On 23 November 2021, the President of Poland signed into law the Act of 17 November 2021 amending the Waste Act and certain other acts (Journal of Laws 2021, item 2151). The act implements the European Parliament and Council waste directives.
The architects behind the act wish to take the next step in Poland towards further development of the the circular economy in Poland, eventually leading to 65% preparing for reuse and recycling of municipal waste by 2035, in line with the EU joint declarations. The amendment substantially changes the national rules in the Waste Act and other acts on cleanliness and tidiness in municipalities, batteries, chemical substances and chemical mixtures, used electric and electronic equipment, and packaging and waste packaging management.
In line with the waste directives, the act makes a range of changes, including the amendment of definitions currently in use with regard to management of waste, biowaste, or municipal waste, and also adds new definitions of food waste, construction waste, or extended producer responsibility. The act provides for a limit on the volume waste a municipality can deposit at a landfill site and fines for exceeding the limits, and at the same time sets higher volumes for recycling waste packaging.
It also provides for a range of awareness-raising measures to promote sustainable production and consumption models and reuse or repair.
As it was emphasized in the reasoning for the project of the amendment, the prospective changes will result in particular in a lower rate of consumption of primary raw materials (leaving them for future generations), a higher rate of use of secondary raw materials in manufacture of goods, less waste processing in general and per inhabitant, and should reduce the harmful effect of waste on the environment.
The act will take effect on 1 January 2022, except for particular provisions on collection of construction waste, which will come into force from 2023.