On 2 November 2021 a new Ordinance on reduction of the impact of certain plastic products on the environment (the “Ordinance”) was published in the State Gazette. The Ordinance transposes into the Bulgarian legislation the requirements of Directive (EU) 2019/904 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 5 June 2019 on the reduction of the impact of certain plastic products on the environment.
The measures which should be implemented by producers, importers, distributors of certain plastic products, as well as by food traders, are aimed at reducing the impact of certain plastic products on the environment and promoting a transition to a circular economy through innovative and sustainable business models, products and materials.
Some of the provisions of the Ordinance are already effective as of 6 November 2021, while other measures will be applicable as of different dates in the coming years.
The major measures envisaged by the Ordinance are as follows:
- Certain single-use plastic products are prohibited from being placed on the market such as forks, knives, spoons, chopsticks, plates and others, as well as products made from oxo-degradable plastic.
- Lightweight plastic carrier bags with a wall thickness below 25 microns are also prohibited from being placed on the market.
- Producers, importers and distributors placing on the market wet wipes, tobacco products and other products should mark their products with conspicuous, clearly legible and indelible marking on the packaging or on the product itself informing consumers of the appropriate waste management options for the product or waste disposal methods to be avoided for the product, the presence of plastics in the product and the resulting negative impact on the environment. The marking shall not be required for packaging with a surface area of less than 10 cm2.
- Producers and in certain cases distributors of certain single-use plastic products listed in the Ordinance have to apply extended producer responsibility measures. The measures include implementation of awareness raising measures, payment of a product fee for certain products, etc.
- As of 1 January 2022 producers of beverage bottles with a capacity of up-to three liters, with certain exceptions, should establish systems for separate collection of the waste generated by said products. Any such systems have to include placing containers for separate collection on squares, parks or other public places, etc. Producers also have to achieve targets for separate collection and recycling of the waste from the placed products, starting from 30% as at the end of 2022 and gradually increasing up to 90% as at the end of 2029.
- As of 1 September 2022 any person placing certain plastic products on the market such as food containers, beverage containers with a capacity of up to three liters, cups for beverages, lightweight plastic carrier bags with a wall thickness below 50 microns and other products, has to apply for registration at the public register of the persons placing packaged goods on the market maintained by the Executive Environment Agency. The application for registration has to be submitted within one month of commencement of activity.
- As of 1 January 2023 food traders using single-use cups for beverages and food containers for consumption at the point of sale to the final consumers have to apply measures for reduction of their usage. Any such measures shall include placement at a visible place of a plate containing information to the consumers on the unit price of the mentioned plastic products, their negative impact on the environment, etc. As of 1 January 2023 consumers should pay a price specified by the Ordinance for any such products, the amount of which will gradually increase until 2027.
- As of 3 July 2024 beverage containers with a capacity of up to three liters (with certain exceptions) that have caps and lids made of plastic may be placed on the market only if the caps and lids remain attached to the containers during the products’ intended use.
How can we help?
The team of KPMG remains at your disposal for any inquiries or need of assistance you may have related to the interpretation and application of the new Ordinance.