Fighting with plastic, the government will transfer costs and responsibility to customers. There will be a deposit for plastic bottles

The problem of stacks of plastics , which every day (optimistic variant) goes to rubbish or (realistic variant) to the bosom of nature is very serious, and the increasing pressures of pro-ecological environments cause that the matter finally begins to be dealt with by the legislator. In the case of Poland - who would be expecting! - creating a law that will not change anything.

The Polish government wants to show that it is doing something. That it stands a wall with WWF, Greenpeace, Ocean Conservancy and dozens of other organizations fighting against human immoderity in food and drink, as well as the global problem of hitting a plastic bottle into a suitable trash can.

Thus, in order to demonstrate, the Ministry of the Environment will introduce bail for plastic bottles and other packaging. As Minister of the Environment, Henryk Kowalczyk, convinces in the pages of Super Express , the bail is to encourage "to bring the bottle to the point of purchase or the machine and get back the money for it". Apparently, this is to ensure a more frequent return of the raw material for recycling.

He also adds that the ministry "wants to lead to a situation in which the introducing the packaging should pay for their disposal and for their collection".

The amount of the deposit per pack is ... 10 cents. In tandem, the bail will also come into force with the bail, but so far we do not know its amount. The fee is to apply from 2020 at the earliest .

A deposit for plastic bottles will change as much as a deposit for glass bottles. So - you guessed it - nothing.

Today, each bottle of beer has a bail of 50 PLN. So buying the proverbial brewery, we can receive half a zloty cashback, if you want to relate the bottle to the store while refilling stocks. We all know, however, that only the greatest connoisseurs of alcoholic liquors, especially those that can cost more or less as much as a bottle deposit, benefit from this opportunity.

Neighborhood cheeks can and bail encourages you to bring bottles, but for the average citizen those 50 gr. it is not worth the trouble to remember the bottles and devote time to the procedure.

And even if the deposit for glass bottles, which is five times more than the planned deposit for plastic packaging, does not encourage consumers to give bottles to collection points, how to encourage them to 10 gr. per pack?

In a similar way, the amount of bail will not kill any manufacturers, which the government wants to oblige in this way to utilize and collect their own garbage. They simply transfer the cost to the consumer, and he will bear it, for 10 gr. on the package it will not normally hurt him, just as it did not hurt him, for example, a recycling charge for disposable ones. Yes, the disposable prices have gone up. But it still does not bother us to buy them in alarming amounts.

We would have spoken in a completely different tone if, in addition to the bail proposal, there was a proposal on how to actually enforce bail.

The deposit for materials that can be recycled is a very good thing. Let's take Norway for example: recycling is subject to as much as 97 percent. plastic bottles, and the deposit is not common. There are also vending machines in which you can leave such bottles in exchange for the return of a deposit, depending on the size of the bottle. Automata of this type operate on every corner, especially at stores. There is no way to create a new store, next to which a recycling machine would not stand, which means that the habit of carrying empty bottles simply falls into the blood - you do not need to plan a trip to a special point, but you just need to take empty bottles with you when going to shopping.

The efficient operation of this mechanism involves all levels - from the government that sets the regulations, through corporations that have to adapt their products to the requirements of reprocessing, through stores that take an active part in the collection of bottles, to the consumer who receives a refund for fulfillment civil duty. In the case of companies, there are also tax breaks, the higher the products are recycled to a higher extent. This is an incentive for companies to also increase their efforts to recycle secondary raw materials and not just pass on their responsibility to the consumer.

Do not get it wrong - every initiative is needed. But environmental issues can not be dealt with by populism.

Let us not have any illusions. Any political group that will now be in the right of being an "eco" will score points among ecologically-conscious voters. So I expect that in addition to bail for bottles we will see other ideas, more or less ineffective.

Here, however, there is a need for comprehensive, far-reaching changes to the model of Norway and other countries that are better developed in this respect. A full package of proposals, not just one vile promise. It is not that in Poland this system would not work. On the contrary, he is already very much needed for us, as shown by, for example, the bottles of Żywiec Zdrój water . Already, 5-liter bottles are made of rPET material, 100 percent. from recycling. Why 5-liter, not the most popular 1.5-liter? Well, because in Poland there is no recyclable materials, and only 35 percent goes back to recycling. all plastic bottles.

For a good start, therefore, we need something different than bail for plastic bottles. We need the infrastructure to recycle and educate the public, because the situation in many places is dramatic.

Examples? Please, very much, from my own backyard - to the seaside resort, from which I come, in the summer season, average 100 thousand. people. In the off-season, the town has less than 5,000 souls, so the waste management infrastructure is quite modest, and unfortunately this also remains in the season when the population density increases 20 times.

Everyone who visited Łeba, Ustka, Międzyzdroje or any other seaside resort knows that in the morning beaches, streets and parks resemble the landscape after the battle. Garbage is everywhere. The trash cans arranged on the beaches every 100 m are filling up an hour after the first screens are set up. Segregation of rubbish? You can forget about it - plastics, glass and metals land in one sack. And this sack - on one dump.

Moreover, jansze business, which opens in its seaside towns its small fish fryers and other eatery-like foods, is even more likely to be polluted. Such premises generate huge amounts of garbage, and containers for their export cost from several dozen to even several hundred zlotys. I recommend visiting forests within a dozen or so kilometers of such a place, to see how many entrepreneurs, instead of paying for waste disposal, prefer to pay for a trailer and "manage" themselves.

Fortunately, it is getting better every year, and more cities are taking initiatives to prevent such activities and to encourage residents and tourists to segregate rubbish (and, first of all, to throw them into buckets, not onto the street or the beach). However, these are grassroots initiatives, resolutions of municipal and municipal councils. Not the ministry's resolution that we read about in Super Express. Thus, in Poland, recycling is suddenly 35 percent. plastic packaging . Apparently, by 2025, it is supposed to be as much as 90 percent, but how does the government want to convince Poles to segregate rubbish in such a short time if it is just now waking up that it is worth doing something with the problem? I have no idea.

It is also a fact that the transfer of responsibility to the consumer is unscaled.

The problem of increasing amounts of garbage will not disappear until they are produced. And in this matter, you can only partly blame the consumer - a much greater responsibility lies with the manufacturer who packages his product in this and not other packaging.

We can painfully pour coffee and water into reusable cups , exchange ear sticks and bamboo toothbrushes, or say "no" to disposable cutlery - as long as the suppliers will even wrap in plastic bags and tell us "take care of this plastic" , we have no chance to improve. Rubbish will not be sorted out if the corporation producing the most plastic waste in the world will send empty bottles to people as part of a clever marketing campaign.

And this is where the true potential for change lies. A change that state institutions are able to carry out by exerting pressure on corporations that provide products to consumers, and not by introducing bails that have no chance to change the behavior of consumers or the way the corporation works. It would be more effective here - as in Norway - to introduce tax breaks for those companies that are trying. And not charging them with further fees that companies will pass on to the consumer anyway.

It's nice that the government is trying to show that "something" is doing. Someone may even say that we wrongly criticize the idea of ​​bail for plastic packaging, because "you have to start with something", small steps to the goal ... But you do not ... Time for the method of small steps was 20 years ago Today, something is needed, much more, than 10 gr. from the bottle.

Fighting with plastic, the government will transfer costs and responsibility to customers. There will be a deposit for plastic bottles


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