If you look at the annual results of Fost Plus and Valipac in the IRPC’s 2021 Activity Report (under Key Figures), you will notice that two calculation methods are mentioned.
There are separate columns with different figures for recycling and recovery, in tonnes and percentages, each calculated using both an “old” and a “new” method.
The reason for these double figures is that the method for calculating the European recycling targets was revised as from the 2020 reporting year. These are the recycling figures that Belgium and the other EU Member States must achieve, and it is important that they are worked out in the same way throughout Europe.
As from 2020, the way in which the European recycling targets are determined therefore changed. Starting that same year, the IRPC chose to adapt the internal Belgian method used to calculate the results of the accredited compliance organisations Fost Plus and Valipac to incorporate some of the principles of the new European method for calculating the European recycling targets; in other words, the results of Fost Plus and Valipac would be calculated according to this “new” method.
What is meant by “old” and “new” calculation methods?
The old method is more or less the same as before (up to the end of 2019), but it already incorporates some adjustments to the new European method for calculating Member States’ results.
The new method follows the principles of the new European calculation method as closely as possible. In the longer term, only the latter method will be used.
In the short term, however, it is useful to present the “old” and “new” figures side by side, to show how they change over time.
Consequently, there is also a European calculation method for Belgium’s overall results, which was completely revised as of 2020. The old European method applied up to the end of 2019 and was used to calculate the figures for that year. The new European method has applied to figures reported since the beginning of 2020.
To calculate the overall Belgian figures, only the applicable European calculation method has ever been used, without any adjustment. The IRPC also publishes this data in the Key Figures section of its Activity Report.
The separate calculation methods (for the results of the accredited compliance organisations and for the overall Belgian results) will continue to co-exist, as each has different objectives.
The method for calculating the results of the accredited compliance organisations presents these results in the context of the take-back obligation, and thus applies only for members of the accredited compliance organisations. The take-back obligation concerns only one-way packaging, so the results relate to only this type of packaging.
The calculation method for the entire Belgian market covers all packaging placed on the market in Belgium. In other words, the sum of the companies responsible for packaging (“responsible companies”) that are Fost Plus and Valipac members and of the individual responsible companies, but also packaging placed on the Belgian market by responsible companies that are exempt from the take-back obligation (<300 kg per year), by free-riders, even if under-reported, and by private individuals (net parallel imports). In addition, this concerns not only one-way packaging, but also reusable packaging newly placed on the market.
Specifically, how has the “new” method for calculating the accredited compliance organisations’ results changed?
Corrections are made to tonnages (product residues, increased moisture content of paper/cardboard, etc.), in accordance with the European calculation method. These corrections are not necessary for some of Valipac’s results, as the calculation is based on “empty weights”.
For metals recovered from scrap, we apply a new European formula. This is stricter than our old formula, which used to be similar to that of neighbouring countries. Moreover, we also apply the new European formula in the “old” method for calculating the accredited compliance organisations’ results.
Drink cartons are divided by material, and metals are now separated into ferrous metals and aluminium.
Another point worth highlighting is that the European calculation method introduces a new measurement and calculation point, but this has relatively little impact on the Belgian figures: sorting residues were never included in the results and the sorted material streams have a high degree of purity, so they do not need to be further sorted by the recyclers.
We hope that the new European methodology will ensure a level playing field so that the results of the various EU Member States can be properly compared.
A recent inspection by Eurostat confirmed that the IRPC’s work complies with EU directives and that the data we provide is completely reliable.
Visit ivcie.be to keep up to date on our reporting activities. You will find all our annual Activity Reports there.