Reusable waste deposit scheme to apply to glass bottles only

Aurel Dragan 01/04/2019 | 16:29

The deposit scheme provided for in Waste Management Ordinance 74/2018 will apply only to glass packaging and the refund of the value-added tax based on the tax receipt was based the will of the major retail chains, said Cosmin Teodoru, general manager of the Waste, Contaminated Sites and Dangerous Chemicals Division of the Environment Ministry.

“As of March 31, 2019, the deposit system will only be implemented for reusable packaging. Currently, reusable materials include only glass, so we’ll start with reuse, and here we are talking about glass bottles. This system will apply from 2021/2022 at the latest for all other types of materials: plastic, aluminum. The size of the containers counts to the extent that the manufacturer places such a type of packaging on the market, containing mineral water or beer, etc. This will not include glass jars,” said Teodoru.

On the method and the place where the refund can be obtained for the RON 0.5 deposit for packaging, the specialist from the Environment Ministry noted that the deposit-based version was proposed by the traders, each of them deciding how to organize the collection point for packaging.

“Ordinance 74 stipulates that the return of the deposit is made on the basis of the tax receipt and this was the express will of the big retail chains. Our proposal was quite different, but they insisted on the bill, so now it’s a little more complicated, but I agreed with the tax voucher in the sense that we carried out an analysis and a calculation in which I noticed that there were millions of receipts participating in the tax receipt lottery, so citizens already have a system that has been making them keep the receipts in case of a potential gain.” said the official.

Had this law not been adopted, Romania would have risked being sued by the European Commission for not imlpementing obligations regaridng the recycling of packaging in retail as well as other waste-related obligations.

Pursuant to Ordinance 74/2018 on waste, traders are obliged from 31 March 2019 to inform the consumer about the fact that each reusable glass package requires a deposit of RON 0.5 and upon the return of the packaging customers can get the money back based on the tax receipt.

The law also stipulates that between the economic operators the circulation of the reusable packaging is made by exchange, in compliance with the provisions of the Accounting Law no. 82/1991 and Law no. 227/2015 regarding the Fiscal Code, and if the beneficiaries do not hold the quantities of packaging necessary for the exchange, they pay a fee in exchange for the received packaging.

In this context, OUG 74/2018 states that the central public authority for environmental protection is the one that can initiate the uptake of the value of the guarantee at the value proposed by the representatives of the relevant economic sectors, depending on the evolution of the packaging price and the inflation rate.

Economic operators who place on the national market products packaged in reusable packaging are required, from 31 March 2019, to mark or label on the primary packaging or on the label of the consumer product the phrase “reusable packaging” and organize the takeover of reusable packaging, so as to achieve, from 2019, a return rate of at least 90 percent.

According to the cited source, Article 10 (5) states that “until January 1, 2021, based on the assessment of economic, social and environmental efficiency, as well as the impact on small and medium enterprises, by government decision, a deposit return system applicable to reusable primary packaging made of glass, plastic or metal, with volumes ranging from 0,1 l to 3 l inclusive, for available on the national market alcoholic beverages, cider, other fermented beverages, juices, nectars, soft drinks, mineral waters and drinking water of any kind, wines and spirits.”

In addition, the document notes that economic operators placing on the national market packaged glass, plastic or metal packaged products shall be required, from January 1, 2020, to have an average weight percentage of reusable packaging in the weight of the packaging used in one year at the time of the introduction of their products on the market, including packaging for hire from operators, of at least 5 percent but not less than the average percentage achieved between 2018 and 2019, and to increase this percentage by 5 percent annually by the year 2025 inclusive.

Amendments to waste management under Emergency Ordinance 74/2018 require local public authorities to apply the “Pay as You Throw” scheme, a system already implemented at European level, from January 1, 2019.

One of the important provisions is to encourage the separate collection of waste at the source and to detail how different tariffs are applied to the population. Thus, from January 1, 2019, local authorities have the obligation to apply the Pay as You Throw scheme, and in this respect they will need to provide separate containers for the dry and wet fractions. At the same time, they will have to work better with packaged product manufacturers and RTOs (responsibility transfer organisations), which will cover the costs of collecting, treating and recovering packaging waste from the population.

According to the Environment Ministry, the recyclable waste market in Romania is worth close to one billion euros, and the recycling rate for municipal waste is currently below 5 percent.

The statistics of the Romanian Compost Association (ARC), regarding Romania’s waste, show that 124,717 tons of organic waste per year are processed thorugh composting at the national level, ie 8.7 percent the total processing capacity of 1.5 million tons. At the same time, 34.6 percent are unfinished facilities under construction, and the remaining 54.9 percent are composting plants that are in operation but which do not work.

Romania, as a Member State of the European Union (EU), must have a minimum of 50 percent by 2020 in terms of re-use and recycling of the total mass of waste (paper, metal, plastic and glass). At the same time, at least 70 percent of the preparedness for re-use, recycling and other material recovery operations, namely at least 70 percent of the mass of non-hazardous waste from construction and demolition activities, and 60 percent recovery of packaging waste from the total packaging placed on the national market.

As for electronic, electrical and household waste (WEEE), by 2020, Romania should reach an average of 4 kg/inhabitant/year.

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