List of Frequently asked Questions
Who is EXPRA?
Established in 2013, EXPRA aisbl (Extended Producer Responsibility Alliance) is an umbrella organisation for packaging and packaging waste recovery and recycling systems owned by obliged industry. EXPRA acts as the authoritative voice and common policy platform representing the interests of all its member packaging recovery and recycling organisations founded and run by obliged industry.The Alliance operates as a non-profit organisation.
Who are the members of EXPRA and why was it established?
The members of EXPRA are national organisations responsible for the collection and sorting of waste, established and operated by obliged companies. The current members of EXPRA are Fost Plus (Belgium), Ecopack (Bulgaria), Green Dot Cyprus, EKO-KOM (Czech Republic), Valorlux (Luxembourg), Greenpak (Malta), CONAI (Italy), Eco-Rom Ambalaje (Romania), ENVI-PAK (Slovakia), EcoEmbes (Spain), Nedvang (the Netherlands), Green Dot Norway, Öko Pannon (Hungary), TMIR (Israel), CEVKO (Turkey), Herrco (Greece) and PAKOMAK (Macedonia).
The members of EXPRA came together in 2013 to jointly promote and protect the non-for-profit Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) model for packaging waste and to represent its members vis a vis the European Institutions.
Further to the entry into force of the 1994 EU Directive on Packaging and Packaging Waste (PPWD), the PPWD was implemented in most EU countries via systems of producer responsibility. The systems were created to assume responsibility for the collection and sorting of packaging waste for the entire sector of the industry. The PPWD requires EU Member States, for the purpose of the collection, sorting and recycling of packaging waste, to create “systems” with the participation of industrial companies. This Directive also applied in EEC member countries, as well as all countries that acceded to the EC.
What are the objectives of EXPRA and its members?
The not-for-profit purpose of EXPRA is threefold:
- to promote Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) for packaging waste, with a particular focus on household packaging waste and away from home consumption and to enable its Members to offer the best possible service for the lowest sustainable costs to their client companies.
- to promote a sustainable, transparent and efficient EPR scheme, which is owned and driven by obliged industry and offers a service of public or collective interest.
- to promote Best Practices of separate collection, sorting and recovery of used packaging and to defend these Best Practices with the European and other international institutions, associations and federations, as well as the national authorities and other stakeholders.
The Alliance also provides know-how and recommends best practices to systems on the collection and sorting of packaging waste in individual countries. It aims to improve the quality, transparency and effectiveness of the services offered by systems in individual countries and to further develop systems for the collection, sorting and recycling of packaging waste.
EXPRA also gathers and shares experiences and best practices from its members on issues such as waste prevention, packaging optimisation as well as effective information provision to consumers.
The primary task of EXPRA members is to ensure the effective implementation of appropriate national systems for the (separate) collection and sorting of packaging waste in their respective countries with a special focus on packaging arising at the household level and during the away-from-home consumption. This work ensures that enterprises and companies fulfil their obligations to take back used sales packaging and ensure that they are properly managed at their end of life. EXPRA members aim to ensure that the collection, sorting and recycling of waste are carried out in the most economical and environmentally-friendly manner possible.
EXPRA and its members work together to optimise the functioning of the different national systems from both economic and environmental perspectives. The members of EXPRA wish to demonstrate that the recycling of used packaging is an important step on the path towards the sustainable development that is necessary to safeguard our planet for future generations.
What are the benefits of signing a contract with an EXPRA member?
A company that signs a contract with an EXPRA member becomes exempt from its own responsibility to take back and/or recycle used packaging material within the scope of the functioning of the programme. Instead, the EXPRA member fulfils these obligations on behalf of the companies in the respective country. The aim of EXPRA members is to ensure the recovery and recycling of packaging waste in the most economically efficient and ecologically sound manner.
Obliged companies also benefit from the know-how and experiences from EXPRA / individual EXPRA member(s) in fields such as waste prevention, packaging optimisation, educational and awareness raising activities.
What companies are usually the liable entities that sign contracts with EXPRA members?
For products packaged in the country of distribution, the company packaging the product is generally responsible for ensuring proper end of life management of the packaging waste, in accordance with the applicable national legislation. The company should work with a relevant organisation that carries out the collection and sorting of waste.
Regarding imported packaged products, it is generally the importer that signs an agreement with a packaging recovery organisation. According to national packaging legislation, it is primarily the first importer (based in the country of distribution) that holds the responsibility for the collection and recycling of packaging.
It should however be noted that national systems as well as the distribution of responsibilities vary across countries. Given that individual systems vary, it is recommended that you find out more information from the organisation that is a member of EXPRA in the relevant country / countries where you sell your packaged products. In some countries, including for example Great Britain, the duty/ regarding packaging materials/ is distributed among several entities.
Contracts are generally not signed between EXPRA member organisations and non-EU based companies, due to the significant administrative burden that this entails. It is however often the case that the local importer needs to comply with the legal obligations in a given European country.
What is the relationship between EXPRA and PRO EUROPE?
EXPRA and PRO EUROPE (Packaging Recovery Organisation Europe s.p.r.l.) are umbrella organisations for packaging recovery organisations.
PRO EUROPE is, in its primary role, the general licensor of the “Green Dot” trademark and focuses its work on the protection and promotion of this symbol.
EXPRA focuses on providing know-how and recommend best practices to systems on the collection and sorting of packaging waste in individual countries and representing the interests of its members towards the European institutions and other policy makers and stakeholders.
EXPRA members are often also PRO EUROPE members and therefore entitled to use the registered trademark “The Green Dot”.
What costs are incurred when concluding a contract with an EXPRA member?
The costs depend on several factors, outlined below. These should be considered when comparing compliance costs with legal obligations within the scope of various systems operating in Europe.
The main factors affecting costs associated with compliance with legal obligations include:
- Recycling quotas in individual states and the effects of deferments/exemptions
- The existing infrastructure for collection and sorting of waste
- The source and type of packaging waste used to comply with recycling quotas in individual countries (only households or all packaging). The collection and sorting of packaging waste from households is usually more expensive than the collection and sorting of industrial packaging waste
- The respective share of costs borne by the given industry. Some systems cover 100% of the costs of collection and sorting, while others partly support the collection, sorting and recovery costs.
- The system utilised for collection. Generally, so called “bring” system (for example by container collection on public places) is cheaper than the kerbside collection system where every household has its own bin or sack.
- Geographic location and the population/settlement density. Covering remote and less populated regions is generally more difficult and costly.
- The size of a scheme also affects costs. A larger number of companies participating in a programme implies that costs are more spread out.
- The costs of labour and total overhead costs in individual countries.
Is EXPRA’s membership remit going beyond Europe?
How can I get in contact with EXPRA?
Please get in touch with Mr. Joachim Quoden, managing director of EXPRA. All necessary contacts you will find in section contact us.