Changes regarding Environmental Fund contributions

In brief

Emergency Ordinance no. 50/2019 (hereinafter referred to as “Ordinance no 50/2019) introduces a number of significant changes regarding the Environmental Fund contributions to be paid by economic operators.

In detail

One of the main changes is the ecotax increase for plastic bags, from RON 0.10 per item to RON 0.15 per item. The new amendments also provide that the ecotax payment is incurred for all types of carrier bags, except those made with materials complying with SR EN 13432: 2002 requirements, e.g. biodegradable bags made of compostable materials. The authorities are to approve the technical characteristics of carrier bags made with materials complying with SR EN 13432: 2002 requirements not subject to the eco-tax.

Another amendment reduces the current 3% contribution from revenues obtained from the sale of metal waste to 2% of the revenues so obtained by the waste owner (individual or legal person) from such sales. The 2% contribution is to be withheld not only for the sale of ferrous and non-ferrous metal waste, but also for the sale of all types of waste by economic operators carrying out waste collection and / or recovery operations which are required to pay these amounts to the Environmental Fund.

The authorities will introduce additional obligations for several categories of economic operators across the entire chain of generation, collection and recycling of waste. Under the new regulations, a contribution is required from authorised economic operators carrying out waste management activities (collection / recovery / sanitation) and reporting generated waste on behalf of other economic operators. That contribution is RON 2 / kg on the difference between the quantities of packaging waste, WEEE, batteries and used tyres declared as being managed and the quantities of waste identified by the Environmental Fund Administration.

In addition, authorised economic operators carrying out waste management activities (collection / recovery / sanitation) are required to declare, by the twenty-fifth of the month following the reporting period, the quantities of packaging waste, WEEE, batteries and used tyres taken over and managed for operators implementing extended producer responsibility.

Another key aspect introduced by the new legislation refers to the implementation of an IT application (SIATD) for ensuring the traceability of packaging waste. This application will be made available by the Environmental Fund Administration, for use by organisations implementing extended producer responsibility and economic operators managing packaging waste, thereby providing traceability of the packaging waste in their relationships.

The purpose of this application is to monitor and verify the accuracy of packaging waste transactions in the extended producer responsibility system. The application will be available for use as of the date the Order approving the Instructions for using the IT application is published, which will be within 180 days as of Ordinance no. 50/2019 coming into force.

If economic operators managing packaging waste and organisations implementing the extended producer responsibility do not comply with the obligation to use the SIATD application, they will be subject to fines of RON 80,000 to RON 100,000.

Moreover, adoption of Ordinance no. 50/2019 reduced the minimum recovery / recycling targets of packaging waste in force as of January 2019, but the targets will gradually increase annually as of 2023.

Another change is that economic operators selling packaged products in medium and large sales structures to final consumers will have to organise collection points for all types of primary packaging and reimbursement of related cash deposits.

Specific rules will also be imposed for economic operators in the hospitality industry and food services, especially those which organise events, prepare and serve food and beverages, generating from their activities used packages or packaging waste similar to household waste. Those rules refer to obligations to:

  • return used packages for which they paid a cash deposit; or
  • transfer the used packaging to authorised collectors holding proof of a valid contract with an organisation implementing extended producer responsibility; or
  • transfer the packaging waste, by type of material, to municipal separate waste collection systems.

For organisations implementing extended producer responsibility, under the new provisions, recording of outstanding obligations to the Environmental Fund budget does not constitute a reason for withdrawing the operating licence granted by the environmental authorities.

The takeaway

Adoption of Ordinance no. 50/2019 brings numerous changes to the packaging and packaging waste management system with direct impact on economic operators and organisations implementing extended producer responsibility.

The most important changes concern:

  • Increasing the amount of ecotax to RON 0.15 per item and exempting certain categories of carrier bags;
  • Reducing the contribution for the sale of waste to 2% of its value and extending the scope to all categories of waste sold by waste collection / recovery operators;
  • Implementation of a software application for monitoring the traceability of packaging waste transactions and fines ranging from RON 80,000 to RON 100,000 for operators not using the application;
  • Reducing the minimum recovery / recycling targets of packaging waste;
  • Obliging retailers to organise collection points for all types of primary packaging waste and reimbursement of cash deposits.

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