Consumer goods distribution France: Specific reporting procedures and regulations
As far as Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) is concerned, France is the most advanced country in Europe. Through various regulations, manufacturers, online retailers and distributors are legally required in different ways to compensate for all consequences of their product: from packaging design requirements to waste disposal. Those who fail to comply correctly risk penalties. Moreover, an obligation to provide information about the conformity must also be complied with.
You are affected by EPR obligations in France if ...
- … you manufacture products in France.
- … you import products into France.
- … you are an online retailer based outside of France and distribute to France.
What makes compliance so complex in France:
While in Germany, for example, there are EPR obligations only for packaging, batteries and electrical appliances, in France there are currently 17 product areas that fall under producer responsibility and require EPR registration – more than in any other European country.
The following product areas comprise the EPR regulations in France as of today:
- Do-it-yourself and garden supplies
- Category 1 – Tools for painters and decorators
- Category 2 – machines and equipment for internal combustion engines
- Category 3 – garden supplies and garden beautification articles
- Sport and leisure articles
- Boats for recreational sports
- Medical equipment
- Furnishings (furniture)
- Electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE)
- Household packaging
- Batteries and accumulators
- Graphic papers
- Chemical products
- Building products and materials
- Category 1 – construction products and materials consisting mainly of minerals and not containing glass, mineral wool or gypsum
- Category 2 – other building products and materials
- Tobacco products
- Textiles such as clothing, footwear and linen
- Disposable sanitary products (from 2024)
- Chewing gum (from 2024)
- Industrial packaging (from 2025)
- Fishing supplies (from 2025)
Do you sell or manufacture a product to which one or more of these categories apply? Then you must apply for the concerning registration at the relevant organization or the respective take-back system. There is at least one of these per product category in France.
Our France experts from CERTIFY will be happy to take care of all the necessary steps for registration as well as the official procedures. Feel free to contact us, we will clarify your needs with you.
FAQs on the French market - All about extended producer responsibility
Registrations must be made by distributors or their authorized representatives with various take-back systems. For almost all areas of extended producer responsibility, there are various systems in France from which you may choose. At the same time, most systems only cover a single product area. So you have to contact several systems if the requirements of different EPR areas apply to you.
This is where CERTIFY comes in! We always have the right system and the right contact person at hand. If you need registration, let us know and we will take care of all the steps for you.
The duration from application to approval varies from system to system and depends on the current workload of the employees there. As a rule, you can expect 1-2 weeks, in exceptional cases up to 6 weeks.
Yes, they exist. They are laid down by law in the French Penal Code and French Environmental Code. These penalties can vary and are calculated according to the severity of the violation and the magnitude of the damage.
By the way, penalties are not only imposed for failure to register, but also for violations of the labeling and information requirements.
UID or IDU number: The French identification number
The obligation to keep a unique identification number came into force on January 1, 2022 (Loi AGEC). The IDU is proof for the producer that he is registered in the register of the responsible authority or system and that he has paid his disposal contributions (Environmental Code, Articles L541-10 to L541-10-17). IDU was introduced to monitor compliance with the obligations. IDU number is specific for each EPR product group. For example, there is one IDU for the electrical equipment sector, another IDU for packaging, etc.
The IDU is valid for one year only and must be renewed every year. The registration of the manufacturer with the SYDEREP authority is carried out exclusively by the take-back system. The take-back system makes the IDU available to its members as soon as registration has taken place and the fees have been paid. If a valid number is not provided, penalties under the Environmental Code may be imposed and a strict ban on distribution will apply.
It must be included in the GTC (General Terms and Conditions) and all contractual documents with French business partners and customers, including invoices. In addition, it must appear on the French domain of the website (.fr).
After registration with the respective system in France, it can take another 5 working days up to 4 weeks until the IDU number is communicated.
Reparability index in France
The repairability index (Décret no 2020-1757 du 29 décembre 2020) informs consumers by means of a simple graph with a score from 1-10 whether the product is more or less easy to repair. At the same time, the repairability index is an incentive for manufacturers to make the product design as repairable as possible and to provide spare parts and information about it.
The repairability index is currently applied to these product families:
- Washing machines with front opening
- Top washing machines
- Lawn mowers
- high-pressure cleaners
- Vacuum cleaners (incl. vacuum cleaner robots)
Starting in 2024, the repairability index will transition to a sustainability index. If you have any questions about whether the obligations apply to your products, how you can meet the obligations and how we can support you, please feel free to contact us!
Do you need advice or assistance in fulfilling your obligations in France, Belgium, Luxembourg or the Netherlands? Contact us!
French labeling obligations and prohibitions
In connection with EPR regulations, all products intended for households and covered by EPR legislation are subject to mandatory labeling. They are subject to the obligation to carry a standardized Triman logo with sorting instructions. This obligation applies since 01.01.2022 and will be successively extended to all product groups.
In addition, France has adopted the European Commission’s regulation requiring distributors to label single-use plastics.
We will be happy to support you in implementing the labeling requirements.
The Triman logo informs the consumer that the product or packaging must be sorted or taken to a recycling point. In accordance with Article 17 of the AGEC Law, information on the sorting requirement (sorting instructions) should be provided in addition to the logo.
Now you are asking yourself: When, where and how must the Triman be installed? Feel free to send us your inquiry with information about your individual case and we will help you.
Depending on the EPR area, the sorting instructions for recycling look different. In any case, inform the consumer about the materials to be separated and the method of disposal of those. For packaging materials, this may look like the following (example):
es, the decree “Décret no 2021-1279 du 30 septembre 2021” requires the labeling of certain disposable products. The aim is to reduce the negative impact on the environment and avoid unregulated disposal. Since July 3, 2021, the following products must have the label that they contain certain plastic, so that the consumer is informed:
- Sanitary towels
- Tampons and tampon applicators
- Wet wipes for personal and
- household use
- Tobacco products with filters and filters marketed for use with tobacco products
- Beverage cups
The decree adopts the products listed in the EU directive and the application modalities provided for in the Commission’s implementing regulation of December 17, 2020 (and its corrigendum published in March). It granted a deadline of December 31, 2022, for the sale of stocks, provided that the products in question were placed on the market before July 3, 2021. The lack of labeling is punishable by law.
In most cases, the responsible systems offer to check the markings using image files. However, not all of them do this and, moreover, a check usually takes several weeks, depending on the scope. So it may take several months before you have the correct markings available for use. Instead, we are happy to offer to review your designs. We have several years of experience, and in particularly complicated cases, we call in the right system contacts to assist at short notice, which ensures shorter response times.
A ban on the use of the Green Dot by law was to come into force, but various institutions took legal action against this decision. The process is not yet finished and the outcome is unclear. As soon as there are news, we will inform you here, in our blog posts or in direct contact.
No, as things currently stand, the indication of France-specific labels on products and packaging is not prohibited in other countries. In fact, it is France’s intention that the markings should become valid in the future as a European model. For this reason, there is also an obligation to use other sorting indications when selling to other countries plus France, which make this clear (by country abbreviation). Therefore, always make sure to use the correct markings if you are selling to several countries in addition to France.
3 steps to Compliance - with CERTIFY
We know that achieving compliance in all the countries you distribute to is a major challenge. For that, you have us! As EPR experts, we open up our knowledge of processes and specific knowledge to you, so you can take care of your day-to-day business.
And not only that: If you wish, you can hand over all tasks to us and receive national and international legal security – without risks, with maximum transparency. We register you in all countries and all areas, and you get a personal contact who takes care of your concerns immediately and informs you about updates.
1. Assessment and clarification
During our dialogue, we analyze your individual duties and priorities, and answer any questions you may have.
We support you in the planning and implementation of your obligations.
You grant us the power of attorney and we take care of the rest. The only thing you then have to do is to report the quantities to us. We take care of everything else - from initial registration to regular quantity reporting and legal monitoring.
If you have any questions about your duties, details about France or our services, do not hesitate to contact us at any time by phone, email or our contact form. We are looking forward to your request!