The aim of the Norwegian Environment Agency proposal is to achieve the binding recycling targets of the EU Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive.
Importantly it will also allow for equal competition between recycling companies. Here's what you need to know about the legislative proposal and the impacts on producers placing packaging on the market in Norway.
Voluntary trade agreements and packaging compliance
As a member of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA), Norway has to comply with EU waste legislation as outlined in the EEA Agreement, but thus far Norway has not introduced statutory EPR for packaging as this is not a mandatory measure under the Directive.
Instead, producer responsibility has been based on voluntary agreements between the Norwegian government and industry. Alongside other commitments, industry pledged to achieve the EU recycling and recovery targets. Currently five recycling companies (including some material specific systems) operate in the Norwegian market, in addition to a fee deposit return scheme for beverage containers.
Producers comply with the industry agreements by joining one of the material specific or recycling compliance schemes. Although voluntary in nature, it is estimated that the majority of producers in Norway are taking part in this system.
The changes to the Norwegian legislation were precipitated by the arrival of the Circular Economy Package at the end of 2015, which announced significant increases in recycling targets including a common EU packaging recycling target of 75% by 2030. Norway also experienced a recent shake up of the packaging recycling compliance market with the arrival of a new entrant, resulting in much needed discussions on fair competition and approval requirements for recycling compliance providers.
What will change?
According to the Norwegian Environment Agency proposal, the main changes are the new approval requirements for recycling companies and compliance scheme providers, an increased focus on waste prevention, the introduction of statutory recycling targets and a producer definition to tackle the problem of “free-riders”.
Who is a producer?
The definition proposed describes producers as “anyone who commercially imports or manufactures packaging or packaged products on to the Norwegian market,” which does not at first glance address the question of e-commerce and companies from abroad distance selling direct to Norwegian end-users.
It is to be expected that if selling direct to end-users in Norway via distance communication, the word “importer” will also apply to the foreign based seller in the absence of a Norwegian importer. However, we await more information on the interpretation of this definition as the legislation progresses.
Producers will also be responsible for packaging waste prevention plans, and the proposal foresees requirements for an annual report detailing producers' efforts and results, for which the Norwegian Environment Agency may yet establish detailed reporting guidelines.
This mirrors a similar provision in the recently introduced German packaging ordinance draft, which also envisaged differentiated fee structures based on minimum standards for recyclability.
Eco-Modulation has already been introduced in France in 2012 and has proven successful as a waste prevention measure for packaging. Promoting waste reduction has always been part of the essential requirements (Annex II of Directive 94/62/EC) since the very first Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive and is also a cornerstone of the Circular Economy Package (CEP).
Producers should expect other countries to follow suit reforming or amending national legislation to support the implementation of CEP Action Plan objectives.
The proposal has been submitted to the Norwegian government (Climate and Environment Ministry, KLD) and is expected to come into force in 2017. More information will follow as the ministry responds and the legislative amendment is adopted.
How can Ecosurety help?
We can offer consultancy to help producers understand their requirements in Europe, with support solutions including impact assessments, compliance strategies, regulatory monitoring, data management and distributor compliance support.
Please contact our team of specialists if you are offering goods for sale in Norway by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 0845 094 2228.
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