As Poslovni writes, with the new ordinance on packaging, which should enter into force next year, the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development will introduce a return fee for packaging with a volume of less than 0.20 liters for tetrapak and which is not made of PET. At the same time, retailers will have to start charging for very light plastic bags.
The Ordinance envisages the expansion of the existing refund system with less than 0.20 liters of packaging with multi-layer (composite) packaging with a predominantly paper-cardboard component, for example, tetrapak. With plastic packaging that is not made of PET, for example, HDPE (polyethylene of high density, rigid plastic), the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development told Hina.
All products defined as “beverage” to enter the refund system
Regarding products in HDPE plastic packaging, the Ministry said that all products that fall under the definition of “beverage” are included in the refund system.
This concerns alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks, table, natural mineral water, and spring water, fruit syrups, fruit juices and nectars, milk and liquid dairy products, and other liquid products based on fruit, as well as any other substance that is packaged together with the liquid base and forms a complete unit of primary packaging.
This means that oils, detergents, and other products that are not “beverages” do not enter the refund system.
Glass bottles for alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks with a volume of 0.1 liters are included in the refund system, as well as plastic packaging with a volume of three litres or less.
The Regulation on waste management compensation and return compensation will prescribe the method of calculation and the compensation amounts. A new look for the packaging label in the return fee system is also proposed.
Very light plastic bags must be charged to consumers
The ordinance also proposes that all very lightweight plastic bags, thinner than 15 microns, used for fruit and vegetables and other bulk food, and are not currently charged in the future must be charged to consumers and that they may not be displayed and sold at cash registers.
Also, in the places where the consumer packages the goods, their price, which the seller will determine, must be displayed, according to the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development.
The aim of introducing a fee for lightweight plastic bags is to separate their uncontrolled free distribution and excessive collection, which often leads to the disposal of such bags in the environment.
In addition, the goal is to improve the use of thicker plastic bags, those with a wall thickness of 50 microns or more, because they end up being discarded much less often due to their greater mass and convenience for multiple uses. The ministry wants to encourage the use of bags made of alternative materials.
The Ministry says that the new rulebook is being adopted due to Croatia’s obligations to transpose the provisions of the EU directives on packaging and packaging waste into the national legislation and on reducing the impact of plastic products on the environment.
The existing waste packaging management system should be harmonized with the Waste Management Act from July 2021.
Consultation on the rulebook until December 10
The rulebook was published on the Central Portal for public consultation, and the consultation is open until December 10. After that, the Ministry announced they would proceed with its final drafting.
The start of the application will be determined in the final version of the rulebook so that a period for adjustment will be set, and the Ministry will inform the public about the current application dates.
The Ordinance proposes measures to reduce the consumption of single-use plastic products, as well as measures related to the extended responsibility of producers of single-use plastic products and fishing gear containing plastic.
Measures are also proposed to raise awareness about the harmfulness of discarding plastic products and the availability of reusable alternatives.
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