Law no. 249/2015 regarding the management of packaging and packaging generated waste

On the 30th October 2015, Law no. 249/2015 regarding the management of packaging and packaging generated waste ("Law") was published in the Official Gazette, Part I, no. 809.

The Law provides certain obligations for suppliers of packaging materials, manufacturers of packaging and packaged products, importers, retailers, distributors and public authorities, regarding the manufacturing, labeling, collecting and recycling of packaging.

The Law transposes the provisions of Directive no. 94/62/CE of the European Parliament and of the Council, from 20th December 1994, regarding packaging and packaging generated waste.

A package is defined by the Law as any object, regardless of the materials it is comprised of or its nature, with a function in retaining, protecting, handling, distributing and presenting products, from raw materials to processed goods, from manufacturer to user or consumer. Non-returnable objects fulfilling the same function are also considered to be packaging.

The Law contains provisions regarding:

  1. Base criteria for designating an object as packaging.
  2. Annual objectives, at a national level, regarding the recovery, incineration or recycling of packaging generated waste and the responsibilities of economic operators which place packaged products on the market, for the packaging generated waste.
  3. The publishing of a list containing all the economic operators mentioned at point 2 above, on the Environment Fund Administration’s official homepage.
  4. The obligation for economic operators that purchase packaging or packaged products directly from the economic operators mentioned at point 2 above, to ensure that the latter are registered on the list mentioned at point 3 above.
  5. The obligation for economic operators which sell products to final consumers through sale units with medium and large surface areas, according to Government Ordinance no. 99/2000, to ensure that the customers are able to dispose of the packaging from purchased products, without any additional costs.
  6. The maximum amount for concentration levels for lead, cadmium, mercury and hexavalent chromium present in packaging and its components.
  7. Prohibiting the conditioning, under any form, of the customer’s legal rights regarding the purchased products, on keeping the packaging.
  8. Granting priority, when purchasing goods using public funds, to products made from recycled materials or with packaging made from recycled materials.
  9. The definition of "placing on the national market of a product" has been redefined as "the supply made by a legal person established in Romania for the first time, of a product for distribution, consumption or use on the national market during a commercial activity, for consideration or free of charge."

In case of products sold directly to end users in Romania by a producer established in another Member State of the European Union, placing on the market is made by itself, if registered in Romania, or by its authorized representative established in Romania.

Examples for packaging were extended to: refillable steel cylinder, matchboxes, sterile barrier systems, beverage system capsules which are left empty after use, cake doilies sold with a cake, rolls, tubes and cylinders around which flexible material is wound, CD spindles, clothes hangers (sold with a clothing item), plastic foil for cleaned clothes in laundries.

Economic operators who take over the responsibility and do not fulfill the recovery and recycling objectives established by law for 2 consecutive years, will have their operating license annulled starting the date that it was ascertained that the obligations were not met.

Economic operators which manufacture products that are packaged using reusable packaging have the following obligations:

  • To utilize a system of marking and identifying packaging, according to Annex no. 3 of the present Law;
  • To write „reusable packaging” on the packaging or label of the product;
  • To organize a collection system, through the economic operators that sell the products or through specialized collection centers;
  • To ensure an optimal distribution and an adequate capacity for the collection centers;
  • To inform consumers about the packaging storage and collection centers;
  • To inform retailers and consumers about any packaging that will no longer be reused and to continue to provide collection for said packaging for a period of 6 months starting from the date when it is no longer reused.

Failure to comply with the provisions of the Law is subject to fines between RON 2,000 and 25,000.

In this regard we recommend that companies consider whether the packaging placed on the market is subject to contributions to the Environmental Fund, considering that the new law appeared in the context of this years’ multiple controls from the Environmental Fund Administration.