Serbia has over 11,000 manufacturers and importers of products that turn into special waste streams after use, but only 49% of them have submitted annual reports to the competent institutions about the amounts sold in 2017. These reports are the basis for establishing and collecting fees for managing these products once they turn into waste. The products are frequently large and small household appliances, IT equipment, and other electrical and electronic goods.
Companies not paying the fee are unfair competitors for responsible businesses since the fee makes up over 10% of the final price of the product, a disadvantage for people who buy from conscientious vendors. Furthermore, the Serbian government budget is denied large sums that could be invested in improving the system for collecting and recycling waste.
“We must establish fair market conditions with comprehensive fee collection”, said Stanka Pejanović, NALED managing board member and managing director of Gorenje after a working meeting of NALED members and partners with the Minister of Environmental Protection Goran Trivan. “With the support of German Development Cooperation, NALED, Gorenje and Coca-Cola HBC Serbia have therefore initiated the project ‘Towards Improved Management of Electrical and Electronic Waste’. The goal is to improve the unified electronic registry of manufacturers and importers, and change procedures to improve the system of fee collection and the process of collecting waste in local governments.”
The Ministry of Environmental Protection is supporting the project, and an agreement to cooperate on it was signed at the event. Minister Trivan noted that waste management is the main priority of the Ministry, and the project will gather representatives of government, businesses, the civil sector and the academic community, and will use the experience of countries that are ahead of Serbia in this field.
“By signing this agreement we wish to improve the collection system”, said Trivan. “We are impatient to see the first results of the analysis to turn them into legislation and practice. We must provide all businesses with equal working conditions and the opportunity to do good business and provide jobs. There will be no more tolerance for those not paying the fees.”
Funds for the project ‘Towards Improved Management of Electrical and Electronic Waste’ have been provided by the German Development Cooperation and the companies Gorenje and Coca-Cola. It envisages improvements to the software for registering relevant companies and collecting fees, networking the sector institutions – the Ministry of Environmental Protection, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Customs Administration and inspections, and improving procedures and raising awareness on the importance of collecting and recycling electrical and electronic waste.
Reform the fee for improving the environment
During the meeting, members of NALED noted the need to amend fees for improving the environment when adopting laws on fees for the use of public goods. Since the present basis for calculating the fees consists of the surface area of real estate belonging to a company or its revenue, and not the emission of pollution, NALED believes it is currently a form of para-fiscal charge.