More efficient implementation of the packaging waste management system
The Slovenian Government adopted the Decree on Packaging and Packaging Waste Handling, which is an implementing regulation based on the amendment to the Environmental Protection Act. The objective of this Decree is to ensure a high level of environment protection, the prevention and reduction of any impact of packaging and packaging waste on the environment, and to ensure the operations of the internal market, prevent obstacles to trade and distortion and restriction of competition.
The Decree determines the rules and conditions for the production of packaging, its use, placement on the market in the Republic of Slovenia and distribution, and the rules for packaging waste management, the main objective of which is to prevent the generation of packaging waste. It also sets out the rules and conditions for the reuse of packaging, collection, recycling and other packaging waste recovery procedures in order to reduce the scope of packaging waste disposal to the minimum, thus contributing to the transition to a circular economy. The Decree also governs the producer’s extended responsibility for packaging. It determines anew who the producer placing the packaging on the Slovenian market is while also bearing the extended producer responsibility (EPR) and the date when it is understood that the packaging was placed on the Slovenian market. The producers bear organisational and financial obligations relating to the management of packaging waste generated in the entire territory of Slovenia. The producers will no longer only cover the costs of packaging waste management, but will also bear the organisational obligation, i.e. to ensure the management prescribed for all packaging waste generated in the territory of the Republic of Slovenia, and the financial obligation, i.e. to cover the costs prescribed for such management. These obligations can be met individually or collectively.
The Decree abolishes the quantitative threshold of 15 tonnes of packaging placed on the Slovenian market annually for producers regarding the obligation to cover the costs of packaging waste management. At the same time, the option of paying a lump sum is being introduced for those producers who annually place less than 1,000 kg of packaging on the Slovenian market. There are also changes in the packaging waste management system, especially with regard to regular collection of packaging waste from public service providers, the provision of sufficient capacities of equipment for the pre-treatment of packaging waste and suitable procedures for sorting of packaging waste. These changes will contribute to a more efficient implementation of the packaging waste management system, which (in addition to the abolishment of the quantitative threshold) should further contribute to the country no longer needing to intervene regarding the payment of costs for managing packaging waste which the packaging waste management companies fail to collect from the public service providers.
Since the enforcement of the measures to reduce the consumption of lightweight plastic carrier bags in 2017, the consumption of all plastic carrier bags has dropped, with the exception of very lightweight plastic carrier bags. The Decree also incorporates these bags into its objective of reducing consumption and simultaneously abolishes the reporting for distributors. The exemption from compulsory payment for these bags still applies for consumers as their use contributes to the prevention of food waste generation during distribution and sale (before food reaches consumers), which is also one of the environmental objectives of the EU policy.
By transferring additional powers to market inspectors, more effective supervision is also expected over the requirements that must be met by packaging before its placement on the market.