To Compete or not Compete: Looking at Competition vs. Monopoly in EPR schemes
by Emma Mundy at 08:40 in Environmental, Packaging

Across the world PRO organisations are available for companies to join in order to comply with their Extended Producer Responsibility reporting. Compliance schemes are membership organisations that register members with the relevant authority and ensure that companies meet their financial obligations under the different EPR directives.

Some countries have a monopoly compliance scheme and others allow competition. This can mean that depending on the country you are selling into, you may not have any choice in which scheme to join. For example, the Czech Republic currently only has one packaging scheme whereas the UK has numerous to choose from. There are pros and cons to both compliance styles and both will ultimately impact how much you pay for your compliance bills. With a monopoly, it is easier for the organisation to have control and manage its waste targets, but it does not give consumers choice and may have less price accountability. With competition, pricing may be more fierce, but this can lead to less efficiency in reporting and collection. However, the situation is fluid and countries which traditionally have had monopoly schemes are not staying that way. Until 2003 there was only one provider in Germany which took back packaging material from private households and recycled it, this market currently has multiple schemes. Recent changes to the packaging ordinance in Austria have meant that other recovery organisations are able to compete with ARA​ in the household packaging waste sector. And now it is the turn of France to introduce competition in the packaging compliance scheme sector.

A new packaging scheme for France

France may no longer have a monopoly system when it comes to packaging compliance as a new packaging compliance scheme LÉKO is due to be accredited by The French Environment and Energy Management Agency ADEME at the end of March this year ready for clients to report their packaging waste data for the 2018 submission. It was initially thought that the scheme would be accredited by January 2017 but this has been delayed by a couple of months. Ecoemballages is currently the only packaging compliance scheme in France and obligated producers have no choice in schemes when it comes to reporting their household packaging waste. Ecoemballages have recently simplified their declaration process based on customer feedback and perhaps impending competition.

LÉKO

For the past sixteen months LÉKO has worked towards becoming an extended producer responsibility scheme for packaging waste. Today, over 650 companies support LÉKO and according to a 2015 IFOP study 82% of respondents saw the competition as a good thing. LÉKO is owned by seven shareholders, including Valorie​, a subsidiary of the European group Reclay.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding your extended producer responsibility obligations in or out of the EU please contact us here​.

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