Less than 10 percent of the approximately 4,000 active packaging waste collectors in Romania have managed to pay the guarantee of 500.000 RON to the state, following some legislative changes that came into force on the beginning of the year, according to the figures analyzed by Clean Recycle. According to OUG 125/2022, from January 1, 2023, the collectors are obliged to provide this guarantee, in the form of a cash deposit or a bank guarantee letter.
Thus, only collectors who have complied with the law can continue to conclude contracts with the OIREPs in Romania, which ensure the taking over of the extended responsibility of the companies. The measure was taken by the authorities to prevent certain blockages in the event of possible cases of fraud, but it could have a significant impact on the budget of economic operators in Romania, who put packaging waste on the market (the amount of the guarantees being further transferred from the collectors to final customers, in the context where the competition becomes smaller, and the demand remains high).
Also, the situation could generate major blockages in the management of packaging waste, considering the environmental responsibility of those who put packaging and packaging waste on the market and the limited number of collection companies that have managed to pay the required guarantees.
Packaging waste will be reported as recovered only after the actual recycling
OUG125/2022 of the Minister of the Environment, brings a major impact on the costs of economic operators, but also of OIREPs. Previously, the quantities of packaging waste were reported to the environmental authorities as being recovered at the time of entrustment for recycling / recovery, but currently it is desired that they be included in the reports only after they are actually recycled.
“The recycling and valorization objectives that end up being the responsibility of the packaging waste generators, and whose fulfillment we assume by contract, are annual. Following this change, we expect to encounter situations where, although significant amounts of packaging waste will be collected separately and handed over to the recycler, they will not be able to be reported as actually recycled until the recycling process is completed. Concretely, important quantities collected and handed over to recyclers in the last part of the year could enter the recycling process after January 1 of the following year. Also, the rules for applying this ordinance are not clearly determined in the OUG”, says Cosmin Monda, founder and CEO of Clean Recycle.
Progressive reduction of single-use plastic put on the market
Starting from January 1, 2023, economic operators have the obligation to reduce the amount of single-use plastic placed on the market, compared to the previous year, by 5 percent until December, by 10 percent in 2024, by 15 percent in 2025 and by 20 percent in 2026. At the same time, they must report these figures to the Administration for the Environmental Fund. Also, until 2029, the environmental target imposed for the collection of single-use plastic products is 90 percent. This year, the recovery and recycling objectives for all types of packaging waste have also increased:
- Paper/Cardboard: from 60 percent to 65 percent;
- Plastic: from 22.5 percent to 35 percent;
- Glass: from 60 percent to 65 percent;
- Ferrous metals: from 50 percent to 60 percent;
- Aluminium: from 20 percent to 30 percent;
- Wood: from 15 percent to 20 percent.
Practically, all economic operators who introduce these types of waste on the market, through their own economic activity, have the obligation to collect separately and recycle or valorize the generated waste in the mentioned proportions. At the moment, at the level of Romania, the recycling targets are not reached – only at the level of 2020 the percentage of recycling was at 44.6 percent.