Poland has been a member of the European Union for just under a decade now. The country, the largest among the new member states, must, therefore, now comply with the EU’s rules concerning recycling. Implementation of these standards, however, has at times been slow. New laws have been passed to speed up this process.
There’s no doubt about it: a lot of things have changed in Poland over the last few years. Despite this fact, however, the country is still quite a way behind when it comes to recycling. With the European Commission threatening to impose sanctions, the Polish government has passed a number of new laws to change the situation. The first step occurred two years ago when the law on “cleanliness and order in local authority districts” came into force. The result was a complete reorganisation of the municipal waste business – effectively putting it into the hands of the public sector. Before this law came into being, local inhabitants and commercial businesses could choose who should collect their waste. Municipal waste is now under the control of the respective local authorities.
The next new regulation was passed soon after. The reason behind this move was the need to transpose the EU Waste Framework Directive into national law – something that should, in fact, have happened by the end of 2010. These regulations came into effect in the middle of 2013. They strengthened the position of local authorities – as the owner of all materials generated by households – and set the path for making it obligatory for local inhabitants to segregate their recyclables.
Around 12 million tonnes of municipal waste are generated in Poland each year, a good two thirds of which come from private households.
All across the country, these two new laws have led to projects being put out to tender, some of which have not yet been completed. This all costs time, creates an atmosphere of uncertainty and has resulted in projects, that have already started and/or been planned, progressing much more slowly than anticipated or turning out to be a bad investment.
According to official statistics, around 14 percent of municipal waste is recycled in Poland. Recycling rates for glass, paper, metal and plastics should have reached at least 50 percent by 2020. If this goal is to be achieved, the country needs to have an infrastructure in place that includes a comprehensive, nationwide collection system for segregated waste and high performance facilities to process these materials. It would be easier to finance, plan and achieve this with the support of the private sector.
REMONDIS has been operating in Poland since the beginning of the 90s – both in public private partnerships and on its own account. Being the market leader there, the company has branches in 42 towns and a network of 25 sorting plants as well as further facilities for special material flows or to produce substitute fuels. Each year, REMONDIS collects almost 1.5 million tonnes of waste and recyclables from all around the country. As part of its everyday work, the company provides state-of-the-art collection logistics, a wide range of services and nationwide systems.
REMONDIS operates in both the recycling and water sectors in Poland.
REMONDIS has been a reliable partner in the Polish waste management sector since 1990
REMONDIS has business locations in all Polish regions, one of which is located in Gliwice, an economic centre with almost 20,000 local inhabitants. The company operates here via REMONDIS Gliwice Sp.zo.o., a joint venture in which the City of Gliwice owns a 20 percent share. The PPP company specialises in collecting and processing recyclables, managing municipal waste, providing container services and keeping roads clean and free of snow and ice in winter. This branch was able to extend its catchment area during the first round of tenders following the new laws by winning additional contracts in the towns and districts around Gliwice. Moreover, REMONDIS Gliwice has founded a joint venture with the local landfill which will now be investing in a new joint mechanical biological treatment facility. The local authorities involved will, therefore, be able to get closer to their recycling targets and ensure they meet the required legal standards. As far as REMONDIS is concerned, this means that the right conditions are in place for it to continue its investments. Its range of services will, therefore, be extended in 2014 – with new opportunities to process and treat recyclables and construction waste.