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Eco-packaging scheme approved

Published on 27/11/2003

27 November 2003

BRUSSELS – After ten years of negotiations, the Council of Ministers has approved the “ecobonis” scheme, which aims to encourage consumers to buy beverages in environment-friendly packaging.

Ecobonis, formerly “ecotaxes”, will encourage consumers to buy beverages in environmentally friendly packaging starting next April.

The ecologically sound scheme had come up against stark opposition when it was suggested a BEF 15 (EUR 0.37) tax be added to each litre in non-recyclable packaging.

“The new scheme has been calculated so as not to change the end price – it’s an essential message for consumers,” Finance Minister Didier Reynders told Le Soir.

VAT on non-alcoholic beverages is set to decrease from 21 to 6 percent, while a tax of just 0.1 eurocents will be added to each litre contained in non-recyclable packaging.

But NGOs such as “Inter-Environnement” believe the gap in price is not high enough to encourage consumers to change their buying habits.

Observers also fear that discriminating between different types of packaging will be condemned by the European Union as unfair trade.

“Producers must bottle beverages at the source. It’s going to be difficult for foreign brands to stay competitive given the extra transport costs glass bottles entail,” said Gerard de Maminne from Fedis, the distributors’ federation.

Fedis also maintains that the ecological impact of the new system will be minimal as 85 percent of plastic bottles are already recyclable.

[Copyright Expatica News 2003]

Subject: Belgian news