Top 10 Tips for Distance Sellers to Ensure Environmental Compliance

So you’re selling online, and offering delivery worldwide – great! Have you considered whether you have obligations under any environmental legislation in your target markets? It’s more commonly overlooked than you might think.

Given the lack of harmonisation in the EU (let alone further afield), we’ve created some handy tips below to help you on your journey to ensuring you’re compliant where required.


    1. Research. “You don’t know what you don’t know” – and there’s a lot to know. Did you know a single e-commerce sale to a consumer in France, Germany, or Spain means you have legal obligations under their waste regulations?
    2. Plan ahead. Many key requirements are laid out by directives – meaning Member States choose how to adopt them. Identifying and understanding 28 sets of requirements for each directive takes more time than you may think.
  • Prioritise. Offering delivery to all EU Member States? Where to begin? You may want to consider your major markets as a priority, then move on to the others. But if you’re obligated in all 28, remember these are legal requirements – so don’t wait too long!


    2. Make no assumptions. Your obligations under UK packaging, electrical, batteries (or any other) regulations are often irrelevant in other markets. Consider each market individually to understand the requirements.
    3. Speak to people. You can learn a great deal and avoid plenty of hurdles by exploring how your peers, colleagues, competitors, and networks have managed their compliance requirements.
    4. Seek answers in writing (and keep records). Given the complex business models in today’s global market, the changeable nature of legislation and the endless potential for misinterpretation on all sides, it’s best to get guidance in writing – even if this follows a phone-call.
  • Evaluate your systems. Data requirements (and frequencies) vary from country to country, and service to service – from pleasantly straightforward, to highly complex! Can you capture the necessary data with your current systems?


  • Budget, budget, budget! Registration costs; levy charges for volumes sold; resource needed to generate, manipulate, declare data; have you put enough aside to cover the costs in all obligated markets?


  • Keep up to date. Currently under the packaging threshold for Belgium? What about next year, have sales increased? Has the threshold changed? Moving into any new markets? Keep an eye on it – it’s an ever-shifting landscape.


  • Don’t panic! You’re not alone. Whether you’re a start-up, an SME, or a global brand, awareness of global extended producer responsibility obligations is still growing. The spot-light isn’t on you, but don’t let non-compliance catch up with you.



Some of these might seem obvious, but trust me – it’s amazing how often people make this process more difficult than it needs to be. If you have questions, don’t hesitate to let me know.

I’ll be speaking in room 9 at 14:35 so come and have a listen, and try to catch me out with some questions! We’d love to chat over a coffee on our stand too – you can even take a Valpak pen and mug away with you (subject to availability!)

Alternatively you can email me at or call on 01789 208 753 and I’ll be happy to help.