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Environmental taxes and regulatory obligations

The Ministry of Climate and Environment has presented a bill that results from the obligation to implement the provisions of Directive (EU) 2019/904 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 5 June 2019 on the reduction of the environmental impact of certain plastic products on the environment into the Polish legal system. This bill will enter into force on 3 July 2021 and it should be assumed that the deadline will be met because of Poland’s obligations relating to transposing EU legislation into the Polish legal system.

The proposed regulations stipulate, among other things:

  • the introduction of an additional fee on selected single-use plastic packaging (cups for beverages and containers for meals), which would be paid by the entrepreneur running the retail, wholesale or catering outlet, but also in some instances by food producers;
  • the introduction of an obligation to appoint a representative in another EU Member State by legal persons that have their registered offices in Poland, and which sell single-use plastic products in that Member State. 

And these are only selected changes.

The obligation to account for an additional fee on single-use plastic packaging

According to the bill, retail and wholesale, as well as catering outlets will be obliged to pay a special fee on selected single-use plastic packaging. Unfortunately, there is no set list of goods/packaging covered by these regulations. It should be emphasized that the appendix to the bill lists only categories of packaging. These comprise: cups for beverages and containers for meals. It is not entirely clear what should be understood as a container for meals, but following the spirit of the directive, it should be concluded that it could be ordinary plastic packaging in which food is packed.

In addition, each entity will be obliged to keep records of packaging purchased and issued separately for each of its locations.

The fine for not collecting the said fee could range from PLN 500 to PLN 20,000 net. The failure to keep records will be fined accordingly.

Obligation to appoint a representative in another EU Member State 

The draft stipulates that legal persons with their registered offices in Poland, which sell single-use plastic packaging (for example, packets and wrappers for meals, below is an excerpt from the draft) in another Member State will be obliged to appoint their representative responsible for implementing the obligations following from the directive 2019/904 (the so-called SUP – Single Use Plastic Directive) in the territory of that Member State. The representative will be appointed by means of a contract concluded in writing, otherwise null and void.

The fine for failing to appoint such a representative can range from PLN 10,000 to PLN 100,000.

Obligation to provide information on achieving waste management targets

In addition, draft amendments to the Act on Waste Management were published which introduces, among other things:

- a definition of Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR), pursuant to which EPR is “a set of measures taken to ensure that entities introducing products, including packaged goods, to the market, take financial responsibility, or organizational and financial responsibility, at the stage of a product’s life cycle when it becomes waste.”

- the obligation to make information relating to the achievement of waste management targets public, including compliance with the principles specified in the bill, for example the use of self-control mechanisms, in particular audits of financial management aimed at the fulfilment of obligations, collecting data and preparing reports on the products launched on the market, and collecting and processing the waste from those products. Due to the fact that your company has been recognized as an entity that introduces packaged goods on the market, you will be obliged to prepare such information. 

The bill is to enter into force on 1 July 2021.

Capacity charges

As of 1 January 2021 a capacity charge of PLN 76.20 was imposed on electricity for each MWh consumed on business days between 7 am and 10 pm. The said charge has significantly burdened businesses as even without the charge, electricity prices are rising significantly year on year. In response to the demands submitted, the Ministry of Climate proposed a relief mechanism to reduce the charge which favours customers with a rather flat electricity consumption profile as they do not contribute significantly to the increase in peak hours.

The Ministry of Climate proposed dividing customers into four groups which will of course bear different capacity charges. So, according to the  bill the following groups of customers are specified:

  • end customer K1 – this is a customer in respect of which the difference in the average consumption of electricity between the hours covered by the capacity charge and those that are not covered by the capacity charge is less than 5%. These customers will receive the largest relief with respect to the capacity charge as they will pay 17% of the total costs of the capacity charge.

  • end customer K2 – this is a customer in respect of which the difference in the average consumption of electricity between the hours covered by the capacity charge and those that are not covered by the capacity charge is between 5% and 10%. These customers will pay 50% of the total costs of the capacity charge.

  • end customer K3 – this is a customer in respect of which the difference in the average consumption of electricity between the hours covered by the capacity charge and those that are not covered by the capacity charge is between 10% and 15%. These customers will pay 83% of the total costs of the capacity charge.

  • end customer K4 – this is a customer in respect of which the difference in the average consumption of electricity between the hours covered by the capacity charge and those that are not covered by the capacity charge is not less than 15%. With respect to these customers, the amount of the capacity charge will remain unchanged. 

Unfortunately, the bill differentiates between entrepreneurs who purchase high and medium voltage electricity. Therefore, those entrepreneurs who purchase high voltages will be able to take advantage of this relief from 1 January 2021, which means that they will be able to recover part of the costs related to the capacity charge. Entities using medium voltage electricity will be able to take advantage of the relief only as of 1 January 2022. However, it should be emphasized that currently this is only a draft regulation and it is worth trying to convince the Ministry of Climate that the principles for applying the relief should be standardized for all entrepreneurs by submitting respective demands.

The bill is to enter into force within 14 days of the date of the Act’s publication in the Journal of Laws.

 

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