If you are placing goods on the market, make sure you are compliant with the legislation on waste. You may have notification obligations to the EU SCIP database.
The SCIP database – a database for «Substances of Concern In articles as such or in complex objects (articles)" - was created by the European Chemicals Agency (hereafter ‘ECHA’) pursuant to a provision of the Waste Framework Directive. 1
The purpose of this database is to collect information on articles containing substances of very high concern (‘SVHCs’) on the Candidate List in a concentration above 0.1% weight by weight (w/w) on the EU market.
Since 5 January 2021, suppliers of such articles have the duty to submit to ECHA a number of information to populate the SCIP database.
What is the objective?
According to ECHA, the SCIP database has three main objectives:
- To reduce the generation of waste containing hazardous substances by facilitating the substitution of substances on the candidate list that are contained in articles placed on the EU market;
- To make information available to further improve waste treatment operations treatment operations;
- Enable authorities to monitor the use of substances of concerned articles and to put in place appropriate measures throughout articles’ life cycle, including at the waste management stage, until the very end of an article life cycle.
Who should comply?
Any supplier of an article as defined in the REACH Regulation2, i.e., «any producer or importer of an article, distributor or other actor in the supply chain placing an article on the market".
The scope of the obligation is therefore very broad: all players in the distribution chain are concerned, not only manufacturers: EU producers and assemblers, EU importers, EU distributors of articles and other actors in the supply chain placing articles on the market. Specific procedures are foreseen to facilitate the fulfilment of their duty by the downstream actors in the supply chain (see below).
However, ECHA has clarified that retailers, excluding importers and/or producers, and any other supply chain actors who supply articles directly and exclusively to consumers are not concerned by the duty to provide information to ECHA.
Which articles are concerned?
The Waste Framework Directive, by reference to Article 33(1) of the REACH Regulation3 requires the communication of information on “articles”:
- containing substances of very high concern that may be listed in Annex XIV of the REACH Regulation pursuant to Article 57 of the same Regulation (carcinogenic, mutagenic carcinogenic, mutagenic, toxic for reproduction, persistent, bioaccumulative, endocrine disruptors, ...);
- in a concentration greater than 0.1% w/w; and
- placed on the market in the European Union (articles manufactured in the EU for exporting to third countries are not concerned).
The duty to provide information applies extensively to:
- Complex objects incorporating these articles or other complex objects are also covered by the obligation. ECHA takes the example of a bicycle supplier: if the tire of the bicycle is an article as referred to above, the supplier of the bicycle has to submit a SCIP notification for the bicycle (the complex object placed on the market). However, ECHA has in some cases provided procedural facilities to allow for "clustering" or "prioritization" in the notification;
- All articles meeting these criteria are subject to the SCIP notification duty, without any applicable tonnage threshold (the 1 tonne-per-year threshold foreseen under Article 7.2 of the REACH Regulation is not applicable to SCIP notifications);
- The notification duty applies whether or not the supplier has prior knowledge of the substances. It is therefore in the supplier's interest to have an accurate knowledge of his article portfolio and to actively seek information on the possible presence of these substances. In this respect, the notification duty may be triggered by an update of the Candidate list of SVHCs pursuant to the REACH Regulation or a change in the composition of a complex object or any article
What type of information must be provided?
According to Article 33(1) of the REACH Regulation4 the information provided by the supplier of an article should constitute "sufficient information, available to the supplier, to allow safe use of the article including, as a minimum, the name of that substance".
ECHA has clarified that the elements to be provided in a SCIP notification must include the following information:
- Information allowing the identification of the article, including identifiers and detailed decription;
- Identification of the Candidate list substance contained in the article, its concentration range and location in the article, if applicable; and
- Any other information on the safe use of the article available to the supplier, including information necessary to ensure the proper management of the article once it becomes waste.
Article L. 521-5, III of the French Environmental Code, however, excludes "information the disclosure of which would be likely to harm the essential interests of national defense”. This exception should remain extremely limited.
How to notify?
Regulatory measures are currently being drawn up to specify the procedures for communicating information to ECHA and introduce penalties which should be set out in paragraph 18 of Article R. 521-2-14 of the French Environmental Code in the event of a breach of the obligation. 5.
Notifications may be submitted via the dedicated ECHA submission portal, mainly using the IUCLID application.
It should also be noted that specific procedures are provided for in certain cases: the simplified notification in order to facilitate the task of distributors (this will allow a distributor to refer to the SCIP notification of its own supplier) and the referencing to a notification file to facilitate notification for assemblers of articles producing complex articles (this will allow an assembler to access the 2 previous notifications).
In the course of October 2020, two months before the notification duty became effective, ECHA released guidelines on the requirements. On 24 November 2021, ECHA released a version 2.0 of the SCIP data base..
Who has access to the information provided?
The SCIP database is widely accessible: to waste treatment organizations, but also to the general public (consumers, NGOs representing consumer interests, Member State authorities, etc.)
This information is easily accessible, as ECHA has made the database available on its website at the following address: https://echa.europa.eu/fr/scip-database. More than 6 million articles are currently listed.
ECHA publishes information on its website as received, but ensures the protection of confidential business information where justified (including information that may reveal links between actors in the supply chain).
The Fidal team is available to assist with your and your clients’ SCIP obligations.
Firstly, companies are required to identify what their notification duty is. To do so, companies need to have a clear understanding of their portfolio of articles and their composition in order to determine whether the SCIP notification duty applies to them. This includes setting up monitoring and follow-up procedures (in case of an update of the Candidate list of SVHCs, changes made to the product, etc.). It is necessary to insert clear and precise contractual clauses regarding the supplier’s and purchaser’s respective responsibilities for a complete and timely notification of the presence of SVHC.
In addition, operators must choose the notification method that is best suited to their situation (simplified notifications for actors down the distribution chain) in order to prepare and submit a notification in line with the waste legislation requirements. It is also necessary to be prepared for inspections by authorities in case of a failure to notify, for example upon a report by competitors
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.
1 Article 9(2), Directive 2008/98/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 19 November 2008 on waste and repealing certain Directives
2 Article 3, paragraph 33, Regulation (EC) No 1907/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 December 2006 concerning the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH), establishing a European Chemicals Agency, amending Directive 1999/45/EC and repealing Council Regulation (EEC) No 793/93 and Commission Regulation (EC) No 1488/94 as well as Council Directive 76/769/EEC and Commission Directives 91/155/EEC, 93/67/EEC, 93/105/EC and 2000/21/EC (OJ L 396, 30.12.2006, p. 1–849).
3 Ibid., Regulation (CE) n° 1907/2006
4 Ibid., Regulation (CE) n° 1907/2006