Following criticism of the last proposal made by the Ministry of Climate and Environment for the bill, a new proposal was posted on the government website on 13 April 2023, substantially incorporating the suggestions made by the market with regard to the previous version. On 6 June, the Council of Ministers approved the draft and decided to submit it to the Sejm to be read and passed.
Under the new proposal for a bill amending the Act on Packaging and Packaging Waste Management and certain other acts, a deposit will have to be charged for plastic bottles of up to three liters, reusable glass bottles of up to 1.5 liters, and aluminum cans of up to one liter. Thus this does not apply to single-use glass bottles of up to 1.5 liters. One of the reasons for this is the objection that the Polish act is contrary to the SUP Directive in this respect.
Suggestions coming from the market, that a single non-profit organization should operate the deposit refund scheme, as a countermeasure to unhealthy competitiveness surrounding obtaining recyclates, were rejected. The ministry is currently proposing a deposit refund scheme to be run by operators in the form of a spółka akcyjna (joint-stock company) in which the only shareholders would be entities that place beverage packaging on the market. According to the statement of reasons for the bill, operators’ receipts from the scheme are to be designated for statutory purposes, rendering their operations similar to those of non-profit organizations. In addition, there will be a minimum share capital requirement of PLN 5 million, and a requirement to maintain equity at a minimum of half of the share capital or hold a bank or insurance guarantee for that amount. Ownership title to packaging waste covered by the deposit refund scheme will be held by the operator, and entities that place beverage packaging on the market and belong to the deposit refund scheme will hold ownership title to collected glass packaging used to place beverage products on the market. It will be obligatory to take back empty packaging and packaging waste covered by the deposit refund scheme, and return the deposit, for retailers of a sales area exceeding 200 m2, while the scheme will be optional for other entities. An agreement with the operator will be required to join the scheme.
The ministry estimates that the deposit refund scheme will come into effect in Poland as of the beginning of 2025.
Author: Michał Sobolewski