At least this was the feeling with which many of the participants left the round table "Romania - Horizon 2020: Packaging waste - Authorization and control procedures", organized by Ecologic magazine, under the patronage of the Ministry of Environment, Waters and Forests, on July 16 2015, in the Round Hall of the Intercontinental Hotel in Bucharest.
There are many problems that still exist in national waste management system. Many of these are known and communicated, others are known but few people, until recently, have openly discussed them. It took a unique initiative, but even more welcome, of the Ministry of Environment, Waters and Forests, for a good part of the organizations, institutions and companies involved in this system to gather and give voice to the problems and solutions envisaged, to to be debated publicly.
The general problem is a clear one and known by everyone connected to the waste management system: in 2020, Romania must prove the fulfillment of the recycling and recovery rates of the waste it has assumed, otherwise it is subject to very high financial penalties. . At the moment, the national recycling and recovery rate is one of the lowest in the European Union.
What prevents us from collecting, recycling and capitalizing?
The participants in the event, including the ECOTIC representatives, identified without hesitation two major system problems, generated from the center: one is related to the issuance of environmental permits to various operators in the flow of collection - recycling - recovery. These authorizations are issued in different conditions, in different locations, they can be easily falsified and thus they can bring major damages to the recycling and capitalization operators. Simply put, a recycling operator can only justify the amount of recycling for which he can prove the authorized origin. If the supplier's authorization is falsified or expired, the operators - and automatically the country-level reporting - lose a lot in the reported quantities, compared to the actual recycled ones.
The second problem is the impossibility of verifying, on official sources (web site of the Ministry of Environment), the environmental permits valid at a given moment. Representatives of central authorities have given assurances that an integrated computerized system will be ready by the end of the year, providing the public with this essential database for traceability and control of waste.
It is just one of the good news received at the round table. Another gratifying initiative, communicated by the Minister of Environment, Mrs. Gratiela Gavrilescu, present at the event, was the increase of the landfill tax starting with January 1, 2016, and its reworking from 2017. It is one of the simplest and most effective measures to discourages sanitation companies from doing only waste transport work, and not selective collection work, while protecting the cost paid by the population for sanitation services.
We welcome the initiative of the Ministry to set up a working group at ministerial level to develop clear, correct and simplified procedures for authorization, traceability and control in packaging waste management. We welcome the action team's guidance and we are glad that we participated in this event and were able to provide information and advice to affiliated producers.