2000 percent raise? Beverage producers protest
Organizations representing entrepreneurs from the industry marketing beverages are protesting against a drastic increase to cover the costs of managing waste from single-use plastic products and the creation and maintenance of public collection systems for this waste. "There is no justification for the current proposal of the Ministry of Climate and Environment, in which, after only three months, the rate was increased by 2000% - Agnieszka Maliszewska, general director of the Polish Chamber of Milk.
Organizations representing entrepreneurs from the industry marketing beverages (including milk drinks, waters and juices) strongly protest against - as it was written in the communiqué of the Polish Food Producers Association - "an unjustified twenty-fold increase in relation to the originally proposed by the Ministry of Climate and Environment increase in the fee to cover the costs management of waste generated from single-use plastic products and the creation and maintenance of public collection systems for this waste.
In connection with the submission of draft regulations for consultation on the act implementing Directive 2019/904 on the reduction of the environmental impact of certain plastic products (SUP) into Polish law, organizations are protesting against the unjustified twenty-fold increase in the rate of the annual fee that companies introducing beverages market (including water, juices and milk drinks) in plastic containers with a capacity of up to 3 liters. "The practice of such a drastic increase in the fee rate in relation to the rate proposed during the processing of the bill in the Sejm should be considered unacceptable," write PFPŻ representatives.
They believe that the rate of PLN 0.20 per kilogram currently proposed by the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage in relation to the originally proposed annual fee of PLN 0.1 per kilogram for all disposable plastic beverage packaging placed on the market has no substantive justification and contradicts the opinion of the Ministry Climate and Environment attached to the draft act in February 2023, included in the Regulatory Impact Assessment, that a fee of PLN 0.1 per item or, respectively, per kg of a single-use product, referred to in Appendix No. 9 to the Act, will allow for proper management of waste generated from these products, thus reducing environmental pollution, in particular the marine environment.”
The proposed increase may hit dairy producers hard. Hence such strong comments from the Polish Chamber of Milk, associating entities operating in this industry. - There is no justification for the current proposal of the Ministry of Culture and Environment, in which the rate was increased by 2000% after only three months. This raises serious doubts as to the legitimacy of the currently proposed rate and raises the suspicion that it was set arbitrarily, using unknown "estimates" of the Institute of Environmental Protection-PIB. There is absolutely no consent from the dairy industry to such rates, says Agnieszka Maliszewska, director general of the Polish Chamber of Milk.
- Such a large difference between the proposal developed for the purposes of proceedings in the Sejm and the current draft of the regulation raises serious doubts as to the reliability of the information provided by the Ministry of Culture and Environment, on the basis of which both the Sejm and the Senate made the decision to pass the act - stresses Andrzej Gantner, vice-president of the Polish Federation of Producers Food Workers' Union.
The low fee of PLN 0.1 per kg of introduced packaging was to compensate entrepreneurs for the fact that it covered all plastic beverage packaging introduced to the market, despite the fact that only some of them are actually collected from public areas and cause real costs for public waste collection systems.
Unforeseen, drastic increase in costs
- The increase in the rate by 2000% proposed by the Ministry of Culture and Environment in the draft regulation will result in a drastic, unplanned increase in costs on the side of entrepreneurs from January 1, 2024, with the simultaneous highly unfair taxation of this part of the packaging that is not and will not be collected in any way in public collection systems, that is, they should not be subject to a fee, states Andrzej Gantner.
- Such a high proposed increase in the rate in relation to the originally assumed proves that entrepreneurs were misled in the process of consulting the act, and the act itself was used to introduce another tax, which has no real justification or in the amount of bottles collected in the public collection of drinks nor the actual costs of this collection - believes Dariusz Lizak, president of the National Chamber of Commerce, the Bottling Industry.
The organizations are of the opinion that instead of burdening entrepreneurs with unjustified cost increases, the government should implement tools to the legal order to fulfill the obligations set out in the SUP Act in the field of collection and use of recyclate. Such a tool is the deposit-refund system, which the beverage industry has been calling for for two years. The deposit-refund system guarantees very high levels of beverage packaging collection, reaching up to 98%. This will solve the problem of collection costs from public areas, because the packaging will simply not be there.
- Unfortunately, the appeals of entrepreneurs to refer the law on the deposit-refund system to be processed and passed in the Sejm this term. In the absence of the act on the deposit-refund system, the implementation of the obligations arising from the SUP Act may turn out to be very expensive in Poland, or even impossible to implement - states Andrzej Gantner. - Polish entrepreneurs, unlike their competitors from many other EU countries that have introduced deposit-refund systems, will incur penalty fees for unrealized collection levels and high prices of recyclate, and additionally the same packaging will be taxed with a high fee for collection costs in public systems under the SUP Act . This means double taxation of the same packaging, which will lead to both a drastic increase in the prices of beverages (including water, juices and milk drinks) and, as a result, reduce the competitiveness of a significant part of enterprises - emphasizes the vice-president of PFPŻ ZP.