The Polish parliament has passed an amendment of the Act on Packaging and Packaging Waste for the purpose of adapting existing Polish laws to EU norms. The amendment is scheduled to take effect on the date of Poland's accession to the EU.
The amended law will actually ease current requirements on product manufacturers to provide recycling information of their goods. At present, information on whether a product can be recycled is mandatory in Poland while being only voluntary in the EU.
The Polish News Bulletin reports that the environmental protection committee of Sejm - Poland's parliament - has put forward the amendment of the Waste Act in an attempt to curb the theft of raw materials. The agency reports that such materials are often sold to waste recycling centres, leading to losses within the state budget. The proposed amendment suggests that recycling centres should collect the personal data of individuals supplying them with raw materials.
However, critics point out that this registration effort is ineffective if the information requirement is too vague. In addition, there are fears that the amendement can easily be abused by recycling centres eager to earn illicit profit.
Packaging production has been one of the most dynamically expanding segments of the Polish economy since the transition to democracy in the late 1980s. There has been a marked increase in product hygiene and preservation potential, but the development of a vibrant packaging market has also led to unprecedented growth in packaging waste.
According to researcher Alexandra Kielkiewicz-Young,this has been largely a result of the expansion of disposable packaging. Waste packaging material, she says, means a loss of raw materials and energy, the utility of potentially reusable products, and environmentalvalues.
It also leads to environmental pollution and land degradation.This is one reason why packaging and packaging waste policies have been under development in Poland, and the Polish accession process to join the EU is the major driving force behind this.
In her report Packaging and packaging waste policy in Poland, Kielkiewicz-Young also suggests that the market situation of beer packaging in Poland has changed significantly in the past ten years. Before 1990, beer was sold almost exclusively in glass bottles, most of which wererefillable. Glass beer bottles were mostly standardised, at least within a region, and a deposit-refund system wasestablished due to the economic value of the container.
The deposit-refund is still kept, but the amount of beer sold in single use containers has been increasing in the past few years. Currently, about 70 per cent of the beer is sold in glass bottles and an increasingly greater share is sold in disposable bottles.
The share of beer sold in aluminium has also increased. Between 1995 and 1997, market share grew from about 3 per cent to almost 10 per centof total beer sales. The opening of two large aluminium can factories in Poland in the mid-1990s has contributed to the dynamic expansion ofthe use of the cans.