Profile of EFPM
Collecting relevant market information
Since the EFPM was founded, its members have been supplying relevant market information, which the organisation has then made accessible to all members in anonymous form. The result is a solid understanding of the Western European market for plastic flowerpots, above all in respect of the sale of injection moulded and thermoform products, and the use of virgin and recycled material.
Service for the chain
For retail multiples (e.g. Ikea), the EFPM has drawn up a model ‘raw materials statement’ in which the manufacturers of flowerpots explain the origin and/or (re)use of raw materials used in the manufacturing of flowerpots. On request, the EFPM issues copies of this statement to individual members.
Lobbying in the field of Packaging
In a number of European countries, the EFPM represents the interests of its members in discussions about packaging legislation, via targeted lobbying.
At the end of the 1990s, the European Packaging Directive ordered a reduction in packaging volume, the reuse of packaging and the recycling of waste flows. In the Netherlands, the relevant measures were laid down in the ‘Packaging Covenant II’ (a so-called Order in Council). Within this covenant, however, government policy makers struggled with the question of whether flowerpots should be considered packaging, or not. Via its lobbying activities, the EFPM succeeded in having flowerpots classified as a non packaging but as an integral part of the plant product (along the lines of the coating on cheese and the skin on sausage).
In 2002, however, the covenant principle that ‘the flowerpot is non packaging’ was rejected by Brussels. This meant that in principle, packaging tax had to be paid on flowerpots by the first party to place the packaging on the market. An exception was admitted for pots that remain around the plant, for its entire life. These pots were not viewed as packaging.
In the meantime, DSD (Duales System Deutschland) introduced the Green Dot system (Grüne Punkt) in Germany. Initially, the situation concerning flowerpots received no attention. In 2005, a campaign was launched by DSD for collecting a payment for flowerpot waste (the so-called licence fee). On this basis, DSD forecast annual income of around € 23 million. The licensee ZVG (Zentralverband Gartenbau) was of the opinion that this payment should be made by the flowerpot manufacturers. In collaboration with GKV (Gesamtverband Kunststoffverarbeitende Industrie), the EFPM objected to this proposal since it was unclear to manufacturers whether or not a flowerpot would be used as packaging or not. The result of the appeal was that the pot manufacturers were in the end not required to pay the licence fee.
The German auction organisation Landgard was then approached with the request to pay the licence fee for flowerpots. Landgard in turn once again attempted to have the fee paid by the manufacturers, by imposing a payment demand on the flowerpot manufacturers individually. The EFPM successfully rejected this claim on behalf of the combined members. Today, the DSD licence fees are paid by the auctions and wholesale organisations.
To provide a more practical structure for the Green Point payment system for flowerpots, the ZGV issued a proposal aimed at categorising the licence costs. Within this categorisation, thermo pots are viewed as packaging and injection moulded pots (often used for indoor plants) are not. Austria then adopted the proposal. Mediation by the EFPM led to a change in the actual categories according to which pots <10cm Ø are classed as packaging while pots > 10cm Ø are not regarded as packaging.
In the framework of European packaging legislation, Nedvang was established in the Netherlands, in 2008. Any company that places packaging on the Dutch market is required to submit a return to Nedvang, and pay the relevant charges. It is for example the task of market gardeners to submit their own return.
The Dutch auction organisation (Flora Holland) also attempted to make it the responsibility of the manufacturers of flowerpots to submit the returns for flowerpot packaging. The EFPM launched a successful protest, and the responsibility for the Nedvang return and the related payment no longer lies with the flowerpot manufacturers.