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French Paper Tax - what you need to know

Fiona Thompson, Environmental Compliance Consultant
Aug 03, 2017


Does your company manufacture, sell or distribute printed paper materials in France?

If yes, then you may well find that you’re obligated to comply with one of the lesser known pieces of extended producer responsibility (EPR) in place in France – the Paper Tax.


What is the French Paper Tax?
The Paper Tax came into force in January 2005 as part of the French Regulatory Environmental Code. 

The aim of the legislation is to reduce the amount of paper being disposed of in general household waste instead of being separated and recycled. The principal organisation assisting companies affected by the Paper Tax is Ecofolio.

Who are Ecofolio and what is their aim?
Ecofolio was founded in 2006 by 33 stakeholders from a number of sectors which were affected by the extended producer legislation on printed paper materials.

Ecofolio is a private, not-for Profit Company. Ecofolio supports communities in updating the sorting facilities and instructions, and finances national communication campaigns.

Obligations: Who and what?
In order for companies to be obligated under the Paper Tax they must place over 5 tonnes of paper on the French market every year. The weight of an individual printed paper item should be smaller than or equal to 224g/m².

The obligated company is the one who is responsible for making, importing or introducing the items for the first time on the French market.

or

The obligated company may also be the one who is responsible for the general promotion policy, advertising, information or marketing of printed paper materials.

Ecofolio have expanded the types of printed paper items which fall into scope of the Paper Tax. There are now 20 categories and sub-categories in total, including but not limited to:

  • Printed papers (personalised envelopes, mailings, payslips & bank statements)
  • Copy paper, envelopes and postal pockets
  • Posters
  • Invoices & receipts
  • Instruction manuals
  • Press releases
  • Decorative papers
  • Public service

What are the requirements?
Obligated companies are required to declare data on an annual basis. The data is based on the total tonnage placed on the French market in the previous calendar year.

Following a study of hundreds of leaflets and printed paper items Ecofolio has developed a simpler data declaration which will take effect from February 2018. Companies now only have to declare the total number of units which are placed on the French market in each paper category.

How can Valpak help?
If you are unsure whether or not your company will be affected by the Paper Tax in France please feel free to get in contact with our International Compliance Team who will be able to review your company’s obligations.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this weblog represent those of the individual authors and not those of Valpak Limited or any other organisation.