Chapter 7. Packaging waste

Regulations relating to the recycling of waste (Waste Regulations). This is an unofficial translation of the Norwegian regulation.

Laid down pursuant to section 4 of the Act of 11 June 1976 no. 79 relating to the control of products and consumer services (the Product Control Act). Chapter 8 added by regulations no. 1060 of 30 June 2004 (in force from 1 July 2004).

Adopted under sections 31, 32, 33, 49, 52a, 63 and 81 of the Act of 13 March 1981 No. 6 relating to protection against pollution and to waste (the Pollution Control Act), see the EEA Agreement, Annex II, Chapter XVII, item 7 (Directive 1994/62/EC as amended by Directive 2004/12/EC, Directive 2005/20/EC and Directive 2013/2/EU).

Section 7-1. Purpose

The purpose of this chapter is to reduce environmental problems caused by the use of packaging, increase reuse and recycling, and reduce environmental problems associated with packaging waste. This is to be achieved by reducing the quantity of packaging, by packaging optimisation and by ensuring that used packaging and packaging waste are collected, reused and recycled.

Section 7-2. Scope

The provisions of this chapter regulate unused packaging placed on the Norwegian market, and the collection, reuse, recycling and other treatment of used packaging and packaging waste.

The provisions of this chapter do not apply to packaging for beverages that is covered by section 6-1 of the Waste Regulations.

The provisions of this chapter do not apply to Svalbard and Jan Mayen.

Section 7-3 Definitions

For the purposes of this chapter:

a) packaging means all products and disposable items, made of any materials of any nature, to be used for the containment, protection, handling, delivery from the producer to the user, and presentation of goods, including raw materials and processed goods. When assessing whether or not an item constitutes packaging, the following three criteria shall be used:

1) products and disposable items shall be considered to be packaging if they fulfil the definition above, irrespective of other functions that the packaging might also have, unless the item is an integral part of a product and it is necessary to contain, support or preserve that product throughout its lifetime and all elements are intended to be used, consumed or disposed of together;

2) products and disposable items designed and intended to be filled at the point of sale, and disposable items that are sold filled, shall be considered to be packaging provided they fulfil a packaging function;

3) packaging components and ancillary elements integrated into packaging shall be considered to be part of the packaging into which they are integrated. Ancillary elements hung directly on, or attached to, a product and which perform a packaging function shall be considered to be packaging unless they are an integral part of this product and all elements are intended to be consumed or disposed of together.

b) packaging waste means any packaging covered by the definition of waste set out in section 27 of the Pollution Control Act;

c) producer responsibility organisation means an enterprise that undertakes to fulfil duties under these regulations for one or more producers, and that has been approved in accordance with section 7-14;

d) producer means any entity that on a commercial basis imports packaging or packaged products to the Norwegian market, or that in Norway produces such packaging or packaged products for the Norwegian market;

e) treatment means any activities carried out for the recovery and disposal of waste, including preparation for recovery or disposal and storage pending recovery or disposal;

f) recycling means any form of recovery in which waste materials are used for the production of substances or objects that are not waste. Recycling includes biological treatment of organic waste. The use of waste to produce energy or materials for use as fuel or for backfilling is not considered to be recycling;

g) prevention means measures taken before packaging becomes waste that reduce the quantity of waste and the harmful effects of packaging waste on the environment and human health or the content of harmful substances in the packaging.

Section 7-4. Essential requirements relating to the composition, etc., of packaging

Packaging may only be placed on the Norwegian market if it complies with the essential requirements set out in Appendix I to this chapter.

Compliance with the essential requirements under the first paragraph shall be presumed if the packaging complies with

a) harmonised standards published in the Official Journal of the European Communities, or

b) national standards that have been communicated to the European Commission, in so far as no harmonised standards in accordance with a) above exist.

Section 7-5 Duty to be a member of a producer responsibility organisation

Producers that place on the market at least 1 000 kg per year of a specific type of packaging shall fund the collection, sorting, recycling and other treatment of used packaging and packaging waste through membership of a producer responsibility organisation that has been approved by the Norwegian Environment Agency, see section 7-14.

If the producer responsibility organisation is unable to carry out its duties under sections 7-9 to 7-14, the producer itself shall ensure that the duties under the first paragraph are carried out.

Section 7-6. Duty to ensure waste prevention

Producers shall work towards waste prevention. The Norwegian Environment Agency may issue further guidelines for waste prevention efforts.

Section 7-7. Duty to report on waste prevention efforts and manufacturing requirements for packaging

A producer shall either alone or in cooperation with other producers draw up an annual report on producers' waste prevention efforts and the results achieved. The report shall also give and account of the degree of compliance with the essential requirements relating to the manufacture and composition of packaging as set out in Appendix I, item 1, to this chapter. The report shall include an overview of action taken, expertise available and information activities, and shall describe changes in the quantity of packaging generated by weight (in tonnes) and the percentage change from the previous year, and further plans for waste prevention. The Norwegian Environment Agency may lay down further reporting requirements.

Section 7-8. Duty to report on packaging waste collected by others than approved producer responsibility organisations

Any entity that collects packaging waste for recycling shall report annually on quantities of packaging waste of the types specified in section 7-9 d) that overall exceed 1 500 kg and that are not collected as part of an agreement with an approved producer responsibility organisation. The information shall be reported to an approved producer responsibility organisation or the Norwegian Environment Agency.

Section 7-9. Duty to collect, receive and treat packaging waste

Producer responsibility organisations shall arrange for the following:

a) the collection of packaging waste from the business sector and municipalities;

b) the reception of packaging waste from companies that collect it, provided that the packaging waste has been sorted, stored and transported onwards in an appropriate way, so that it is suitable for further handling;

c) the collection and reception of a reasonable quantity of the type of packaging their member companies have placed on the Norwegian market when it ends up as household and industrial waste. Waste shall be collected regularly and throughout the country. The duty to collect waste applies to the types of packaging for which the producer responsibility organisation is approved, regardless of the quality of the waste. Import and export figures from the Directorate of Norwegian Customs and data from the producer responsibility organisation on domestic production shall be used as the basis for calculating the quantities of waste to be collected. The Norwegian Environment Agency may issue further rules on the basis for calculations.

d) recycling of at least 30 % of plastic packaging with the exception of expanded polystyrene, 50 % of expanded polystyrene, 60 % of folding box board, 65 % of brown paper packaging, 60 % of metal packaging, 60 % of glass packaging and 15 % of wooden packaging that their members have placed on the Norwegian market. Packaging waste that has been sorted for recycling shall not be used for energy recovery or landfilled unless this is found to be justified after weighing up environmental and resource considerations and the best available techniques.

e) the collection and recovery of packaging for hazardous waste such that a high level of safety can be maintained, ensuring that hazardous waste does not go astray or cause injury to people or animals or environmental damage, and measures to prevent hazardous waste from being collected together with packaging waste. Steps shall also be taken to ensure that any hazardous waste mistakenly collected is treated appropriately. In the annual reports required under section 7-12, quantities of waste packaging for hazardous waste shall be reported separately.

f) the maintenance at all times of financial reserves to cover operations for at least six months, so that they can fulfil their duties to their members as set out in this chapter.

The Norwegian Environment Agency may require producer responsibility organisations to collect waste or coordinate its collection if this is necessary to ensure continuous nationwide collection of packaging waste.

Section 7-10. Duty to provide information

Producer responsibility organisations shall provide consumers and businesses with adequate information on the handling of packaging waste. A producer responsibility organisation shall carry out at least one nationwide information campaign a year targeting consumers and businesses for each packaging type for which it is approved. Producer responsibility organisations may cooperate to fulfil this requirement.

Section 7-11. Duty of equal treatment

All producers shall be entitled to join a suitable producer responsibility organisation.

Section 7-12. Duty to report

Producer responsibility organisations shall report annually to the Norwegian Environment Agency by a given date to be determined by the Agency. For each of the packaging types specified in section 7-9, first paragraph, d, the report shall include:

a) the total quantity of packaging generated by its members and placed on the Norwegian market;

b) the quantity of packaging waste collected, treated and transported onwards for different types of disposal, split by collection area, and calculated separately for household and industrial waste; and

c) overall recycling rates for packaging waste.

The producer responsibility organisation shall review the information and subject it to quality assurance before it is published.

Further reporting requirements will be indicated in the approval documents for producer responsibility organisations. The Norwegian Environment Agency may amend the reporting requirements.

Section 7-13 Requirements for calculating recycling rates

The recycling rate is to be calculated as the ratio between the quantity of packaging waste recycled and the quantity generated by the members of a producer responsibility organisation in the course of one calendar year. The recycling rate shall be calculated for each type of packaging for which the organisation is approved, see section 7-9, first paragraph, d).

Further requirements relating to calculations will be indicated in the approval documents for producer responsibility organisations.

Section 7-14. Requirements relating to approval

Producer responsibility organisations shall be approved by the Norwegian Environment Agency.

To obtain approval, a producer responsibility organisation must substantiate that it will establish a waste collection and recovery scheme that will make it possible to fulfil the requirements of sections 7-9 to 7-14 of this chapter.

The Norwegian Environment Agency may revoke its approval of a producer responsibility organisation if the organisation does not comply with section 7-9 c) or repeatedly fails to meet requirements set out in sections 7-9 to 7-14 of this chapter. If approval is revoked, the producer responsibility organisation shall treat packaging waste that has already been received in accordance with the requirements of this chapter.

In the first two years after it has obtained approval, a producer responsibility organisation shall document compliance with section 7-9, first paragraph, at least twice during each calendar year, at intervals of at least five months or as agreed with the Norwegian Environment Agency.

Section 7-15. Supervision

The Norwegian Environment Agency will monitor compliance with the provisions of this chapter and decisions made under the provisions of this chapter.

Section 7-16 Fees

When a producer responsibility organisation applies for approval or amendments to approval, it shall pay a fee to the public treasury for processing of the application by the Norwegian Environment Agency.

The Norwegian Environment Agency may charge a fee when it carries out inspections in accordance with this chapter.

The Norwegian Environment Agency will determine the fee rates under the first and second paragraphs. In special cases, the Agency may reduce or waive fees payable in accordance with this provision.

Appendix I. Essential requirements relating to the composition of packaging and its reusable and recoverable nature

1. Requirements relating to the manufacture and composition of packaging

- When packaging is manufactured, its volume and weight shall be limited to the minimum required to maintain the necessary level of safety, hygiene and acceptance as regards the packaged product and the consumer.

- Packaging shall be designed, manufactured and commercialised in such a way as to permit its reuse or recycling, and to minimise its impact on the environment when packaging waste or residues from packaging waste management operations are disposed of.

- When packaging is manufactured, the content of harmful substances and materials in packaging material and its components, and of other hazardous substances that are present in emissions, ash or leachate when packaging or residues from management operations for packaging waste are incinerated or landfilled, shall be reduced to a minimum.

2. Requirements relating to the re-use of packaging

The following requirements shall be satisfied simultaneously:

- the physical properties and characteristics of the packaging shall enable it to be re-used a number of times under normally predictable conditions of use;

- it shall be possible to treat used packaging in accordance with the requirements for employees' health and safety;

- packaging shall fulfil the requirements for recyclability when it is no longer re-used and ends up as waste.

3. Requirements relating to the recovery of packaging

a) Packaging recoverable by recycling

Packaging shall be manufactured in such a way that a certain percentage by weight of the materials used can be recycled to manufacture marketable products, in compliance with current standards in the European Community. This percentage may vary from one packaging material to another.

b) Packaging recoverable by energy recovery

Packaging waste incinerated for energy recovery shall have a minimum inferior calorific value to allow optimisation of energy recovery.

c) Packaging recoverable by composting

Packaging waste processed for composting shall be sufficiently biodegradable, so that separate collection and the composting process are not hindered.

d) Biodegradable packaging

Biodegradable packaging waste shall be capable of undergoing physical, chemical, thermal or biological decomposition such that most of the finished compost ultimately decomposes into carbon dioxide, biomass and water.

Background

The Ministry of Climate and Environment has adopted new regulations relating to packaging waste (Chapter 7 in the Waste Regulations), with effect from 1 September 2017. Their purpose is to that companies that deal with packaging waste compete on equal conditions, and that Norway achieves its binding targets under the EEA Agreement.

Since the mid-1990s, the business sector itself has been responsible for collecting packaging waste in Norway. Companies in various packaging chains joined forces and established several producer responsibility organisations (PROs), which since than have been responsible for the collection and treatment of packaging waste from households and businesses. The system has been based on voluntary agreements between the authorities and the business sector. It has been successful and has resulted in a high recycling rate for packaging waste.

However, in recent years the established PROs have come into competition with a new company that is not bound by the voluntary agreements, and more companies may be established. This means that competition is no longer equal. New companies that are not bound by the current agreements can choose which types of waste to collect, and concentrate on those that will give the greatest profits. This undermines the system as a whole and is a threat to sound management of packaging waste. The Norwegian authorities have therefore found it necessary to adopt regulations setting out statutory requirements relating to producer responsibility.

The new chapter of the Waste Regulations requires all PROs to be approved by the Norwegian Environment Agency. All companies that produce or import more than 1000 kg packaging or packaged products per year must belong to an approved PRO. Together with requirements relating to collection, treatment and reporting, this will ensure that competition between the PROs is fairer and more equitable. For the present, the recycling targets set out in the current voluntary agreements on packaging and in the Packaging Waste Directive as currently in force have been retained. When new EU legislation on the circular economy is adopted, including new binding targets, these will be incorporated into Norwegian law as part of the EEA Agreement between Norway and the EU. The Waste Regulations will then have to be revised to take account of Norway's new obligations.

The new regulations also focus on waste prevention. Businesses are already seeking to improve packaging to ensure that products are well protected while at the same time minimising resource use and environmental impact (this is known as packaging optimisation). From now on, waste prevention will become a more important element of this work. The authorities will consult with the business sector on how to put this into practice.