Obstructive packaging - December 2023 update


In November 2023, the Interregional Packaging Commission (IRPC) announced the derogation scheme for the second list of obstructive packaging which it published earlier this year. A general derogation was granted for packaging placed on the market in 2023 and 2024. Thereafter, a derogation will only be granted to members who indicate that they are planning to replace their obstructive packaging. In this article, we set out the main points for you.


The obstructive packaging category was created by the Interregional Packaging Commission (IRPC). This includes packaging that can seriously disrupt sorting and recycling processes. To discourage its use as far as possible, a special dissuasive Green Dot rate has been imposed on this kind of packaging. This rate is at least double the highest rate for recyclable packaging.

Moreover, the IRPC has provided for a so-called derogation or exemption to give companies enough time to phase out packaging of this kind and replace it with recyclable alternatives. As a result, members who indicate that they intend to remove obstructive packaging from their range may revert to the Green Dot rate for their packaging material.

The first list

In 2020, the IRPC published their first list of packaging types considered to be obstructive. This list can be divided into five broad categories:

  • Plastic bottles which are at least 70% covered by a sleeve (or 50% for bottles smaller than 50 cl) provided that the sleeve is made of a different material than the bottle and is not perforated
  • Laminated plastic packaging with aluminium foil for beverages, fruits and vegetables, prepared meals, maintenance and body care products and pet food 
  • Laminated cardboard packaging for crisps and milk powder with a metal or plastic top or bottom
  • Plastic cans with a metal top or bottom
  • Oxo-degradable packaging

For the first three types, the IRPC granted a derogation to all members for packaging placed on the market in 2021 and 2022. For 2023 and 2024, this derogation was extended only for members who had indicated via our survey in late 2022 that they intended to replace obstructive packaging with a sustainable alternative. Members who did not respond to the survey and are still placing obstructive packaging on the market will pay the dissuasive rate.

No derogation was granted for the last two types of packaging on the above list, which means that the dissuasive rate is applied to these types of packaging.

The second list

In early 2023, the IRPC defined a second, additional list of packaging it considers obstructive:

  • Coloured plastic packaging containing black carbon
  • Biodegradable and compostable plastic packaging
  • Black glass bottles coloured throughout the mass
  • Paper/cardboard packaging with a plastic coating on all sides, excluding beverage cartons
  • Laminated paper bags with aluminium foil lining for soups and powdered sauces
  • Laminated plastic packaging with aluminium foil for coffee
  • Laminated plastic packaging with aluminium foil for breakfast cereals

As with the first list, the IRPC also provided for the possibility of granting a derogation for these types of packaging. In any case, all members are entitled to a derogation for any packaging on the second list that enters the market in 2023 and 2024. For packaging that enters the market in 2025, a derogation can be obtained if members have indicated, during our survey in early 2023, that they intend to change this packaging. Members who have not yet responded may send us the information regarding their replacement plans so that they can claim the derogation for 2025.

What about the Green Dot rates?

If you are entitled to a derogation for your obstructive packaging, the Green Dot rate for the category to which the packaging originally belonged will apply to you. For example, if you put a PP tray containing black carbon on the market, you will pay the rate for PP bottles, flasks and other rigid containers if a derogation is in effect. In the case of a black PET tray, the rate for opaque PET trays will apply.

Please note that, in the 2024 Green Dot rates, it has been decided that all non-recyclable materials will be assessed at the same rate. So there will no longer be any difference between the rates for valorised, non-valorised and obstructive packaging. The unified rate is also much higher than before. The sharp increase in the rate is due to the cost deficit for processing residual waste. This is because the proportion of non-recyclable packaging is constantly becoming smaller, as a result of which the cost of processing the residual waste is spread over a smaller volume of packaging.

Fost Plus helps you make the switch!

The message is clear. The expansion of the list of obstructive packaging and the increased rates for non-recyclable packaging mean that, as a company, you should switch to more sustainable and recyclable alternatives quickly.

Fost Plus can help you get started with this:

  • Do you still have obstructive or non-recyclable packaging in your range? Fost Plus will help you look for alternatives. You may contact our Design-for-Recycling team with your questions by emailing us at d4r@fostplus.be.
  • Do you have any further questions about obstructive packaging? J? If you are wondering whether you are eligible for a derogation or have any questions about the Green Dot rates, please contact your Account Manager or our Service Desk at members@fostplus.be or +32 2 775 03 58.

To find out more about obstructive packaging, you can also visit this page.