Law no. 249/2015 on the management of packaging and packaging waste represents the new rules regarding waste management. Thus, this law imposes certain requirements regarding the essential nature of unusable or exploitable packaging, manufacture and the composition thereof, equally imposing responsibilities and objectives regarding the collection of waste, as well as setting the penalties for non-compliance with this law.
This being said, his law clarifies the meaning of terms, regulating that, "packaging" is represent by any object, regardless of the material from which it is made or the nature thereof, for retention, protection, handling, distribution and presentation of products, from raw materials to processed products, from the producer to the user or consumer. More, even, the non-refundable object which is intended for the same purpose is also considered packaging.
Regarding the requirements introduced in the annexes of this law, the essential requirements relating to the manufacture and composition of packaging are:
▪ packaging shall be manufactured so that its volume and weight be limited to the minimum necessary to ensure the required level of safety, hygiene and acceptance for both the packaged product and the consumer;
▪ packaging shall be designed, manufactured and marketed in a way to allow reuse or recovery, including recycling, and to minimize the negative environmental impacts;
▪ packaging shall be manufactured aiming at minimizing the content of substances and toxic materials and other hazardous substances in the packaging material and its components, substances which may be present in emissions, ash or leachate resulting from the elimination processes of the packaging waste.
The essential requirements specific to the reusable nature of packaging are well defined, namely:
▪ the physical properties and characteristics of the packaging must allow multiple rotations in normal conditions of intended use;
▪ reused packaging must be prepared, as appropriate, to meet the requirements of health and safety;
▪ the packaging that can not be reused must become capitalized packaging waste.
What’s more, the essential requirements of capitalized packaging establish that:
▪ packaging must be manufactured so as to allow, when it becomes packaging waste, that a percentage of the weight of materials to be recycled. Setting this percentage may differ depending on the type of material used in the manufacture of packaging;
▪ packaging must be manufactured so as to allow, when it becomes packaging waste, that the packaging waste processed for energy recovery to have a minimum calorific value that allows the optimization of energy recovery;
▪ packaging must be manufactured so as to allow, when it becomes packaging waste, that the packaging waste treated and composted be sufficiently biodegradable;
▪ biodegradable packaging must be manufactured so as to allow, when discarding packaging, a decomposition of physical, chemical, thermal or biological, so most of the material to be converted into carbon dioxide, biomass and water.
Furthermore, these conditions should be considered fulfilled only in case packages are compliant with both the Romanian standards and / or national standards of other Member States of the European Union, which adopt harmonized standards, and by Romanian standards for areas in which European harmonized standards are not adopted.
Regarding the obligations of economic operators, they need to market only packaging of which the sum concentration levels of lead, cadmium, mercury and hexavalent chromium present in packaging or its components does not exceed 100 parts / million by weight, but they also need to use a system of labeling and identification of the packaging in order to improve packaging recovery and recycling of packaging waste and to apply the system of marking and identification required by law.
Also, economic operators that produce reusable packaging own the obligation to comply with the essential requirements regarding reusability of packaging during its manufacturing, so as to allow multiple reuse.
Operators producing or selling products packaged in reusable packaging are obliged to apply the deposit system to ensure an optimum number of cycles of use, while those that manufacture goods packed in reusable packaging shall organize a collection system, with the purpose of multiple packaging for reuse, by operators selling these products or specialized centers for collection of these types of packaging.
Regarding annual targets on recovery or recycling of packaging waste, to be achieved at national level, the legal framework in this matter establishes that these are:
a) recovery or incineration, in waste incineration plants with energy recovery, of at least 60% of the weight of packaging waste;
b) recycling of minimum 55% of the total weight of packaging materials contained in packaging waste, with achieving minimum recycling values for each type of material contained in packaging waste.
The value of these objectives for the recycling of each type of material found in packaging waste are as follows:
a) 60% of the weight for the glass;
b) 60% of the weight for paper / cardboard;
c) 50% of the weight for the metal;
d) 15% of the weight for wood;
e) 22.5% of the weight for plastics, considering only the material that is recycled as plastic.
The penalties for breaching the provisions of this law are represented by fines whose amount varies from 400 lei to 25,000 lei, depending on the seriousness of the offense.
The new law in the matter of the management of packaging and packaging waste contains strict and complex legislative provisions enabling effective management of waste in Romania, in line with European standards and the national ones. If you want to get more information on your obligations in this area as an economic operator, you can contact one of the lawyers within Darie, Manea & associates who will provide legal assistance and representation before the competent authorities when appropriate.