Changes in packaging accounting
- Change in classification of metal packaging. In the future it is required to classify metal packaging into two categories: ferrous metal and non-ferrous metal (aluminium). As fiscal year 2021 is already underway, it is required to start differentiation of the different types of packaging for the purpose of packaging reports in year 2022, and the data shall be submitted into the packaging register in year 2023.
- Changes in reporting data to the packaging register (related to the development works of the packaging register and changes in the basic regulation of the packaging register that shall be established after the changes in the Packaging Act have become effective):
- Information about the toxicity or hazardousness of the packaging material shall be submitted to the packaging register if the thresholds established in § 14 of the Packaging Act are exceeded. Pursuant to § 14 section 1 of the Packaging Act, the total content of heavy metals lead, cadmium, quicksilver and hexavalent chromium in a packaging and packaging ingredients may not exceed 100 mg/kg. The said information shall be first submitted to the register in year 2022;
- When submitting data to the packaging register, sales packaging shall be differentiated from the transport and group packaging in the quantity of packaging placed on the market. The data shall be first submitted to the register in year 2023 for the reporting period of year 2022.
- In regard to reusable packaging, data about the quantities of reusable packaging first placed on the market shall be submitted to the register (in addition to the current quantities of reusable packaging withdrawn from circulation), as well as information about the average annual number of times in circulation (i.e. the average number of times reusable packaging is reused in one year). The new accounting method shall have to be followed as of year 2022, and the data shall be submitted to the packaging register for the first time in year 2023;
- For companies who have effective agreements with recovery organisations but have not placed any packaging on the market in the reporting period, information shall be submitted to the packaging register that the company had no packaging-related operations in the given period;
- New terms for submitting data. A report on packaging and recovery certificates shall be submitted to the packaging register latest by March 31st (for the first time in year 2022). An audited report shall be submitted latest by September 1st;
- In the future, the names of the shareholders and members of recovery organisation and packaging companies who have concluded an agreement with a recovery organisation, commercial register codes, number of agreement concluded with a recovery organisation and validity period shall be entered into the packaging register;
- In the future, the following data shall be published in the packaging register: names and commercial registry codes of the shareholders and members of recovery organisation and packaging companies who have concluded an agreement with a recovery organisation. Information on achievement of the target figures of waste management by a packaging company and recovery organisation shall also be published.
Service fees of recovery organisations
A recovery organisation shall also ensure that the calculation of service fee for a packaging company considers the durability of products, possibility for repairs, reusability and recyclability and existence of dangerous substances, relying on the approach based on life cycle. It means that a recovery organisation can consider the recyclability of materials when creating their price list and establish fees corresponding to the types of material. For example, different service fees may be established for HDPE, PET, aluminium, glass, etc.
Changes in the requirements to audits
Due to a requirement based on the Waste Framework Directive, the purpose of audit is expanded. As of 15.05.2021, an audit includes inspections of both the data submitted to the packaging register and the financial management of a packaging company and recovery organisation. The requirement shall apply to the report for year 2020 that is submitted to the packaging register. Detailed requirements have been provided in Packaging Act § 241
Several mitigations are applied in comparison to the current audit requirements:
- The threshold for audit will change. A report on packaging shall have to be audited in the future in the event that the quantity of packaging placed on the market exceeds 20 tons per annum (currently, the obligation applied if at least 5 tons of packaging were placed on the market). The mitigation shall also apply to the report for year 2020 that shall have to be submitted to the packaging register latest by September 1st, 2021;
- Exemption from audit shall be established for three years. The above mitigation shall become effective as of the audit of the report for 2020, which has been completed considering the requirements of the law that will become effective as of 15.05.2021 (including the completion of a financial management audit). In the event that the audit summary has been submitted without modifications (i.e. without remarks), the packaging company shall complete the following audit for the data of year 2024;
- In justified cases, the Environmental Board has a right to request the completion of an audit at the expense of a packaging company or a recovery organisation. The Environmental Board shall only use the right in the event of well-founded suspicion in the course of a surveillance procedure and shall do so through a carefully considered and justified administrative act.
Changes in the guarantee deposit system
Packaging companies will have a voluntary possibility to apply a guarantee deposit also to the single use packaging and reusable packaging of strong alcoholic beverages, low-alcohol beverages and syrup.
New target numbers for recycling of packaging waste
- Latest by December 31st, 2025, at least 65% of the total weight of packaging waste shall be recycled;
- Latest by December 31st, 2030, at least 70% of the total weight of packaging waste shall be recycled;
- Latest by December 31st, 2025, a packaging company shall recycle different types of packaging materials in one calendar year at least in the following extent:
- Plastic – 50 percent;
- Wood – 25 percent;
- Ferrous metal – 70 percent;
- Aluminium – 50 percent;
- Glass – 70 percent;
- Paper and cardboard – 75 percent.
- Latest by December 31st, 2030, a packaging company shall recycle different types of packaging materials in one calendar year at least in the following extent:
- Plastic – 55 percent;
- Wood – 30 percent;
- Ferrous metal – 80 percent;
- Aluminium – 60 percent;
- Glass – 75 percent;
- Paper and cardboard – 85 percent.
The target numbers for recycling of packaging waste are minimum requirements that must be achieved.
For packaging companies located outside Estonia who place their products on the market in Estonia, a requirement shall be established to appoint an authorised representative through whom the packaging company shall fulfil their legal obligations based on the principle of extended producer responsibility. Information about the authorised representative of the packaging company shall be submitted to the packaging register.
Changes in consumer information
In the future, in addition to information about the collection location a packaging company selling packaged goods to an end user or consumer shall also provide information on prevention of waste and littering.
Recovery organisations shall draw attention to the prevention of waste and littering when informing the public and consumers.
Changes in organisation of packaging waste disposal
The change of the Waste Act creates a possibility for a department of local municipality to organise the collection of packaging waste from the place of origin. A department of local municipality may do it by agreement with recovery organisations. It means that detailed terms are agreed between the recovery organisation(s) and the department of local municipality. It is important that recovery organisations are ensured an opportunity to participate in organisation of recovery of packaging waste proportionally to their market share, and based on the Packaging Act, with the consent of the local municipality, a recovery organisation may reduce the density of public packaging waste collection places and the number and size of containers proportionally to the number of people who have subscribed to the collection of packaging waste from the place of origin. If an agreement with recovery organisations cannot be reached, packaging waste shall be collected both from the place of origin and through the public collection network. If the local municipality has organised collection of packaging waste from the place of origin pursuant to the Waste Act, § 31 section 5 or § 66 section 2, and more than 0.30 EUR is collected from the waste holder as a fee for the packaging waste collection service from the place of origin per one collection, the waste holder shall not have to subscribe to the service under organised waste collection. It is important that in the event of a higher service fee a waste holder has a right to decide and a choice whether to use the service of packaging waste collection from the place of origin for a respective fee or take the packaging waste to a public packaging waste collection place.