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New take-back approach to boost recycling in France

France – Dubbed LÉKO, a new system for the collection and recycling of packaging materials is to be launched in France in 2018. Initiated by Valorie SAS, the French subsidiary of recycling and service provider Reclay Group, LÉKO aims to simplify and modernise France’s recycling infrastructure.

Until now, the packaging collection system in France has been organised on a monopoly basis – to the dissatisfaction of many of the parties involved.

According to Reclay, approximately 95% of manufacturers and 82% of municipalities are in favour of new options for take-back systems and of an open market.

The French collection and recycling system for packaging is seen as ‘one of the most complicated, manufacturer-adverse and expensive’ in Europe, stresses Reclay. Moreover, the technical standard in sorting and recycling plants is outdated while the 75% recycling rate for packaging waste specified by the French government in 2012 ‘has not been attained’.

Supporters of LÉKO believe it will bring about the necessary change. ‘Companies from trade and industry are obliged to offer an alternative to the previous monopolies for the first time,’ explains Raffael Fruscio, managing partner of the Reclay Group. ‘Every distributor should have the option of freely choosing its packaging take-back service provider, just as has long been the case in other European countries.’

According to Fruscio, LÉKO will make the complex process of packaging licensing as simple as possible for companies. In co-operation with trade and industry, municipalities, recyclers, associations and also consumers, LÉKO will work towards simplifying and modernising the French recycling system to increase the collection of recyclable materials and then to ‘recycle these better for the benefit of industry’, he adds.

LÉKO is already supported by 650 companies representing more than 20% of the market. The new system is also expected to serve as a catalyst for increased investment in sector-specific research and development projects.

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