Taxing drink containers
Synonyms: Imposing deposit on soft-drink bottles
Applying deposit refund systems on returnable beer cans
Implementing bottle redemption fees
Implementation: Under Belgian law, containers of mineral water (except non-sparkling water), lemonades and other soft drinks, colas and beers are subject to an ecotax. The law provides for a rather complex system of exemption based on re-use conditions and on recycling rates, [eg] a general exemption is given for containers that can be re-used at least seven times, that are effectively collected by means of a deposit refund system and are also effectively re-used. The collection has to be entirely financed by the producers themselves. However for those containers that do not fulfil this condition an exemption is still possible provided that a certain re-use percentage is reached in a particular time period. This varies according to the category of the product; between 1994-98 the percentage re-use for tax exemption of containers of sparkling water is 44-69%, for cola 44-60% and for beer 94-95%. With respect to non-re-used containers, the producer who asks for an exemption must fulfil in addition recycling conditions of: 80% for glass, 70% for plastic (except for PVC) and 80% for metal. This exemption system is the result of a political compromise between those who favour re-use and those who favour recycling. It reflects the fact that Belgium straddles the dividing line between the north of the EEC/EU (where the manufacturing, distribution and consumption culture is oriented towards re-use) and the south (where it is oriented towards one-way packages.
Type Classification: D: Detailed strategies