Law on WEEE to be amended

One of the most recent laws in the field of waste management, the two-year-old Act of 11 September 2015 on Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (Journal of Laws 2015, item 1688, as amended), is likely to go through a fundamental amendment. This was proposed by the Senate Environment Committee during last week's deliberations.

What has the Act changed?

In January this year. the Environment Committee discussed the functioning of the system introduced by the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Act 2015. The Ministry of the Environment, the Ministry of Development and business representatives presented their position. Numerous legislative shortcomings were pointed out, which allow the grey market to continue to grow. The functioning of free take-back of WEEE in practice and the catalogue of goods covered by the Act were discussed. On the basis of the information gathered, the Commission prepared a position paper on the amendment of the Act.

More precise regulations

Suggestions include the introduction of standards for the treatment of WEEE, especially hazardous waste. This is to contribute to the standardisation of permits issued and the application of comparable treatment methods. Ultimately, this is to ensure that it is technically possible to achieve the exacting levels of recovery and recycling in this sector. More emphasis is also to be placed on the producers of reuse equipment. Recyclers will be asked to provide processors with precise information on the treatment processes the product has undergone. Reprocessors preparing for re-use are to be responsible for ensuring that the equipment they put back on the market meets all requirements, including safety standards. The definition of incomplete equipment also needs to be clarified.

Expand and seal the system

It is proposed to introduce an obligation for communes owning WEEE SHOPs to cooperate with producers of WEEE in terms of handing over collected equipment to them or their representatives. This is to give a kind of priority to producers in access to WEEE and to limit speculation and price collusion. On the other hand, recovery organisations would be expected to take over full producer responsibility in the event of contract signing, and not, as before, only producer obligations. Organisations would be granted the status of a public trust body, as well as the possibility of collecting incomplete equipment. The law is to be corrected with regard to the clarity of the provisions, because at present their complexity gives a lot of room for the so-called grey market. It also seems necessary to introduce a method of monitoring WEEE market participants, including collectors and processors, in terms of their technical and logistical capabilities.

Diagnosis of problems

The amendment to the Act would also rectify erroneous assumptions about identical recovery and recycling options for all materials covered by the Act. The problem affects, among others, used printing materials or luminaires. In the case of producers of printing equipment, the problem is the inclusion in the weight of the equipment of the weight of the colouring material, which decreases during use. This results in an overestimation of the initial weight of equipment taken into account for the subsequent calculation of recovery and recycling rates. In the case of luminaires, on the other hand, there is a significant shortage of waste lamps, which risks missing the collection target for this waste. The new regulations are intended to take into account the realities of the market and thus make it possible to achieve the required levels of collection or recycling of waste equipment.

The report of the Senate Committee on the Environment is only the beginning of the road to changing the legislation. It only provides a basis for further debate on the need for changes in the management of WEEE in Poland. However, it gives a clear signal that it has been noted that changes are necessary and should be developed as soon as possible.

Source: based on

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