Businesses must follow specific rules for recycling and re-using packaging waste, i.e. any type of packaging used to contain or protect goods, from the packaging in direct contact with the product sold, to grouping or transport packaging, whatever material it is made of.
A distinction is made between:
- packaging of household products, i.e. packaging for products mainly consumed for normal household activities (cans, carrier bags, shoe boxes, household appliances packaging, etc.);
- non-household packaging: i.e. packaging for products normally used by professionals (cement bags, 25 kg flour bags, wooden pallets, etc.).
Businesses are under the obligation to take back the packaging waste they are responsible for.
They may however call upon the services of an accredited organisation to do it for them.
Who is concerned
Packaging waste must be taken back by the entities which are responsible for the packaging:
- anyone who packages products or has products packaged in Luxembourg for sale within the country (e.g. the winegrower who fills his wine in bottles or a grocer who packs his products sold in a carrier bag);
- the importer of the product, in the case when products are packaged abroad and imported back to Luxembourg for their sale, with the exception of private individuals who consume the product.
However, if a Luxembourg retailer sells a product made by a Luxembourg producer, he is not responsible for the packaging as this responsibility lies with his suppliers (the producers of the product).
With regard to service packaging, the responsibility lies with any person who produces or imports service packaging to Luxembourg with a view to their placing on the Luxembourg market.
How to proceed
Obligations for those responsible for the packaging
The parties responsible for packaging must recycle at least 60 % or recover 65 % of the total weight of the packaging or packaging waste resulting from products that they have sold in Luxembourg, with a minimum of 60 % for glass and paper/cardboard, 50 % for metal, 22.5 % for plastic and 15 % for wood.
To this end, several systems are being put in place in order to guarantee:
- the return and/or collection of the packaging used and/or the packaging waste from the consumer or from any other end user or waste flow, in order to direct them to the most appropriate waste management systems;
- the re-use or recovery, including the recycling, of the packaging and/or packaging waste collected.
Businesses must also inform their customers of the systems they have set up for the recycling of the packaging generated by the sale of their products.
Collection of packaging waste by the business
Businesses that decide to fulfil their obligations and take back the packaging waste themselves must send a declaration of retrieval (déclaration de reprise) to the Strategies and Concepts Unit at the Environment Agency at the latest by 30 April following the reference year.
The declaration must include:
- data on the types of waste taken back, including the quantities placed on the market and the quantities retrieved;
- the recycling certificate issued by an authorised company (ex. waste trader, waste incineration site, etc.), and;
- audit results carried out by a statutory auditor.
Collection of packaging waste by an accredited organisation
Businesses can delegate their obligations to an accredited entity.
In Luxembourg, Valorlux is the only approved body that satisfies the requirements imposed on those responsible for packaging.
In practice, those responsible for packaging who become members of Valorlux declare the weight of the different packaging materials for the products that they sell in Luxembourg and pay a contribution per kilo depending on the type of material declared.