Posted on 07/10/2008 in category BIR


REACh Pre-Registration - EU Commission advice - Düsseldorf Convention

The European Commission reiterated in a letter sent out yesterday that there is a "need to pre-register recovered substances that have ceased to be waste".

Thisadvice is in respect of the EU Regulation REACh and substances that aremanufactured in the EU or imported into the EU that have "ceased to bewaste". The deadline for Pre-Registration is by 1 December 2008.

Different motivations for Pre-Registering

The legal motivation

REACH,the new EU chemicals regulation, requires that chemical substances ontheir own, in preparations and those which are intentionally releasedfrom articles have to be registered to the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA).The regulation applies to substances manufactured in, or imported tothe EU in annual quantities of 1 tonne or more per company, unless theregulation indicates otherwise.

The obligation for a companyto register applies from 1 June 2008. The chemicals currently on the EUmarket which meet the definition of phase-in substances should bepre-registered between 1 June and 1 December 2008. Companies whopre-register their substances can benefit from extended registrationdeadlines. The deadline depends on the tonnage band and the hazardousproperties of the substance.

The REACh Regulation Art.2(7)(d)provides relief for Recyclers by exempting from registration recoveredsubstances that have been registered before. But there is no certaintythat registrations would have already been made by the end of thepre-registration phase 1 December 2008, so it is unlikely theconditions of Article 2(7)(d) will be fulfilled by 1 December 2008, sofinal recovery installations should Pre-Register their manufacturedsubstances in order to covers their activities during the period upuntil the substance(s) is (are) Registered.

The Commercial consideration

Companiesthat regard themselves as Recovery and Recycling Companies, but thatunder their national laws have waste as an infeed and waste as anoutput, in other words companies that are not at the end of therecycling chain as final recovery companies, should not need toPre-Register or Register those wastes as the REACh Regulation Art.2(2)explains that waste is not a substance, preparation or article in theRegulation Definitions.

However Recovery and Recycling Companieswill make their own judgement whether despite not having a legalobligation to Pre-Register there is a benefit to Pre-Registering.Pre-registration gives the chance to communicate with othermanufacturers of the same substance in a 'SIEF' Forum. This givesrecovery installations access to the contacts to other manufacturers ofthe substance and, if they wish so, a possibility to contribute to the'SIEF' Forum discussions. Pre-registration will also allow recoveryinstallations to participate in the discussion on the sameness ofsubstances. Moreover, the 'SIEF' Forum may also be an opportunity todiscuss access to safety information, which recovery installations mayneed to benefit from the registration exemption but also for otherobligations they may have under REACh.

Assuming in all EUMember States that the materials that enter Recovery and Recyclingfacilities are in law waste, then Recovery and Recycling companiesshould determine the legal position, whether the materials orsubstances that exit their premises are waste or product under theirnational law first, then under EU law.

[Indicators that amaterial exiting an EU Recovery facility is a waste and so not to bepre-Registered in REACh are inter alia: Transporter having a wastecarriers licence; A waste placard on the truck; Waste transfer notesaccompanying the material; Annex VII forms of the Waste ShipmentRegulation accompanying the material etc.]

It has long beenthe understanding of industry that substances that have ceased to bewaste come out of the Waste Legislation and come under REAChRegulation. So BIR representation has focussed on avoiding that bothWaste and REACh laws apply to the same substances at the same time,that should be the case though regulators have been somewhat evasive inputting that so plainly in writing.

European Commission helps Recyclers

TheEuropean Commission has been very helpful in producing a document thatgoes a long way to clarifying the interface between Waste and REAChlaws.

The letter refers to section 3.2 of the European Commission document CA/24/2008 rev.1 in respect of which the European Commission also compiled a list of answers to questions from stakeholders, including BIR, in CA/24/2008 rev.1 Annex.

UnfortunatelyEU-27 Member States did not fully agree this document at their meetingat the end of September. The result of such a disagreement is thatcompanies and national associations are advised to ensure they complywith their national laws first as their own government will enforce theRegulation.

Pre-registration is free and simple

Eachcompany needs to make its own decision whether it is legally obliged toPre-Register or whether there is a commercial or other advantage to doso. If the company decision is to Pre-Register, Pre-registrationrequires only limited data and there is no fee associated to it.

A pre-registration file for a substance consists of:

  • Substance Identity: EINECS number, CAS numbers and names of the substance

    e.g. for the substance name "Copper" the EINECS number, EC# is 231-159-6;
    the CAS# is 7440-50-8 [Search EINECS and CAS# on the website]
  • envisaged deadline and tonnage band for the registration

    (Manufacturingor import tonnages bands are: > 1 tonne per year; 100 to 1000 tpy;>1000 tpy. For which different registration deadlines apply as: 1stDecember 2010; 1st June 2013; 1st June 2018.)
  • name andcontact information of a Contact person or Third party Representativewho will act as the contact point in data sharing

On-line pre-registration entails, in its simplest form, entering the required information directly into the REACH-IT system.

The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) provides the following training material here on how to submit pre-registrations on different type of substances via the REACH-IT portal

Anyonethat has experience filling in an online form, for example ordering anairline E-ticket, could fill in the Pre-Registration as easily. Howeverbe aware of the European Chemicals Agency advice on Pre-Registration and remember the deadline by 1 December 2008.

Düsseldorf Convention - International Environment Council

Dr. Otto Linher of the European Commission, co-author of the useful and helpful Commission document CA/24/2008 rev.1and its Annex will talk on these matters at the BIR DüsseldorfConvention to the International Environment Council, Thursday 30thOctober 14.30 hrs.