Improving Poland’s recycling rates

I’m currently in the process of putting the finishing touches to our February 2023 issue of CanTech International, and keeping in the theme of our featured sustainability focus this month, I thought I’d share some deposit refund news out of Poland.

Retailer Carrefour Poland and the EKO-Punkt Packaging Recovery Organisation are partnering to trial a deposit refund system for plastic bottles and aluminium beverage cans. This, the organisations state, is an opportunity to increase the amount of waste recycled in Poland and to support the household budget of Poles in times of high inflation.

The trial will take place in ten Carrefour stores in the Silesian Voivodeship, and for each package returned, customers will receive PLN 0.15 in the form of vouchers which can be used immediately.

“Carrefour Polska, carrying out its commercial mission, actively works to improve the quality of the natural environment in Poland. Many of the initiatives we have implemented, such as the collection of returnable bottles without the need to show their purchase receipt, have been a stimulus for positive changes in our entire industry, and have allowed us to re-invigorate the circulation of returnable packaging on the Polish market,” said Justyna Orzeł, vice president of the management board and general secretary of Carrefour Poland.

She continued, “We are convinced that this solution will allow our customers to become even more involved in activities for a clean environment in our country and will have a tangible material dimension for them.”

According to the data of the Central Statistical Office of Poland in recent years, an average Pole produces over 350kg of waste per year. According to the Global Waste Index data published by Sensoneo in 2022 (based on data obtained in 2019), Poland was ranked 13th in the world in terms of the efficiency of municipal waste management. In Poland, about a quarter of waste (26.6 per cent) is recycled. The management of municipal waste will be of particular importance, because it is for this waste that the European Commission has approved a 65 per cent of waste recycling rate by 2035.

Following the growing climate challenges and changes in EU law, the Ministry of the Environment and Climate is currently working on legal regulations aimed at developing and implementing a new deposit-refund system in Poland.

It seems Poland still has a way to go for improving recycling rates, but these are all encouraging steps.

On a final note, I am hoping to see some of our readers and industry friends in the aerosol industry at ADF Paris next week, part of Paris Packaging Week at the Paris Expo Porte de Versailles (25-26 January). If you’d like to arrange to meet at the event, please drop me a message via the contact details below.

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