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Valipac: the key aspects of the new accreditation

On 2 December 2021 the Interregional Packaging Commission (IRPC) granted a new five-year accreditation to Valipac, the organisation responsible for managing industrial and commercial packaging waste.

In order to achieve a circular economy, the IRPC set Valipac ambitious targets in terms of selective collection, recycling within Europe, prevention, eco-modulation, circularity, reuse of industrial and commercial packaging, and transparency of the processing channels. The accreditation also pays particular attention to the accessibility of the Valipac system for SMEs.

Targets in the new accreditation

Valipac’s new accreditation includes general targets that reflect the Belgian Regions’ strategic choices regarding industrial and commercial packaging waste. 

In consultation with the Interregional Packaging Commission and the industry, Valipac must focus on working towards:

  1. Recycling in the EU and Belgium
    Efficient and high-quality recycling in the European Union, and preferably in Belgium, of 80% of all industrial and commercial packaging waste by 2026, and 100% by 2030; 
  2. Transparency
    Complete traceability of all packaging waste to its final destination and therefore full knowledge of the treatment channels for all industrial and commercial packaging waste;
  3. Information exchange via platform
    Maximum collaboration with public and private European organisations to set up an information exchange platform so that information on audits conducted at recyclers can be shared; 
  4. Selective collection
    The highest possible level of selective collection of industrial and commercial waste/packaging waste through awareness-raising and communication campaigns, and by means of thorough monitoring, making companies aware of the applicable selective collection obligations; 
  5. Even more selective collection
    An increase in the number of companies that selectively sort one or more packaging streams by 25% by 2025, as compared with 2019, and then by at least a further 25% by 2030, as compared with 2025;
  6. Maximum sorting of residual waste
    Reduction to zero of the amount of recyclable industrial and commercial packaging waste in industrial and commercial residual waste.

Incentives and SME scheme

Valipac encourages unpackers to collect industrial and commercial packaging waste as selectively as possible, by providing container, recycling and starter incentives. In line with previous accreditations, Valipac will continue to offer an unpackers’ payment system, focusing particularly on small unpackers and retailers, via the SME scheme. 

In order to verify whether its incentive system still reflects the full cost of managing industrial and commercial packaging waste, Valipac will carry out a full evaluation of the incentives by mid-2024. 

As part of this, Valipac will examine the technical feasibility of doubling the plastic recycling incentive for unpackers who explicitly opt to have their packaging waste recycled in a circular application within the European Union.

Circular economy

Achieving high-quality recycling, preventing downcycling and encouraging circular applications: this is how we are striving to achieve a circular economy.

2.3.1 New cumulative bonuses for operators

For this reason, in addition to the normal administrative payment of €2/tonne made to operators (collectors and recyclers of industrial and commercial packaging waste), they will receive new cumulative bonuses:

  1. €10/tonne
    for recycling within the EU;
  2. €10/tonne
    for recycling within a maximum distance, determined by the cost of checking the data;
  3. €5/tonne
    for recycling by certified plastic recyclers and
  4. as from 1 January 2025 at the latest, €5/tonne
    for recycling plastic in a circular application, such as film-to-film recycling.

The amount of these payments can therefore be up to €32/tonne.

2.3.2. Pilot projects

In close consultation with the Interregional Packaging Commission, Valipac will develop an ambitious programme by 30 June 2023 to set up circularity pilot projects. 

One of the aims of this programme will be to recycle half of the film collected into new film by 2026.

Checking data

Contracts with operators and traders must offer sufficient guarantees that industrial and commercial packaging waste is actually recycled, and must be approved in advance by the IRPC.

Valipac takes the following measures to ensure a level of inspection that sufficiently guarantees the accuracy of recycling and recovery data, checked up to final recycling or final treatment.

  1. systematic documentation of the recycling channel (mapping);
  2. introduction of a programme of systematic audits of all industrial and commercial packaging waste; in particular, with regard to quantities exported through traders, auditing is deemed to be systematic if at least 90% of the tonnage is audited annually and no later than six months after the end of the audit period;
  3. preparation of the actual audit programme together with the IRPC on an annual basis. 

Quantities that cannot be verified are, in principle, excluded from the recycling figures.

Eco-modulation of rates

Eco-modulation of Valipac rates aims to manage raw materials in a more circular way and reduce the environmental impact of packaging.

As from 2022, therefore, Valipac will introduce a new bonus system for responsible companies: €50 per tonne of post-consumer recycled material used in plastic packaging composed of at least 50% post-consumer recycled material.

Valipac will investigate in 2023 whether this system can be extended, as from 2024, to packaging composed of less than 50% post-consumer recycled material and whether a different bonus can be granted for packaging that meets minimum “Design for Recycling” criteria. 

Furthermore, the rate for non-recyclable packaging will have to be at least double that for recyclable plastic from 2023 onwards.

Encouraging prevention and reuse

By December 2022, Valipac will also have to propose an ambitious action programme to the Interregional Packaging Commission for the prevention of packaging waste among its members. 

This action programme should aim to achieve an absolute reduction, without jeopardising the achievement of the recycling targets, in the quantity of one-way packaging placed on the market by at least 5% (as compared with the 2021 tonnage) by the end of the accreditation period. This will apply to all members.

 By the same date, Valipac will propose a similar programme to encourage its members to use reusable packaging. 

Pilot projects are also planned under both action programmes.

Reporting on industrial and commercial waste

To report industrial and commercial waste streams processed or resold by operators that have a contract with Valipac, Valipac will continue to use the “MyClients-Materials” application. This was developed during the previous accreditation period and has proved to be a very efficient reporting tool. 

The streams in question are industrial and commercial residual waste, paper/cardboard, A, B and C-grade wood, ferrous and non-ferrous metals and mixed metals, flat, hollow and hazardous glass, plastic film, EPS and rigid plastic.

The report contains a large amount of data, such as the quantities per Belgian Region for each waste stream, the number of individual collection addresses per Region for each waste stream and the selective collection rate per Region and per cluster.

Results of mapping in 2020

Reporting to the IRPC on the final destinations of plastic streams in 2020 (mapping)

Mapping systematically documents the recycling channel, from the collector and trader to the final recycler. The channel was fully mapped for a total of 56 kilotonnes (kt) of industrial and commercial plastic packaging waste; this waste was recycled in Europe, Asia or Turkey.

Continent Asia Europe Turkey Total
Market share 36.5 % 39.8 % 23.7 % 100 %
Tonnage 21 kt 22 kt 13 kt 56 kt

 

These tonnages represent 97.5 % of all industrial and commercial plastic packaging waste sent for recycling by operators under contract with Valipac. Valipac is therefore well on the way to achieving 100 % traceability, as stipulated in the new accreditation.

Overview of the final destinations for recycling

The figures below have been provided by accredited compliance organisation Valipac. Those for plastic are obtained from mapping and are therefore particularly accurate. In future, mapping will be extended to more and more materials.

Wood Paper/ Cardboard Plastic Metal
Belgium 91 % 36 % 16 % 57 %
EU 9 % 47 % 22 % 20 %
Non-EU 0 % 17 % 62 % 23 %
Total 100 % 100 % 100 % 100 %