in different countries, keeping track of regulations and costs can be both complicated and time-consuming. Our umbrella organisation WEEE Europe can assist by providing information about regulations in other countries. It is also possible to sign up for its service for administering declarations to more than one country. WEEE Europe is quite simply a European one-stop-shop solution.
Declaring to El-Kretsen
What’s to be declared?
More or less all products that require leads or batteries to function. Accessories for these products are also included, for example connection boxes, keyboards and remote controls.
If a battery is sold as an item in itself, let’s say a packet of four single batteries, this will be declared under the relevant battery code by entering the number 4 under quantity and the total weight of the four batteries.
For in-built and accompanying batteries, the weight of the product including batteries should be reported in the space for product weight, and the battery weight alone in the space for batteries.
Remember – you should only declare the products/batteries you have manufactured or brought into the country.
What is the Declaration Portal?
All our affiliated producers have their own Declaration Portal. Here, you can find price lists, the Product Library, more information on how to declare and many other things. This is also where you will find certificates, your declaration history and the statistics relevant to your company.
What’s the meaning of El-Kretsen’s codes?
El-Kretsen has divided each category up into several different declaration codes. This is to be able to charge an environmental fee that reflects the cost of collecting, transporting and recycling that particular kind of product.
How do I know which code to use?
You will find the correct code for any given product in the Product Library in the Declaration Portal.
How does it work with luminaires and light sources?
Luminaires with integrated lighting should be declared in the space for “luminaries”. If you are selling a light fitting with a replaceable light source included, the light fitting (or luminaire) should be declared in the space for “luminaries” and the light source in the space for “lamps”. If light bulbs are sold in packets of three, the number should be declared as “3” and the weight should be that of the total packet of three light bulbs.
Should you declare a packet or individual batteries?
You report the number of individual batteries. If a packet contains six batteries, you write “6” in the space for quantity.
When you report the amount in kilos in the Declaration Portal, does this mean the weight of one unit or the weight of all the products?
You should write the total weight: If you are reporting 10 printers at 4 kilos each, you enter the weight as 40 kilos.
Why do you need to report the weight of different products when you pay a fee per item?
The Swedish EPA requires statistics to be reported by weight.
Should I report the net weight (the weight of the product) or the total weight (of the product and its packaging)?
You should not report packaging. Only the net weight of the products themselves should be reported.
Should I declare the weight of the entire product or only of the electronics in it?
When calculating the size or the weight of a product, use the following as a declaration guideline: If you have an integrated electrical component which is relatively difficult to replace, you should declare the entire product. For example, a shoe with a non-replaceable flashing light built into the sole is an example of a product that should be declared in its entirety. Here, you should enter the weight of the entire shoe.
You can get bathroom cabinets or bookshelves with integrated lighting, and in this case, the product should be declared in its entirety. However, if the bathroom cabinet or bookshelf comes with a light fitting that has been mounted on and can be replaced, then you only declare the light fitting itself.
What happens to products with integrated batteries?
- In the space for the product, enter the weight of the product including the intergrated battery on the space for the product.
- Enter the weight of the integrated battery separately in the space for batteries.
How do I measure the product size?
Normally, the size of a product will depend on how it is packaged in the store. If any of the sides of the product exceeds 50 centimetres, the product is classed as “larger than 50 cm”.
Vacuum cleaners: Measure the largest part of the main body. Omit the tube.
Round object: Measure the diameter
Cables, string lights, etc: Measure the size of the rolled-up item, for example the box size
Foldable lamp: Measure the longest part.
What is a WEEE category?
In Europe, electrical and electronic waste is often referred to as WEEE. This is short for “Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment”.
Electrical products are divided into six categories:
- Equipment for temperature control
- Screens and Monitors
- Large EEE
- Small EEE
- Small IT and telecommunications equipment
What is the environmental fee used for?
- Payment for transport
- Payment for sorting, pre-treating, recycling and disposing of electrical and battery waste
- Payment to municipalities for recycling points
How does El-Kretsen ensure that the information stored in mobile phones, etc disappears when these are recycled?
All electronic waste, including mobile phones, collected at the many pick-up points in the country in El-Kretsen’s name is transported straight to the facility signed up to deal with the pre-treatment. Here, each product is disassembled and the parts are then sorted into different fractions, such as plastic, metals, components, etc. All kinds of components with memory functions, such as circuit boards and hard discs, are fragmented in order to guarantee that the information stored will be deleted.
What do you do with electronic products that still work and have second-hand value?
The items that go into El-Kretsen containers are classed as waste and will be sent for material recovery. However, we promote reuse through different projects and in co-operation with companies and municipalities.