The annual declaration for household packaging placed on the Belgian market has not become any easier over the past decade – we admit it. But what does the future hold? The recycling of household packaging has been gaining momentum over the past few years, so Fost Plus also needs more information in order to organise and finance the selective collection, sorting and recycling of these materials optimally. And just as importantly, your packaging information is the basis for calculating the recycling rates, which are compared with the legally imposed targets every year. This makes the data quality in your declaration essential for the credibility of our collective approach in Belgium.
As simple as possible, as detailed as necessary.
If Fost Plus wants to guarantee to you, as an entity responsible for packaging, that it is fulfilling your legal obligations in the best possible way, it has to be able to do the following in a reliable manner:
- calculate recycling rates
- monitor and provide the information requested by the government
- ensure that your annual contribution reflects your share in the collective approach.
Bearing these factors in mind, Fost Plus will at the same time try to limit and/or simplify your administrative work wherever possible. For example, we offer the possibility - to a limited extent - of using reliable average values when accurate packaging information is not available. This is always on condition that it does not affect the quality of the final result, and based on the principle that comparable market players should have the same obligations or be able to benefit from the same simplifications. For example, Fost Plus has already developed solutions to declare service packaging and/or shipping packaging aggregated by material, and there are declaration modules for packaging of wines & spirits and for packaging of pharmaceutical products. In each case, these simplifications were worked out together with the relevant sector organisations.
Besides limiting the information it requests, Fost Plus also tries to facilitate the process of data exchange. For instance, easy importing of data into MyFost via Microsoft Excel has been made possible and a feature has been provided that can be used to exchange packaging data sheets with other users. For smooth coordination across national borders, Fost Plus also consults with a number of counterpart organisations in neighbouring countries.
Members who are less familiar with the packaging information requested by Fost Plus can get help from Fost Plus’s independent external partner which, for a fee of EUR 25 per packaging item (excluding VAT), will determine the correct materials and weights via a laboratory packaging analysis. More details on this service can be obtained on request from firstname.lastname@example.org.
What does the future hold?
The need for the annual declaration to evolve as future needs change is a certainty.
This is why Fost Plus monitors legislative and other initiatives at both European and Belgian level that could potentially affect these information needs. And there are quite a few of these: the revision of the European Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive, the European Single Use Plastics (SUP) Directive, the revision of the interregional cooperation agreement, the Royal Decree on SUPs and, coming soon, the new accreditation of Fost Plus.
In addition, Fost Plus and its members continue to work steadfastly towards the common ambition of providing a recycling solution for household packaging entering the Belgian market. Materials for which a collection, sorting and recycling solution is set up are therefore assigned a specific recycling rate, and should be declared accordingly. Conversely, reality may also tell us that specific material properties (e.g. double-sided coated paper-cardboard or black plastic packaging) are hindering the efficient operation of the system that has been set up. In that case - fully in line with the design-for-recycling guidelines - additional restrictions may be imposed on the application of the recyclable materials rate.
It is also clear that the far-reaching simplification of the fixed-price declaration means that it can only be used to a limited extent. Packaging for which the weighted average weight per product family is not at all representative, or for which a simple and more accurate declaration type is available (e.g. wines & spirits, pharmaceuticals, service packaging, etc.) will be progressively excluded from the fixed-price declaration in the interest of the credibility of the recycling results and the correct financing of the collective system. This can be done either by restricting the use of the fixed-price declaration or by increasing the surcharge for this system in a targeted manner.
Finally, we do not rule out the possibility that a future introduction of a deposit system in Belgium could increase the minimum requirements in terms of packaging data, which may mean that simplified declaration systems for drinks packaging are no longer an option.
If you decide to take a proactive stance by ceasing to include all or part of your packaging in a fixed-price declaration in your 2023 return, you can count on support from Fost Plus with collecting the right packaging information smoothly and accurately. For more information, contact email@example.com.
In short, we try to guide you through this complex and technical subject year by year. By always informing you as early as possible, while avoiding confusion. By focusing on packaging information that is essential to the functioning and credibility of the collective system. By investigating whether the required information is already available elsewhere. But without in any way compromising on the quality of the data or the reasons for requesting it.