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- Producer Responsibility
Story 5: Regulated EPR for the ICI Sector – Leading the Way in Belgium with Valipac
The EU is leading the way to regulate packaging waste from the Industrial, Commercial, and Institutional (ICI) sector as being included in EPR programs. This is not the norm in Canada, but the ICI sector has been identified as a key waste generator for plastics, and plastic packaging.
While packaging from the ICI sector is not regulated under most EPR legislation in North America, some European countries have established EPR requirements for collection from the ICI sector. To date, Austria, Netherlands, Belgium and Germany have passed laws requiring producers of ICI packaging to participate in regulated EPR programs by funding collection, sorting and recycling of plastic packaging from the ICI sectors. In Germany and Belgium, producers are responsible for collecting and managing materials at businesses, restaurants, hotels, hospitals, educational facilities, sports stadiums, cinemas, and museums.
Belgium was one of the first countries to regulate packaging recycling from the ICI sector, with the Producer Responsibility Organization (PRO) Valipac in 1997. During the past 20 years Valipac has helped raise the recycling rate of industrial packaging to 91.5%, all the while keeping fees stable for producers. Valipac is responsible for: calculating the quantities of industrial packaging brought to the Belgian market by producers; collecting the figures sent in by waste management companies on the quantities of packaging waste collected and recycled; calculating the overall recycling rate for all ICI clients together; and reporting the aggregated data to the Interregional Packaging Commission. Valipac acts primarily as a centralizer of recycling system performance data, and as a facilitator between waste service providers and waste packaging generators; they do not have a collection and processing agreement.
Valipac is required to provide evidence to government authorities of the recycling of ICI packaging placed on the market by its members. For this reason, Valipac conducts education and awareness outreach to the ICI sector across Belgium, and offers incentives for ICI facilities to sort their packaging waste. These incentives are not government subsidies but are funded by fees from Valipac clients. The incentives are tied to contracting with a waste management company affiliated with Valipac which would then allow access to various financial incentives for participating on different levels: a starter incentive; a container incentive; a recycling incentive; and a bin bag incentive.
In addition, Valipac conducts enhanced traceability of the destination of collected recycling from its ICI sector and can identify 99% of the final destinations of ICI plastic packaging waste collected to ensure it is not exported illegally. Furthermore, Valipac also stimulates the development of recycling businesses within Europe by offering its recycling processors a bonus of €20/ton for recycling plastics within the EU, and €10/ton for recycling plastics within Belgium.
#CircularEconomy #Recycling #PlasticRecycling #EPR