The new Packaging and Waste Packaging Management Act went into effect on 1 January 2014. The act implements the Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive (94/62/EC) into Polish law. The act also modified certain existing laws in Poland in this area, taking over a portion of the regulations which were included in the Act on Obligations of Businesses in Management of Certain Wastes and on Product Fees of 11 May 2001, as well as replacing the previous Packaging and Packaging Waste Act of 11 May 2001. The new rules will affect the operations of businesses involved in waste recovery as well as the sale of goods.

The new act was designed to streamline the functioning of packaging waste management and help achieve targets for minimum levels of recovery and recycling set by EU law. The act introduces targets higher than required by the EU, at 56% recycling and 61% recovery for all packaging, with specific recycling targets of:

  • 61% for glass packaging
  • 61% for paper and cardboard packaging
  • 51% for aluminium packaging
  • 51% for steel packaging
  • 23.5% for plastic packaging
  • 16% for wood packaging.

Subject of the act

The new act governs issues concerning:

  • The requirements that must be met by packaging introduced onto the market
  • Procedures for handling packaging and packaging waste
  • Operations of packaging recovery organizations and rules for establishing and collecting product fees.

Addressees of the act

The new act will affect the activity of numerous entities – including those operating on the waste recovery market as well as those involved in the sale of goods. The act imposes duties on entities involved in:

  • Organization of recovery of packaging
  • The business of recycling or other processes for recovery of packaging waste
  • Marketing of packaging
  • Marketing of products in packaging
  • Supply of packaging waste or products in packaging in the internal EU market
  • Distribution of products in packaging
  • Export of packaging waste, packaging, or products.

The key changes include:

  • Exemption from the obligation to achieve the required levels of recovery and recycling of packaging waste and to pay product fees for businesses introducing packaging onto the Polish market with a total weight of 1,000 kg or less per year.
  • Establishing the level of product fees on the basis of the actual weight of packaging introduced onto the market in the preceding calendar year.
  • A prohibition against using recovery organizations to meet recovery requirements in the case of businesses marketing products in mixed-material packaging or hazardous substances in packaging. Such entities must operate their own system for collection and recovery of such packaging, or through an industry self-regulatory group, in agreement with the marshal of the province.
  • A requirement for businesses marketing products in packaging to finance public education campaigns in an amount equal to at least 2% of the net value of the packaging introduced onto the market in the preceding calendar year. An enterprise may be released from this obligation by paying the same amount to the account of the National Fund of Environmental Protection and Water Management.