Changes to the to the regulations governing producer responsibility regarding packaging and waste paper that have recently been made at EU level and implemented in Sweden aim to make it easier and cheaper for households to sort and recycle waste. In a society where more importance is being placed on creating a circular economy the goal to reduce the total environmental impact from recycling can only be a good thing. But what do the changes mean for producers of packaging and waste paper?
The transition to a circular economy is currently a hot topic within many branches not least the recycling industry. In Sweden a regulatory framework that governs producers responsibility is in place as laid out in the Swedish Environmental Code, the Waste Regulation (2011:927) and the regulation on producer responsibility for packaging (2018:1462) and the regulation on producer responsibility for waste paper (2018:1463), with the aim being to create an environmentally sustainable society. Within this framework the producer has a responsibility for their product that extends until after the consumers end use.
Changes in the regulations that govern packaging and waste paper, and more specifically the responsibilities of the producer within the process, were introduced into Swedish law and gained legal force on 1 January 2019. The changes adopted to the regulations broadly mean that as of January 1, 2021 60 percent of all residential properties should have access to a recycling system on, or in the vicinity of, the residential property. By April 1, 2025 the goal being that all residential properties in Sweden should be afforded this opportunity.
In line with the new regulations producers of packaging and waste paper will also be obliged to join a recycling collection system at their own cost or provide evidence that a third party who is licensed to deal with their waste packing or paper has been employed. Going forward, it is a stipulation of the new regulations that collection systems must obtain a permit to operate, with prerequisites being stipulated in both the regulation on producer responsibility for packaging (2018:1462) and the regulation on producer responsibility for waste paper (2018:1463). Permits can be applied for from January 1, 2020 and the new system will be operational as early as January 1, 2021.
It is also important to note that many of the new waste collection systems are likely to require some kind of permit in accordance with the Planning and Building Act, which in itself means that additional regulations must be taken into consideration.
Greater responsibility has been placed on the producers of packaging and waste paper which will mean tighter controls and greater responsibility regarding costs in the future.
Do you have any questions regarding producer responsibility or waste issues?
Pia Pehrson, Partner Foyen Advokatfirma
Sara Hedström, Paralegal Foyen Advokatfirma
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