Luxembourg: A waste law that leaves big retailers unpackaged

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LUXEMBOURG – The Luxembourg Trade Confederation (Clc) and the Luxembourg Food and Distribution Association (FLAD) on Monday called for the vote on the Packaging and Waste Law scheduled for Wednesday to be postponed.

The retail sector has criticized the new waste law.

No more packaged fruit, single-use containers and cutlery in restaurants, welcome to the recycling centers of the largest stores… On Wednesday, a package of five laws and three regulations on packaging and waste will change our habits for MPs and MPs to vote on from 2023 onwards.

“Ambitious legislation”, according to rapporteur François Benoy (déi Greng), which requires everyone (companies, municipalities, restaurateurs, industry, citizens) to limit waste and/or facilitate its recycling. “Change from a society where everything is thrown away to a circular system,” says the MP.

According to Claude Bizjak, deputy director of the Luxembourg Trade Confederation (clc), retailers claim to share such “environmental goals” and even want to “go further” on certain points.

“To recycle, take your cars”

CLC

However, with the Luxembourg Food and Distribution Association (FLAD) weighing 10,000 jobs in the country, the clc yesterday called for the vote to be postponed, denouncing a “range of incoherent measures” that are in no way “adapted” to the Luxembourg ecosystem. “The current project risks creating inefficiencies in the food supply and distribution chain, leading to additional costs for the end customer,” the federation adds.

These organizations denounce, for example, the redundancy of the 45 recycling centers that will soon be mandatory in large shopping centers with the Valorlux system (blue bags). So the message would be: recycle, take a car and go to a supermarket on the outskirts to dump your rubbish there!”, the clc takes offense.

The risk of customers fleeing abroad?

With regard to fruit and vegetable packaging, the law provides a list of products that must not have packaging. However, the clc stresses that the Luxembourg market is “too small” to set its own rules on imports (only 5% of fruit and vegetables consumed come from the Grand Duchy). “We would like to go further and ask the government to change the modalities so that they are based on French law, which is even more demanding with different phases. This would allow respecting environmental goals and buying through France, a market large enough to influence producers,” adds Claude Bizjak.

For him, these rules could lead to “fruit and vegetables being unpacked in warehouses instead of at home, which would have no ecological interest and would lead to an increase in costs and therefore prices or the withdrawal of certain products from sale”. Customers could also be enticed to shop abroad.

“Many shops are already selling without packaging”

François Benoy, deputy Déi Gréng

A problem that is also denounced in the question of instructions. For the clc, the Luxembourg deposit system would require “expensive re-labelling or the return of certain products”. Given the volume of the Luxembourg market, we cannot “put pressure”. They are negligible for the producers,” emphasizes Claude Bizjak.

François Benoy recalls that the various actors have been consulted during the three or four year legislative process and the deadlines have been adjusted, sometimes over two or three years, to allow the sector to adapt. Regarding fruit and vegetables, the MP assures that “many shops already sell them without packaging and I’m sure they don’t unpack them in their warehouse. And we have to discuss that with the suppliers.”

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