We have the answers to Frequently Asked Questions about packaging waste compliance. We are here to help you!
Which companies need to comply with the Packaging Waste Directive?
All companies need to comply with the Directive if their products include nearly any type of packaging. The volume of products you ship into a specific country makes no difference in your obligation to comply.
Can I come up with my own packaging recovery plan and avoid joining Green Dot®?
Yes, you can present your own plan for packaging recovery. This may make sense if you are very low volume producer with very few customers.
Am I required to join the Green Dot® scheme?
No. You are not required to join a program such as Green Dot®. However, the Packaging Directive requires manufacturers to recover their own packaging. Most companies find this impractical and participating in the Green Dot® Program is one way to meet these requirements.
What is considered “packaging’?
The packaging of your product is defined as any material used to contain and protect goods or to aid in their handling, delivery or presentation. The regulations cover most types of packaging, including the outer box that holds a larger batch of smaller packaged products. Please note that this does not apply to industrial packaging waste.
What types of packaging have heavy metals and why are they regulated?
Heavy metals in packaging have strict limits. These heavy metals are most often found in the inks used in some types of colored packaging. We can help you determine if your packaging is subject to these limits.
Which countries have implemented the Green Dot® Program?
Click here to view all countries that either participate in Green Dot® or have other recovery schemes in place.
Do I have to join the Green Dot® program in every participating country?
Yes, unless you plan to come up with your own recovery scheme. However, we can manage the registration process for you in every country where you ship products. This is part of the service we offer.
How do the individual country schemes promote the recovery of packaging?
The individual schemes all have different program for promoting packaging recovery and recycling. Their efforts involve educating the public and producers on the benefits of packaging reduction. Those programs are paid for by user fees.
Do individual countries have their own packaging recovery laws?
In most cases, European countries have transposed the "Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive" into their own national law. However, by joining the scheme in each country, paying the appropriate fees and meeting the ongoing reporting requirements, you are considered in compliance with individual country requirements.
What happens if I do not apply the Green Dot® to my packaging?
If you do not join a scheme and have not created your own program for packaging recovery, regulatory authorities in the individual countries could fine you for non-compliance. The fines can be significant and are enforced. Also, you may encounter resistance from distributors and retailers to stock your products.
Is the Green Dot® Logo a recycling logo?
No, the Green Dot logo merely indicates that the company has joined a packaging recovery scheme in that country. It does not imply that the packaging materials can be recycled or sorted in a certain way by consumers.
When can I apply the Green Dot® logo to my packaging?
The Green Dot® is a registered trademark worldwide. It is not a recycling logo and therefore should not be used as such. You can only apply the Green Dot® logo to your packaging after you have joined the appropriate Green Dot® schemes and paid the appropriate fees.
Once I join, do I have to reprint all my packaging and apply the Green Dot®?
No, in most countries application of the Green Dot® logo is not required. However, some markets such as France, Turkey, Spain, Portugal and Bulgaria do require you to apply the Green Dot® logo once you join. For marketing reasons, it makes good sense to apply the label in all markets because European consumers recognize the logo.
Does it matter if my packaging in the USA also carries the Green Dot® logo?
Yes. PRO EUROPE, the organization that oversees the Green Dot® logo and licensing, has authorized Green Dot North America in Toronto to manage usage and licensing of the logo in Canada, Mexico and the United States. Therefore, if you plan to use the same packaging in North American (with the Green Dot® logo) as you use in Europe, you need to sign a licensing agreement with Green Dot North America. It should be noted, however, the US has not enacted any packaging recovery legislation.
Do Europeans really care whether a product has a Green Dot® logo on it?
Yes! Europeans are more environmentally conscious than people from the US or elsewhere. You may also find that participating in the program is good business since consumers associate products with the Green Dot® logo with companies that have good environmental stewardship. Retailers may also not agree to sell your products for the same reason.
What are the Green Dot® Fees?
Fees are paid by the producers of packaging. The fees themselves vary by country and differ based on the type of material (paper, plastic, metal) structure is based upon the “producer pays” principle and takes into account the varying costs of collection, sorting and recycling of various packaging materials. The system encourages waste reduction since manufacturers that cut down on household packaging waste ultimately pay less in fees.
Essentially, there are two fees you may need to pay. Some countries only charge an annual license fee. Others only charge a variable fee based on the quantity of household packaging waste you generate in their country. Finally, some countries levy both - an annual license fee and variable fees. Fees are usually based on packaging material type, weight and in some countries, a volume fee per product unit sold.
Depending on the volume of product sold, payments of the fees are made on a monthly, quarterly or yearly basis. The frequency of reporting is determined by country. We will be able to tell you specific fee amounts once we have seen samples of your packaging and determined the present quality you are shipping to each country.
In all cases, we will prepare the reports and tally the fees you owe to each country and then provide instructions on where to send payment to each country directly. It should be noted that some countries will generate invoices, but others will ask you to pay based on the packaging volume report we generate on your behalf. Payments must be made in Euros or the local currency.
How much are the country fees?
Every country has different fees for joining the scheme and ongoing fixed and variable fees that depend on packaging type, weight and volume. Unfortunately, there is no single organization or agency that coordinates payments for all fees. This is up to individual companies to administer. As part of our services, we help companies manage and coordinate these payments to the various schemes. The individual country schemes use the money they raise from fees into packaging reduction and recovery programs.
Our fees for managing your Packaging Waste compliance programs
We charge two fees for our services - an annual fee based on the number of countries in which you sell (covered by the Packaging Directive, of course) and a variable fee that depends on the number of products you distribute and volume of your packaging. In any case, our fees for managing this process for you work out to be a tiny fraction of the total cost of your product and less than it would probably take to handle in-house.
What is a difference between “Recycling” and “Recovery”?
If all cases, countries recover more packaging than they recycle. Recovery means the total amount of packaging recovered. Recycled means the amount of the recovered material that is able to be reused instead of disposed or incinerated.
How often do reports need to be filed and in what format?
This is complicated because every country has their own packaging recovery organization and reporting requirements. In most cases, the frequency of your reporting and payment obligations are determined by the country and your volume of packaging.
If we join Green Dot and are therefore released of responsibility for recovering and recycling my packaging, who does?
Every country has their own program in place to ensure that all packaging is recovered and as much as possible is recycled. Some countries like Belgium have such well developed programs and consumer participation that they are able to collect and recycle a very high percentage of all packaging waste generated by members.
Where can I find a list of the individual packaging recovery organizations?
Click here for a list of compliance schemes in individual countries.