Order no. 149/2019 has been published, amending and supplementing the Annex to Ministry of Environment and Water Order no. 578/2006 approving the Methodology for the calculation of contributions and fees due to the Environment Fund. The new Order clarifies various aspects regarding the practical ways in which companies have to fulfill their obligations related, mainly, to the management of packaging and packaging waste. It details the mechanisms for implementing the obligations imposed by EGO 74/2018, published in July 2018.
One of the provisions of the new Order concerns the obligations regarding the contribution to the circular economy for municipal, construction and demolition waste subject to disposal by storage in authorized landfills. Owners of landfill sites have to declare and pay quarterly the contribution for the circular economy by the twenty-fifth of the month following the quarter in which the activity was conducted.
These provisions also clarify the entity responsible for paying the contribution under the "pay as you throw" obligation. For municipal, construction and demolition waste, such contributions are paid by the individuals or legal persons entrusted with waste for final disposal.
One of the key issues clarified by this regulation is the categories of economic operators liable for declaring the quantities and types of packaging materials placed onto the Romanian market. Thus, even if those involved in this process remain the same, the authorities have clarified who is required to declare the quantities and types of packaging materials placed onto the national market. As such, economic operators which import / purchase Intra-Community products packaged for their own use / consumption are responsible for the waste generated by the primary, secondary and tertiary packaging materials used for the purpose of packing their products, except for the sales packaging materials used within sale points.
The methodological norms indicate the main aspects to be considered by economic operators regarding the achievement of annual packaging waste recycling / recovery targets.
The RON 2 / kg contribution is paid annually by economic operators on the difference between the quantities corresponding to the annual recovery targets or incineration and the quantities of packaging waste entrusted for recovery or recycled by incineration. The amount of packaging waste entrusted for recovery is considered to be the total weight of the packaging waste introduced into the recycling operation in which it is reprocessed into products, materials or substances.
Moreover, economic operators should be aware that individual fulfilment of annual packaging waste targets by means of recovery or recycling in waste incineration plants can only be achieved by recovering the following types of packaging waste:
The new norm also addresses the traceability of packaging waste, through an obligation to prepare, on a monthly basis, and have available statements drawn up based on financial-accounting documents, with supporting documents, for each type of material. Such statements and supporting documentation should cover the quantities of:
(a) packaging waste resulting from reusable primary packaging material;
(b) packaging waste resulting from the primary packaging material for which the economic operator applies a return system for its own packaging;
(c) packaging waste resulting from secondary and transport packaging waste for which the economic operator applies a return system from the distributors of the products;
(d) primary, secondary and transport packaging waste generated from the packaging of products imported / acquired from the Community for the economic operator’s own use or consumption;
(e) wood packaging waste handed over to individuals as alternative fuel to firewood.
Economic operators have to declare on a monthly basis, by the twenty-fifth of the month following that in which the activity was conducted, the quantities of packaging material placed onto the national market and the quantities of packaging waste recycled, by other forms of recovery or incinerated in waste incineration plants with energy recovery, in total and broken down by material type. Information on the economic operators which carried out the recycling or recovery operations also has to be declared.
In order to be taken into account for the individual fulfillment of the recovery targets, packaging waste generated by the operator’s activity, including that returned from beneficiaries, has to be recorded in separate inventory accounts at their fair value, with records of packaging waste management also held.
The new regulatory act also details the regime of reusable packaging materials.
Reusable packaging that is returned to internal and external suppliers has to be recorded in separate inventory accounts at fair value and the amount of packaging reused is accepted by Environmental Fund Authorities exclusively on the basis of the existing accounting records.
Moreover, as of 31 March 2019, reusable primary packaging ranging from 0.1 to 3 litres used for public consumption should be recorded in the accounting records at a value of RON 0.50 / packing material.
The new provisions introduced by this norm also refer to the treatment of reusable packaging materials which become waste. Wood packaging waste recycled into wood packaging or repaired for re-use purposes are considered to be placed onto the national market when first used after such operations.
Moreover, in order to establish the obligations at the Environmental Fund level, economic operators have to take into account the authorities' clarification regarding the placing onto the market of a product that it can only be done by a manufacturer or importer / legal person making an intra-Community acquisition. The manufacturer is considered to be the economic operator for which a product is being designed or manufactured. Placing onto the market is not considered to occur when a product is either imported or purchased from European Union Member States for export purposes to a third country, delivered to the Member States by the same legal person or located in the manufacturer’s (or authorised representative established in Romania) or the importer’s storage, where the product is not yet available or is not delivered for distribution, consumption or use purposes, unless the applicable law provides otherwise.
Although the methodological norms provide a series of clarifications regarding the obligations of economic operators involved throughout the packaging and packaging waste management chain, it should be taken into consideration that the implementation mechanism requires careful analysis and understanding in relation to the specific activities carried out, so that the practical difficulties that may arise can be eliminated.
The most important aspects clarified by the norm that economic operators should consider are as follows:
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