The world of French packaging compliance is evolving - the Green Dot is no longer mandatory!
The Green Dot trademark is an internationally recognised symbol that has contributed to the successful implementation of producer responsibility in participating countries.
This symbol signifies that for such packaging, a financial contribution (to the organisation of recovery, sorting and recycling of packaging placed on the market) has been paid to a qualified national recovery organisation. The symbol is therefore a financing symbol and not a recycling symbol as many people mistake it to be.
In France, the Point Vert scheme was made mandatory in order to help reduce the environmental impact of their packaging using cooperation and shared effort among stakeholders; customers, consumers, local communities and the authorities. Its mandatory status was also created to help France achieve the 75% recycling rate, as set by the Grenelle de l’Environment law.
French law states that all packaging participating in an approved recovery organisation must be marked with the Green Dot symbol so that when the product is purchased or supplied, the trademark is visible to the consumer.
Since 1992, there has only been one household packaging scheme in France, Eco-Emballages, which has therefore been the French Green Dot license holder. Producers have only had the option of joining this scheme in order to achieve packaging compliance. Due to the monopoly, customers such as Mars and Adidas have been unhappy with the lack of choice, the complexity of the data reporting and the high fees.
On 5 May 2017 a new eco-organisation, LÉKO, was approved to join the packaging compliance scheme market with entry set to take place on 1 January 2018 - breaking the 25 year monopoly!
In the anticipation of this competitor entering the market, changes in how Eco-Emballages operates have already taken effect (from 1 January 2017).
The most significant change has been that the Green Dot is no longer mandatory in France. The Green Dot would have only applied to members of Eco-Emballages, so the French authorities have made the decision to remove the obligations altogether.
Clients of Eco-Emballages have already been asked to sign new contracts making the use of the Green Dot voluntary. If companies want to continue using it, they can do so as long as they have a licence from Eco-Emballages. We are yet to hear whether LÉKO will be allowed to sub-license the Green Dot or whether their clients will have to arrange for a Green Dot licence separately with Eco-Emballages.
If a company doesn’t want to use the Green Dot anymore, they have until the end of October 2017 to use up all of their packaging marked with the Green Dot. After this they will need to obtain a licence in order to sell on the French market without any penalties.
In addition to the above changes, Eco-emballages have also reduced the complexity of their data reporting, in order to compete with the most simplified methods proposed by LÉKO. More details on other changes can be read here in blog piece by our International compliance product manager, Fran Witthuhn.
It is important to remember that the Green Dot is still mandatory in Spain, Portugal, Cyprus, and Greece.
Furthermore, it is still a very recognisable symbol in Germany despite the Green Dot being voluntary. Some German customers may want their UK suppliers to use the Green Dot on their packaging, and therefore obtain a German Green Dot licence from DSD, the licence holder.
Look out for our Green Dot labelling webinar on 16 August!
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 France or other European countries by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 0845 094 2228.
Kimberley works closely with our members in her role as an account manager, working hard to ensure they have everything in order to comply with their obligations. Having graduated from the University of Exeter with a Bachelor of Science in Biological and Medicinal Chemistry, Kimberley is without a doubt highly experienced dealing with technical intricacies and processes!
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