Contribution Diversification for plastic

Contribution Diversification for plastic packaging

Objective

The aim is to encourage the use of more recyclable packaging, linking the level of contribution to the environmental impact of the end-of-life/new-life phases. CONAI has decided to start diversification of the Environmental Contribution starting from the most complex material for the various types and sorting and recycling technologies. Since 2012, some facilitated procedures have already been introduced for reusable packaging in controlled and particularly virtuous circuits from the environmental point of view.

News for 2022 (update following the Conai Board of Directors’ resolution of 22 July 2021 and of 14 October 2021)

In September 2020, the Conai Board of Directors undertook to review and update the criteria and rationale for the contribution diversification of plastic packaging for 2022. A commitment made both in the light of what is happening at European level and with the aim of increasingly linking the values of the plastic Environmental Contribution to their recyclability and to the destination circuit but also to the chain deficit, i.e. to the costs/revenues of collection, sorting and recycling activities.

In line with this commitment, effective 1 January 2022, plastic packaging will be divided into five (no longer four) levels. In fact, Level A will split into A1 and A2. The first item will include all packaging previously included in Level A, except for flexible polyethylene packaging which will be included in Level A2. During 2021, analyses also continued regarding the sortability and recyclability of certain packaging items in order to allocate them more correctly within the contribution levels, also starting from 1.1.2022. Consequently, the five contribution levels will be as follows:

  • LEVEL A1 – Rigid and flexible packaging with an effective and consolidated industrial sorting and recycling chain, mainly managed in the “Commerce & Industry” circuit 134.00 €/t (reduced by approximately 11% compared to the 2021 Level A value);
  • LEVEL A2 – Flexible packaging with an effective and consolidated industrial sorting and recycling chain, mainly from C&I but with a significant presence in separate municipal waste collection150.00 €/t until 30 June 2022 (unchanged compared to the 2021 Level A value) and 168 €/t from 1 July 2022. For packaging included in Level A2, the continuous increase in the volumes present in municipal separate waste collection is confirmed, with increasing costs for consortium management.

Flexible polyethylene (PE) foam packaging with thicknesses equal to or less than 2 millimetres will be tolerated in this level (currently in Level B2);

  • LEVEL B1 – Packaging with an effective and consolidated industrial sorting and recycling chain, mainly from the “Household” circuit192.00 €/t (reduced by approximately 8% compared to 2021).

With the entry into force of the EN technical standard (currently being finalised), plastic closures conforming to the SUP directive (i.e., designed to remain integral with the plastic beverage container up to 3 litres), will be moved from the current Level B2 to Level B1, under a separate item;

  • LEVEL B2 – Other sortable/recyclable packaging from the “Household” and/or “Commerce & Industry” circuits: 533.00 €/t (reduced by approximately 5% compared to 2021)

Polyethylene foam packaging with thicknesses greater than 2 millimetres (currently in Level C) and barrier layers made of EVOH will also be tolerated in this level, but limited to 5% of the total weight of the packaging. Moreover, the packaging types will be grouped as follows: packaging with different levels of sortability and recyclability; recyclable packaging recently put on the market; packaging with costly recycling and/or from which secondary raw materials of lower quality are obtained; packaging with recycling chains undergoing consolidation and development;

  • LEVEL C – Packaging with experimental sorting/recycling activities in progress or not sortable/recyclable with current technologies:  644.00 €/t (reduced by approximately 2% compared to 2021)

The lists of packaging in the 5 contribution levels in force as from January 2022 are available: List of pacakging in the contribution levels

The reasons for the reductions lie in the positive trend of materials sent for recycling and the optimisation actions promoted by the Corepla Consortium on operating costs (as per the Press Release of August and Press Release of October); as is now customary, these reasons were communicated in advance to the main associations representing the categories of packaging producers and users.

After the summer break, a review of the chain deficit is planned, which could lead to further interventions on the Environmental Contribution, since the auction market for post-consumer packaging is constantly evolving.

The Conai Board of Directors has also given a mandate to the specific Board Working Group to continue the analysis process to further strengthen contribution diversification, in particular to increasingly link the CAC values of the individual contribution levels with the actual chain deficits, possibly providing for further segmentation and revaluation of the related contribution values.

Brief history

2018

The technical analyses for identification of the following criteria, adopted since 2018 for contribution diversification, began as early as 2015 and involved the main companies and associations representing packaging producers and users:

  • sortability
  • recyclability and,
  • for packaging meeting the first two criteria, the main target circuit of the packaging when it becomes waste. The target circuit can be “Household” or “Commerce & Industry”. “Household” circuit packaging also includes that from “Commerce & Industry” systematically treated as household waste.

This comparison resulted in three different contribution levels which, after a six-month test period, became operational on 1 January 2018:

  • Level A – Sortable and recyclable packaging from the “Commerce & Industry” circuit  179.00 €/t
  • Level B – Sortable and recyclable packaging from the “Household” circuit 208.00 €/t
  • Level C – Packaging not yet sortable/recyclable with current technologies 228.00 €/t.

In the initial application phase, it was decided to adopt a gradual approach, with regard to both the packaging classifications, for which the prevailing flow logic was adopted, as well as the contribution values of each level.

2019

During 2018, with the aim of making a clearer distinction between sorted and recycled packaging solutions and those not yet having such characteristics and overcoming the prevailing flow logic, a further step forward was taken, adopting an even clearer criterion of prevention which, based on the analyses carried out, from 1 January 2019 led to an increase in the contribution gap between levels and reclassification of packaging, starting with that of Level B, as follows:

  • LEVEL A – Sortable and recyclable packaging from the “Commerce & Industry” circuit: 150.00 €/t
  • LEVEL B1 – Packaging from the “Household” circuit with an effective and consolidated sorting and recycling chain: 208.00 €/t
  • LEVEL B2 – Other sortable and recyclable packaging from the “Household” circuit:  263.00 €/t
  • LEVEL C – Packaging not sortable/recyclable with current technologies: 369.00 €/t.

With this new approach, four different contribution levels were defined for four different categories of plastic packaging and a reclassification process was started for packaging with regard to its effective sortability and recyclability, thus revisiting the prevailing flow logic which, in its initial application, was essentially aimed at simplifying application procedures.

2020 (update following the Conai Board of Directors’ resolution of 26 November 2019)

Within the scope of the activities aimed at implementing the new fully operational model planned for 2020, with constant dialogue with the main producer and user associations (industrial and large-scale distribution), the packaging lists have been extended with new definitions and clarifications of a general nature and at the same time some types of packaging have been reallocated to different contribution levels according to the results of the analyses carried out concerning their sortability and recyclability according to current technologies already developed or in the consolidation and development phase.

These changes, operational from January 1, 2020, are also the result of overcoming the criterion of aggregation by flows or types adopted at the start of diversification. As a result, the lists have been redefined, also taking into account the increase in the average value of the Environmental Contribution for plastic packaging, from 263 €/t to 330 €/t:

  • LEVEL A – Packaging with an effective and consolidated industrial sorting and recycling chain, mainly from the “Commerce & Industry” circuit150.00 €/t
  • LEVEL B1 –  Packaging with an effective and consolidated industrial sorting and recycling chain, mainly from the “Household” circuit208.00 €/t
  • LEVEL B2 – Packaging with an industrial sorting and recycling chain in the process of consolidation and development – from the “Household” and/or “Commerce & Industry” circuit436.00 €/t
  • LEVEL C – Packaging with experimental sorting/recycling activities in progress or not sortable/recyclable with current technologies 546.00 €/t

The updated packaging lists for 2020 are available at the link: Lists_plastic_packaging_Contribution_levels_2020

2021 (update following the Conai Board of Directors’ resolution of 24 September 2020)

In view, among other things, of the increase in the average value of the Environmental Contribution for plastic packaging from 330 €/t to 393 €/t, with effect from 1 January 2021, the four contribution levels recorded the following unit values:

  • LEVEL A – Packaging with an effective and consolidated industrial sorting and recycling chain, mainly from the “Commerce & Industry” circuit150.00 €/t
  • LEVEL B1 –  Packaging with an effective and consolidated industrial sorting and recycling chain, mainly from the “Household” circuit208.00 €/t
  • LEVEL B2 – Packaging with an industrial sorting and recycling chain in the process of consolidation and development – from the “Household” and/or “Commerce & Industry” circuit560.00 €/t
  • LEVEL C – Packaging with experimental sorting/recycling activities in progress or not sortable/recyclable with current technologies660.00 €/t

The reasons for the increases lie in a number of concomitant factors that occurred in 2020 (as per the Press Release); reasons which moreover were communicated in advance to the main associations representing the categories of packaging producers and users.

Reduced Environmental Contribution packaging list update

Sortability and the effective recyclability evolve over time depending on the types of packaging put on the market and the new technologies introduced in sorting and recycling systems.

To monitor such developments and periodically update the list of packaging in the contribution levels, CONAI established at the outset a specific Permanent Technical Assessment Committee which, also with the support of industry experts, proposes to the Board of Directors possible changes to the reduced CAC category lists.

With Conai Board of Directors’ resolution of 3 September 2020, the specific “Contribution Diversification” Board Working Group was established, which takes over the functions of the PTAC (Permanent Technical Assessment Committee) and will follow diversification of the Environmental Contribution of the different packaging materials, currently plastic and paper and cardboard, for the three-year period 2020-2023.

Trials in progress

For information on experimental sorting/recycling activities in progress, please refer to the following document: Experiments _in_progress_26_11_2019

Forms

All information regarding declaration forms is available in the “CONAI Guide”, published annually, without prejudice to the support of the toll-free number 800337799.

Who to contact for clarification

In the “FAQ” section (Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) dedicated to the “Diversified Plastic contribution“ topic, clarification is available on the main questions raised by companies and associations.

For any clarification or questions, in addition to the Toll-Free Number 800337799, the online form is available in the “Contact Us” area, by selecting the item “PLASTIC Diversified Contribution”.