Bottle Bill Resource Guide

Law Summary THE ECOTAXES ACT OF 1993 would put a tax on non-deposit, non-refillable beverage containers.
Date Implemented Scheduled for January 1, 1993, but delayed indefinitely
Containers Covered All containers which do not fulfill any of the following requirements:
  • The container must be reusable at least 7 times.
  • The container must actually be refilled.
  • The container must carry a deposit.
  • The container must visually indicate refillability or a deposit amount.
Beverages Covered
  • Beer
  • Soft drinks
  • Soda water
Amount of Deposit

7 BEF < 50 cl. (voluntary)
15 BEF > 50 cl. (voluntary / mandatory for exemption)

Fees and Taxes 15 BEF per container, unless the container fulfills any of the exemptions. [1]
Program Success

Refillables comprise the following percent of market share:

Beer 93%
Soft Drinks 40%
Soda Water 40%
Trippage rates (averages):
Alcohol (glass) 6.0 trips per year for 7 year
Soft Drinks (glass) 4.5 trips per year for 7 years

 

Details

Belgium has a mandatory tax, called an "ecotax", on beverage containers that are not refilled, as outlined by the 1993 Ecotax Act. [2] This is not a nationally recognized deposit scheme, however; instead, containers may be exempt from this tax if they have a voluntary deposit put upon them by the manufacturer/producer. The law sets the minimum deposit amount required, and stipulates that, "the collection has to be entirely financed by the producers themselves." [3]

Although there is no national mandatory deposit scheme, the Wallonia and Brussels Capital Region both have pilot deposit schemes. The Wallonia pilot, which began in 2018, tests out collection by both reverse vending machine (RVM) and manual collection, putting a 5-cent deposit on cans. [4] The Brussels pilot, beginning in 2019, extends to both cans and plastic bottles. [5] The Flanders government ruled in 2019 that they would not implement a deposit system until 2023 at the earliest, with municipalities allowed to run their own test programs. [6]

In 2020, the Belgian government published a coalition agreement which "include[d] the possibility to incorporate a deposit return scheme in the packaging tax during this legislature." [7] There have been no announced plans since then of a draft deposit legislation.

 

Footnotes

[1] "Packaging taxes in Belgium." Card, Daniel. Eunomia. July 2016.

[2] "THE POLITICAL ECONOMY OF GREEN TAXES: THE BELGIAN EXPERIENCE." De Clercq, M.University of Ghent. September 1994.

[3] Ibid.

[4] "Wallonia tests bonus scheme for recycling cans." The Bulletin. 24 July 2018.

[5] "Deposit-return system is a milestone for a cleaner Brussels." Zoete, Tom. Recycling Netwerk Benelux. 18 July 2019.

[6] "Flanders Government Decides on Plastic Packaging." Barrett, Axel. Bioplastics News. 21 July 2018.

 

Last Updated on 14 July 2021.

[7] "Belgian coalition agreement – Linking a deposit return system to the packaging tax is a smart decision."  Zoete, Tom. Recycling Netwerk Benelux. 30 September 2020.

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