ELFA VRT 2012 Explanation

In Tallinn, 30 January 2012

ELFA Transport Packaging Recycling Operational Rules 2012



The members of the Estonian Logistics and Freight Forwarding Association (ELEA) have in the course of their activities for a long time come into contact with problems related to the transport packaging of goods, such as the need to determine who is the bona fide owner of the transport packaging; who should pay for the deployment of the transport packaging; why the pallet is often a “sub-standard packaging” and who is responsible for the damage caused to the goods due to the breakage of such transport packaging – these are some of the frequently raised questions that occur between the different parties involved in the transport process.

In order to mitigate and hopefully solve the problems, the ELEA decided to develop a set of rules suitable for use in Estonia, which are essentially agreed “rules of the game” between operators involved in the use of transport packaging. The ELEA involved representatives of different market participants in the development of these rules: trade, manufacturing, transport and logistics operators, and operators in the transport packaging sector. The drafters of the rules believe that such a framework, to be introduced on a voluntary basis, will increase the operational efficiency of all parties involved in the application of the rules, facilitate day-to-day work, extend the life of transport packaging, thus being environmentally friendly, and reduce the proportion of non-compliant transport packaging in circulation.

On the initiative of ELEA, a workgroup started in 2010, with Karli Lambot (ACE Logistics Group AS), Chairman of the ELEA Board, as its chairman. The following members have participated in the workgroup at various times: Meelis Arumeel (AS Schenker), Madis Rõźov (Logistika Pluss OÜ), Kaido Kokk (DPD Eesti AS), Villem Massur (Metrosystem OÜ), Marko Evestus (Holmendorf OÜ), Janek Popell (Coca-Cola HBC Eesti AS), Marko Loos and Mait Miller (Smarten Logistics AS), Janek Saareoks (HAVI Logistics OÜ), Allar Kahju (Selver AS), Marko Jõks (ETK), Thomas Münch (Rimi Eesti Food AS), Marek Aigro (AS Prisma Peremarket), Vallo Rebane (Rudus AS), Tarmo Leesmaa (Evales Eesti OÜ), Kai Amos (Advokaadibüroo Amos OÜ) and Katre Kasepõld (ELEA). The workgroup consulted with Marika Siht, Chief Specialist in the Waste Department of the Ministry of the Environment, on some issues.

By 9 January 2012, the workgroup had developed the operational rules for the ELEA Waste Packaging Recycling System 2012 (abbreviated as ELEA VRT 2012) and made a proposal to the ELEA Governing Board to submit the developed operational rules to the General Assembly for approval. The workgroup developed the operational rules on the basis of the Packaging Act, environmental legislation, as well as on the basis of the FI-2002 Wood Packaging Rules developed by the Suomen Logistiikkayhdistys ry and approved by the relevant market participants in Finland.

The aim of the operational rules is to create an efficient framework for the use and management of transport packaging in both public circulation and reuse, which primarily regulates the circulation of transport packaging as a system(!), and not, for example, to create quality standards for transport packaging. The latter are primarily the responsibility of the producers holding the relevant rights. The operational rules are divided into five parts.

The first part lays down the application of the operational rules by providing that the regulation addresses the relations between users in the transport process (recycling system) of transport packaging in public circulation and reuse standard as far as the calculation of handling fees and the choice of the payment method, the ownership, the acceptance, the repair and other issues of transport packaging are concerned. For the purposes of the Packaging Act, there are three types of packaging: the first is sales packaging, the second is group packaging and the third is transport packaging. The transport packaging used in the recycling system, which is regulated by the operational rules, is the third packaging within the meaning of the Packaging Act. According to the operational rules, a transport package has an owner at all times. This provides that, in the absence of any other agreement, the owner is the person in possession of the transport packaging. The operational rules are of a dispositive nature, so their application requires an agreement between the interested parties. The operational rules are only binding on the parties that have agreed to apply them in trade and transport agreements.

The second part defines the terms used in the operational rules, including the meaning of the persons involved in the circulation of transport packaging, the documents to be compiled and the specifications of the packaging requirements.

The third part regulates the methods of payment for transport packaging by allowing the parties that have agreed to apply them to indicate in the contracts, in a simplified manner, the meaning of the method of payment as A (payment on the basis of a reciprocal balance), B (payment for the packaging on the basis of a separate invoice) or C (no separate payment for the packaging, the payment for the packaging is included in the payment for the goods). The parties also have the right to agree on another method of payment. The value of transport packaging, the cost of transporting it, etc. is determined by the parties involved in the transport process in a separate contract, and there are no such price agreements in the operating rules.

The fourth part establishes the functioning of the recycling system by providing for procedures for the dispatch of goods in transport packaging and the return of empty transport packaging, as well as for the repair of transport packaging. According to the operational rules, the settlement of disputes between the parties is submitted to the Harju County Court if the parties were unable to settle the dispute through negotiations.

The fifth part regulates the procedures for notifying and modifying operating rules. The operational rules will be made available to all on the ELEA website: www.elea.ee. The functioning of the operational rules will be overseen by the ELEA Transport Packaging Committee, set up by decision of the ELEA Executive Board and composed of representatives of ELEA and other market participants. The ELEA’s Transport Packaging Committee will also analyze the problems that have arisen in the application and, if necessary, propose changes to the operational rules.

The operational rules will be accompanied by an operational diagram explaining the functioning of the transport packaging recycling system and definitions of the suitability of some transport packaging. The drafters of the operational rules foresee that the rules are applicable to the circulation of different types of public and reusable and standard transport packaging, but as the vast majority of such packaging are EUR and FIN bases, the suitability definitions are currently only for these types of packaging. Users may also use the operational rules for other types of transport packaging if they wish.

The ELEA Board approved by decision of the meeting on 19.01.2012 the draft of the operational rules and decided to send the draft to the companies or their associations involved in the operation of the transport packaging recycling system for examination and, if necessary, to propose amendments. The ELEA Board plans to submit the operational rules to the ELEA General Assembly on 02.04.2012 for approval. The ELEA wishes to implement the operational rules from 1 May 2012.

I would like to thank all the members of the workgroup, who have been working together for almost two years, for their valuable contribution and wish us all success in implementing the new voluntary rules of the game!

Karli Lambot

Chairman of the ELEA Board