Belgrade recently saw the founding of the Serbian Association of Packaging Waste Operators, which composes all seven operators of the packaging waste management system on the domestic market
The role of companies in managing the environment and packaging waste is very important. The establishment of an association that will handle and deal with packaging waste in an adequate way was an essential imperative, and now the state has a partner with which it can, through joint action, influence the creation of a system in this area.
The concept of extending a producer’s liability, which implies the responsibility of a producer for its product, including its packaging throughout its entire life cycle, emerged in 1992, while in Serbia it has been applied since 2009, when the Law on Waste Management and the Law on Packaging and Packaging Waste were adopted. But what is the purpose of this initiative?
MILAN KASTRATOVIĆ, President of The Association and Director of Tehno Eko Pak:
“The aim is to create a comprehensive platform for improving the system of packaging waste management through corrective measures of the deficiencies that we’ve faced, as system operators, during the eight years that the system has functioned. For 2019, we are meeting the target of 60 per cent, which is also the EU’s target. In terms of quantities, this means that in 2019 the system’s seven operators will collect and send for recycling over 230,000 tonnes of packaging waste. National goals for reuse and recycling over the next five years should be adopted by the end of this year, while our goal is to form a working group within the framework of the ministry as soon as possible, in order for us to define the goals.”
KRISTINA CVEJANOV, General Manager at Eko Star pak:
“The measures that we propose are mostly aimed towards the better application of existing laws, which also implies improving inspection oversight across the entire waste management chain.
“Operators see a solution to this problem in the establishment of a regulatory body that will be engaged, among other things, in inspection oversight. This regulatory body would be formed with a view to the same kinds of bodies that already exist in Austria and Germany. In Austria, this way for the system to function has proven very efficient, and that’s the reason we want to adapt it to our conditions of operating.”
VIOLETA BELANOVIĆ KOKIR, General Manager of Sekopak:
“Development of the system to date has been based primarily on the engagement of business, both the bonded and recycling industries. The law clearly defines that companies that place packaging on the market must ensure its collection in accordance with national reuse and recycling goals, which is an obligation they transfer to operators, while both bear the costs of legally defined sanctions in the event of a failure to fulfil this obligation. Such a mechanism for applying pressure doesn’t exist when it comes to local governments and public utilities companies.
Operators in the system are responsible for ensuring the collection of municipal packaging waste, but it is up to the state to impose the obligation of applying legislation in the field of waste management on local governments. It is for this reason that our initiative is directed not only towards the relevant ministry, but also towards the Ministry of State Administration and Local Self-Government.
“The Serbian Association of Packaging Waste Operators will intensify its activities in the period ahead, in order to reach all target groups in the chain of packaging waste management.”