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Changes to Norwegian packaging regulations

Changes to Norwegian packaging regulations
by Ellen Thornton at 15:34 in Packaging, Emerging

As of 1st September 2017, certain previously voluntary regulations in Norway became mandatory. These changes and others, which will come into force on 1st January 2018, will effect producers and return companies.

Changes for producers

As of 1st September 2017, certain previously voluntary regulations in Norway became mandatory. Producers now have requirements of what packaging they can place on the Norwegian market. These 'basic requirements' include preparation of packaging and its composition, reuse of packaging and recycling of packaging. Requirements for packaging consist of: limiting the volume and weight to the minimum, designing, manufacturing and marketing packaging so that it can be reused or recycled and waste disposal is minimised, and reducing the residues of hazardous substances in packaging to a minimum. Secondly, reuse of packaging requires physical characteristics of the packaging to allow it to be reused, the used packaging must meet health requirements and packaging must meet requirements for recycling. Finally, requirements for recycling of packaging include – packaging must be manufactured in a certain way so enough of it can be recycled; packaging waste that will be incinerated must have a minimum lower burn value; packaging waste for composting must be sufficiently biodegradable; biodegradable packaging should be able to degrade physically, chemically, thermally or biologically.

Furthermore, producers must report annually on their efforts and the results of waste prevention, as well as the extent to which the basic requirements are met. From 1st January 2018, producers who supply 1,000 kg or more of a packaging type per year must finance collection, sorting, material recycling and other processing of used packaging through membership of a return company which has​ been approved by the Environment agency.

Changes for return companies

For return companies, other wise known as take-back schemes, many obligations will become mandatory as well. Some changes were enforced on the 1st September 2017, such as the duty to inform consumer and business actors of handling of packaging waste. Return companies will also have a duty to report packaging types, must gain approval as a return company from the Environment Agency, pay fees for their approval and calculate the ratio of material recycled. Reports from the return company must be submitted to the Environment Agency and shall include: members total generated packaging placed on the Norwegian market, amount of packaging waste collected, processed and dispatched to different types of disposal and total material recovery shares. Return companies must document their fulfilment of these mandatory obligations at least twice a calendar year during the first two years following approval.

As of 1st January 2018, collectors of packaging waste must report annually on the amount of packaging which exceeds 1,500 kg in total and is not collected as part of an agreement with an approved return company. Return companies must take care of collection of packaging waste; accepting packaging waste from collectors provided it has been sorted properly, collect and receive the kind of packaging that their members have placed on the market and ends up as household and industrial waste, material recycling, safe collection for hazardous waste and have financial reserves for at least six months. Material recycling should be at least 30% of plastic packaging, 50% of expanded polystyrene, 60% of packaging, 65% of brown paper packaging, 60% of metal packaging, 60% of glass packaging and 15% of wood packaging of the packaging that their members have placed on the Norwegian market.

Many producers already meet these requirements as they were previously voluntary; they will, however, be mandatory now for those who place packaging on the Norwegian market.

If you need any more help with packaging waste in Norway, please contact us here.​

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