The tax was implemented in 1993 after the Law of 13th July 1992 (92-646) was enacted. This was followed by two 1993 Decrees (93-169 and 93-745).
The direct aim of the tax was to have a significant incentive effect through the "price signal" passed over to landfill users. It was implemented to streamline French waste management through increasing waste recovery, and providing for full cost recovery of waste management. It is one of the policy instruments of the national strategy to restrict disposal to landfill to final waste only that cannot be recovered by any other treatment by 2002. An indirect aim is to finance the Modernisation Fund for Waste Management (MFWM), created in 1993 and run by ADEME.
An issue affecting the amount of waste taxed under the scheme is the unclear definition of waste to be included in the tax scheme. Authorities acknowledge the "grey area" around the definition of MIW and final waste, and the lack of data in this respect. A list of the different types of waste falling under the tax is as follows: Type of Municipal Waste Examples Household Waste (HW) collected by municipalities sorted, and unsorted, including bulky waste Other Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) waste from municipal parks, wastewater sewage sludge/residuals Mixed Industrial Waste collected together by municipalities with household and municipal waste (MIW) inert and harmless industrial waste e.g. paper, board, metals, wood and plastics from industry, administrations, retail, services which do not require any special treatment (disposed on Class II & III landfill sites). Other type of waste (not municipal) Examples Mixed Industrial Waste collected separately from household waste, disposed in private or public landfill sites (MIWS) inert and harmless construction waste, inert extraction waste, other aggregates (débais et gravats) The total volume of waste covered by the tax is around 150 millions tonnes (Mt). Within those 150 Mt, mixed industrial waste (MIWS) collected separately amounts to roughly 100 Mt, and the disposal pattern is not well known as these do not follow the municipal waste path (and so are not in the control of local authorities). It is estimated that 90% of MIWS is disposed in owner-operated landfill sites. Only 8% of total MIW is disposed of in public landfill sites. Mixed construction waste (inert and small) is taxed, and amounts to 10 Mt, but the proportion collected by municipalities is uncertain.
The tax is applied to all waste entering landfill sites with prefectural authorisation to take such waste. Around 6,500 landfill sites are affected - 500 authorised sites with a capacity of over 10 tonnes per day and some 6,000 illegal dumpsites. An inventory of illegal sites allows ADEME to collect tax from such sites. Although such sites pay the tax and are known to the authorities, apparently, they are not forced to obtain authorisation (Ecotec, 2001).
In 1993, when the French landfill tax was introduced in 1993 the rate was 20 FF per tonne. The rate increased to FRF 60 (9.15 euros) per tonne in 1995, which is still the standard rate for municipal and comparable waste (Bartelings et al., 2005).
In 1998, the landfilling price paid by municipalities for such wastes varied from 25 Ff per tonne to 60 FF per tonne depending on the area, and on average, the tax represents 15% of the price (40FF/T in 1998). One municipality of 13,000 inhabitants reported pre-tax prices of 397 FF/tonne in 1998, 495 FF/tonne in 1999 and 2000. Since 1999, the tax is part of the TGAP (Taxe Generale sur les Activities Pollutantes) (Bartelings et al., 2005). The effects of the tax on landfill gate fees, expressed as a percentage of the pre-tax price, have ranged from 9% in 1993 (tax rate of 20FF/tonne) to 15% in 1998. (In the case of the above municipality, the tax represents 12% of the pre-tax price in 1999-2000).
Since 2003, sites with EMAS or ISO 14000 certification pay a reduced rate of 7.50 euros per tonne. Non-authorised landfills pay a rate of 18.29 euro per tonne of municipal waste, which is also the rate for special industrial waste (Bartelings et al., 2005: 13).
Exemptions are in place for:• owner-operated landfill sites;• community refuse return;• sorting centres; • transfer sites; • industrial waste recovery operations. The exemption for owner-operated sites affects the volume of MIW falling under the tax, as it is not collected for disposal in a collective landfill site. Of the average MIW volume of 100Mt, about 90% is disposed of at owner-operated sites. The same is true for 90% of harmless agricultural waste (or 360 Mt), but the percentage of mixed agricultural waste is uncertain.
Allocation of Revenues
The landfill tax payments received by ADEME were up to 1999 fed into the MFWM, instituted by a decree of March 1993 (number 93-744) and administered by ADEME. The aim of the MFWM is to promote innovative means of waste treatment and to equip local authorities with necessary funds. This involves four main objectives:• Financial aid to develop innovative technology for household and assimilated waste treatment;• Financial aid to install waste treatment facilities, especially those which make use of innovative technology;• Financial aid to local authorities on whose territory a new treatment plant for household and assimilated waste is built;• Financial aid for upgrading public landfill sites and restoring contaminated sites.
Effectively, this is a tax on the import or export of waste across districts, so that the Proximity Principle is reinforced. This is made possible since operators of Class II & III landfill sites are required to keep a register in which, for each waste consignment delivered, the following is to be recorded: • tonnage and type of waste;• place of origin and identity of the producer;• date and time of delivery;• name of the waste carrier; and • Registration number of the delivery vehicle. This registration system has been in place before 1992, under the 1975 law. The rate is also doubled for ash resulting from household waste incineration. The ADEME was set up by the 1992 Law to administer, amongst other things, the tax and the Modernisation Fund for Waste Management. It is in charge of verifying the declarations (notifications) and collecting the tax, working together with the main stakeholders, i.e. waste collection, treatment and disposal operators. Once the tax has been incorporated into the TGAP (General Tax on Polluting Activities - in 1999), the Ministry of Finance, Section Excise and Duty, will take over the administration of the tax. The tax is payable quarterly by facilities authorised to receive more than 20,000 tonnes of waste per year, and annually otherwise. All persons or legal entities liable to pay the tax have to send ADEME notification (in the form of a declaration) of tonnage delivered to them along with the tax payment due. All persons or legal entities operating Class I, II & III landfill sites - whether they have been granted authorisation or not -are liable to pay the tax. This applies as long as the site is not exclusively used for internal waste. The tax has been implemented at national level, and is collected at national and regional level by ADEME. It is applied at local level, taking district's boundaries into account as a basis for rate differentiation.
ADEME estimated that 59% of total household, municipal and mixed industrial was still being landfilled in 1997 against 61% in 1989 and 63% in 1993 (Ecotec, 2001). Although municipalities typically have fixed-term contracts with landfill operators, some have switched to incineration and sorting / recycling since 1997. In 2005, new targets were set by the French Government on the amount of household waste going to landfills or incinerators. The aim is to reduce from 290kg per head in 2005, to 250kg by 2010 and to 200kg by 2015 (ENDS, 2005). The new landfill campaign intended to feature increased information available to the public as well as the fiscal measures. The tariff for electricity produced from waste-derived biogas is to be increased by 50%. The national tax on polluting activities (TGAP) is to be doubled for waste dumped in uncontrolled landfill sites (ENDS, 2005). It is hoped that this increase in TGAP will speed up the closing of all uncontrolled sites at least within the target of 18 months. French local authorities will be given powers to levy their own taxes on waste sent to dumps and incinerators. A national plan for the development of composting is hoped to be in place by mid 2006 (ENDS, 2005).
Even though the French Landfill tax is relatively low and landfilling is often still the cheapest option, the mixture of the landfill tax with regulations (including a ban on the landfilling of untreated waste in 2002) has meant that the amount of waste going to landfill did not increase and the patterns that existed in the 1990s continued into the early 2000s (Bartelings et al., 2005). Over the years 1993 to 1997, the share of landfilling in waste disposal in France decreased from 64% to 59%. Since 1997, some municipalities have switched to incineration and sorting/recycling, even though they probably have fixed term contracts with landfill operators (Bartelings et al., 2005).
ADEME, 1998, Taxe parafiscale sur la pollution atmosphérique - Rapport d'activité 1997.
Bartelings, H., Beukering, P. van, Kuik, O., Linderhof, V., & Oosterhuis, F., 2005. Effectiveness of landfill taxation. IVM report R-05/05, Institute for Environmental Studies, Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam.
Ecotec, 2001. Study on Environmental Taxes and Charges in the EU. http://europa.eu.int/comm/environment/enveco/taxation/environmental_taxes.htm
ENDS, 2004, Environmental Daily 13/2/2004.
ENDS, 2005, Environmental Daily Issue No. 1946, September 2005.
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