Warsaw, 20th July 2020
Union of Entrepreneurs and Employers:
the final beneficiaries of the ERP system must be the citizens and the environment
The deadline for Poland to introduce the provisions of the European Directive implementing Extended Producer Responsibility (ERP) has passed on 5th July, and we have less than three years to amend the current system. The Union of Entrepreneurs and Employers hereby presents its proposal regarding the ERP system, taking into account the demands of entrepreneurs and organisations representing waste management companies.
In the face of the necessity to introduce Extended Producer Responsibility into Polish legislation, Poland has a chance to heal the waste management system and eliminate current abnormalities. The purpose of improving the ERP system is to increase the efficiency of collection, preparation for recycling and the recycling of packaging waste itself, so as to achieve higher levels of recycling specified in EU law, and thus restore valuable material to the economy and protect the environment.
The vestigial ERP system currently in force in Poland, based only on the obligation to meet the recycling levels without being linked to the economy of achieving these goals, does not meet the basic EU requirements. The Union of Entrepreneurs and Employers and the Working Group for Extended Producer Responsibility operating within its framework, in which organisations representing producers of packaging products (including food, pharmaceutical, cosmetic or detergent industries) and organisations representing waste management companies participate, presented postulates and proposals of entrepreneurs regarding the improvement of this system, in accordance with the requirements contained in Article 8a of the waste directive.
According to the Union, the ERP model should meet the following criteria:
- The system must be simple and comply with the directive and in particular with Article 8a;
- The final beneficiaries of the system should be the citizens and the environment (therefore, ERP Organizations, among others, should operate in the not-for-profit formula);
- The responsibility of system participants should be adjusted to the scope in which they can bring the greatest added value; moreover, the responsibility should go along with the possibility of actually exerting an impact on efficiency in the area covered by this responsibility;
- The ERP system should maximise the use of synergies between the activities of individual system participants;
- The system must be cost-effective along the entire value chain (money follows waste).
When thinking about creating an ERP system, one should bear in mind, in addition to environmental goals, the cost-effectiveness of the entire chain.
“As part of the public debate, many ERP models are proposed, including the extremely ineffective model based on a centrally determined fee (para-tax) and its arbitrary redistribution,” emphasises Marcin Nowacki, the Union’s vice-president. “Therefore, the Union of Employers and Employees proposes that all the minimum requirements contained in Art. 8a be included in the Polish act, as only a properly implemented ERP system will ensure the achievement of environmental objectives while maintaining economic efficiency among all its participants,” he adds.
The model proposed by the Union of Entrepreneurs and Employers is based on the synergy of activities between all stakeholders, from the Regulator and communes, to producers of packaged products and ERP Organisations, licensed by the Regulator and operating in the not-for-profit formula.
The tasks of the Regulator would include control and supervisory functions, primarily in the area of waste management costs, as well as ensuring the transparency of the system and implementing supervision, audit, and control systems. The Regulator should be a government administration body reporting directly to the Minister of the Environment. The tasks of a commune (gmina – subdivision of a poviat) as a public participant in the system would include cooperation with ERP Organisations – local governments, in consultation with them, would introduce the standardisation of selective collection and coordinate educational and information activities. Local governments would also participate in organising joint tenders for the collection of packaging waste.
Producers would pay fees to the ERP Organisation in accordance with the applicable rates and report the number of packages placed on the market broken down into individual streams (households and businesses).
Other not-for-profit ERP Organisations licensed by the Regulator would take over the obligations from producers and cover the costs of the packaging waste management system from households, but also fulfil recycling obligations regarding the entire stream of packaging, also collective and transport packaging. ERP Organisations would establish, under the supervision of the Regulator, ERP rates for packaging producers reflecting the actual net cost of collection and management of packaging waste.
An important role in the model designed by the Union of Entrepreneurs and Employers would also be played by the National Fund for Environmental Protection and Water Management, which would have a special fund supplied by ERP Organisations, used for research and development in the field of eco-design or recycling.
The members of the Union of Entrepreneurs and Employers wish to introduce the Extended Producer Responsibility in Poland primarily in order to meet environmental goals. The fees paid by producers should be an incentive to introduce recyclable packaging. On the other hand, the funds obtained from them should be allocated to the processing of waste into a secondary raw material of appropriate quality suitable for reuse.
The model proposed by the members of the Union of Entrepreneurs and Employers also guarantees transparency and cost-effectiveness for all participants of the system. To achieve this, producer fees cannot be imposed arbitrarily in isolation from environmental and market realities, as this will create inefficiencies for which the citizen will ultimately pay (as a resident and a consumer).
Fot. Jonathan Chng / Unsplash.com