The “Green Dot” in France – current information and background details

With the kind permission of Duales System Deutschland GmbH (DSD), we would like to inform you regarding DSD’s assessment of the use of the Green Dot in France. The “Green Dot” is a symbol that has been particularly well known for 30 years now. It signals to consumers that the producer of the labelled packaged product is participating in the financing of an authorised national system for the collection and recycling of packaging and is thus clear evidence of producer responsibility. To ensure the free movement of goods within the EU, 31 European organisations under the PRO Europe umbrella have agreed on the Green Dot as a valid symbol. According to DSD. “information letters” are currently in circulation concerning the continued use of the “Green Dot” trademark in France. From DSD’s perspective, much of this information is factually incomplete, partly incorrect and confusing. DSD would therefore like to provide you with some facts.

With the kind permission of Duales System Deutschland GmbH (DSD), we would like to inform you regarding DSD’s assessment of the use of the Green Dot in France. The “Green Dot” is a symbol that has been particularly well known for 30 years now. It signals to consumers that the producer of the labelled packaged product is participating in the financing of an authorised national system for the collection and recycling of packaging and is thus clear evidence of producer responsibility. To ensure the free movement of goods within the EU, 31 European organisations under the PRO Europe umbrella have agreed on the Green Dot as a valid symbol.

According to DSD. “information letters” are currently in circulation concerning the continued use of the “Green Dot” trademark in France. From DSD’s perspective, much of this information is factually incomplete, partly incorrect and confusing. DSD would therefore like to provide you with some facts.


Summary of the “information letter”:

  • The Green Dot will not be banned in France
     
  • Since 1 January 2021, an implementation directive to the Waste Act has been in force, which provides for a “malus” equivalent to 100% of the licence fee payable to the dual system CITEO for the application of “misleading labels”. The Green Dot is not explicitly mentioned in the directive, however.
     
  • The aforementioned arrangement is subject to temporary exceptions and transitional periods, in some cases until the end of 2022.


Assessment by DSD:

  • The “Green Dot” mark is not mentioned by name in the directive. DSD has repeatedly requested written confirmation to that effect from the French Ministry, but a reply is still outstanding.
     
  • Should the “Green Dot” indeed be the objective of the aforementioned arrangement, the mark would, in DSD’s opinion, be discriminated against in France de facto, even though it is compulsory by law in other Member States (Cyprus and Spain) and is used by numerous manufacturers throughout Europe as a clear token of their producer responsibility. The distribution of packaging without a Green Dot in Spain constitutes a violation of the applicable law in that country.
     
  • For the companies concerned, this arrangement would mean that they would have to maintain their own packaging lines and logistics for products for the French market. The unacceptably high administrative and financial costs involved are, in DSD’s opinion, incompatible with the fundamental principle of the free movement of goods within the single market.

DSD intends to ensure that environmental regulations in France do not have a negative impact on the free movement of goods and, in particular, do not entail additional work and costs for DSD’s customers. In this respect, DSD, together with PRO Europe, will press the French government for clarification and correction, as well as lodge an official complaint with the EU Commission.

Note: The arguments above reflect the DSD’s current assessment. Please understand that neither DSD nor we can explicitly provide legally binding consultancy on this subject.

We will of course keep you informed of any forthcoming developments that may have further implications for your obligations as a manufacturer of packaging in France. Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact Quentin Dequet (+49/40/750687-126) or Alina Eggert (+49/40/750687-166) at international@take-e-way.de.

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