Croatia

Croatia's Ordinance on Packaging and Packaging Waste is a broad-sweeping law that covers stewardship policies for all types of packaging materials. Beverage containers receive special consideration in the law, with their own fees and policies.

Law Summary Ordinance on Packaging and Packaging Waste
Date Implemented 2005
Beverages Covered All beverages (milk only in containers over .2 L)
Containers Covered Glass, PET, Al, Fe and tin
Refundable Deposits 0.5 HRK (Returnable fee)
Fees / Taxes Disposal fee: .10 HRK
Handling fee: .15 HRK
Recovery System Return to retail
Program Success Unavailable
Text of Law Provisional English Translation
Croatian Text

Details

Croatia's packaging ordinance covers "all packaging and packaging waste...used for containing, keeping, handling, delivery, and representation of goods, from raw material to final products, from manufacturer to users and consumers."1 This necessarily includes the containers used to hold beverages. While the law describes a detailed system for collecting and disposing of packaging waste, the information here will be limited mostly to the specific provisions for beverage containers.

Packaging manufacturers are required to produce reusable or recyclable packaging "pursuant to available technologies," and keep the levels of heavy metals in their packaging below a certain level. All producers that generate more than specified amounts of material are required to pay the expenses of collection, disposal, and recovery of their products' packaging. The ordinance requires all packaging material to be reused or recycled, except "packaging waste for which there are no conditions for recovery, pursuant to the Waste Act and regulations adopted on the basis of this Act."5

The system sets up an "Environmental Protection and Energy Efficiency Fund, which is a legal person with public authority and which conducts activities related to management of packaging and packaging waste pursuant to this Ordinance and to the Waste Act."

Unlike a traditional deposit system, the system created by the packaging ordinance operates on fees. Producers pay a variety of fees in to the Fund when placing packaging on the market: a disposal fee, a returnable fee, and a stimulative fee. Consumers do not pay a deposit on beverage containers, but they do receive compensation from sellers when they return the empty containers. Sellers who handle beverage containers are also required to take back packaging for other products that they sell. Smaller stores (under 200 square meters) are not obligated to take back packaging. Sellers must report on the materials collected and refunds given every quarter, and are compensated from the Fund. Sellers pass on the collected packaging material to authorized transporters/processors, and the Fund compensates these collectors.

Fees

Every quarter, beverage producers must pay three fees on the containers they introduce into the market: the Returnable fee, the Disposal fee, and the Stimulative fee.

Single-use beverage containers carry a "Returnable fee." This fee is initially paid to the Fund by producers who first place packaging on the market. Reusable containers (that actually get returned) are exempt from this fee. Manufacturers must pay only for the new amount of packaging placed on the market minus the amount of old packaging delivered directly to the recycling factory. Producers who organize the collection of their own materials, and collect more than 50% of what they put on the market, are exempt from this fee.2 However, if they fail to meet that threshold, then they lose the right to collect their own packaging, and the responsibilities fall to the Fund. The ordinance states, "the expenses of this fee are of temporary character and are returned to the producer following the selling of the product," but does not specify the process by which the fees are returned.7

They must also pay a nonrefundable "disposal fee." While other packaging types' disposal fee varies by material and volume, the fee for beverage containers is a uniform 0.10 HRK per unit. Reusable packaging is not subject to this fee.

Additionally, producers that do not sell reusable containers are required to pay a "Stimulative fee," to encourage the producer to use multiple usage, returnable packaging. Each type of packaging has a National Target of share of returnable packaging (see below). Once a producer has sold a sufficient proportion of any given type of container for multiple use in the previous year, then the stimulative fee no longer needs to be paid for that container that year. "Small producers," defined in the Act as those who put less than a certain mass of container material on the market per year, are not required to pay the stimulative fee.

Stimulative Fees
Material Volume Stimulative Fee (HRK/unit)
GLASS &
PET
up to 0.25 0.3
0.25-0.5 0.5
0.5-1.5 0.7
more than
1.5
1.0
Al-Fe cans all 1.0

The fee schedule described in the act is only in effect until the "Framework Target" (see below) is reached. At that point, a more traditional deposit-refund system may be implemented.

Sellers who collect packaging from consumers and in turn give it to a recovery and disposal company are entitled to a fee of .15 HRK per container, paid from the Fund. This compensation is only available to sellers who sort their returned packaging material by type (glass, paper, etc.) "The right to compensation...shall have the seller who does not calculate own margin to the amount of stimulative fee."3 This amount is not referred to as a handling fee, but it seems to serve the same purpose as the handling fee in many other systems. Sellers are also refunded the full amount of the returnable fee.

The Fund also compensates those who are authorized to collect and store empty containers in the amount of 20 HRK per ton.

Compensation is also paid from the fund to those who transport empty containers:6

  • 100 HRK/t for transportation distances of up to 100 km
  • 200 HRK /t for transportation distances of 100 – 200 km
  • 300 HRK /t for transportation distances of 200 – 300 km
  • 400 HRK /t for transportation distances greater than 400 km
  • 225HRK/t for transportation of paper

Targets

Framework Target4

  • 55% of mass of recycled packaging waste by 31 December 2008,
  • 80% of mass of recycled packaging waste by year 2015, and from that recycled
  • at least 60% of mass of each packaging material contained in packaging waste except wood.
Annual Targets, Share of returnable packaging (%)
Type of Products 2005 2006 2007 2008 2011 2012 2013
Wine 10 10 15 25 40 50 60
Beer 55 65 70 75 80 85 90
Juice 10 10 15 25 40 50 60
Mineral water 10 10 15 25 40 50 60
Other Non-alcoholic drinks 10 10 15 25 40 50 60
Milk 0 0 5 15 30 40 60

Issues and improvements

In January to October 2006, the Fund paid out significantly more money than it received in fees, leaving it with a deficit of over 41 million Euros. The deficit is largely due to the Fund's failure to enforce Stimulative fees.8 Additionally, because the system does not require labeling of containers, fraudulent returns (of containers bought in other countries and even of containers manufactured specifically to return for the fee, which is more than the cost of manufacture).9

Suggested improvements for the packaging collection system include:8

  • Applying the system to PET packaging for more food items
  • Including additional types of plastic in the system, to cover more of the total amount of municipal waste
  • Stimulation systems for paper and wood recycling, as the fees manufacturers currently pay are not sufficient to cover recycling costs.

Footnotes

Unless otherwise noted in footnote, all information contained on this page is sourced from the ORDINANCE ON PACKAGING AND PACKAGING WASTE. Provisional English Translation. http://www.mzopu.hr/doc/Ordinance_on_packaging_and_packaging_waste_OG_97-05.pdf. Accessed April 26, 2011

2. Article 18, Paragraph 2

3. Article 25, Paragraph 4

4. Article 27

5. Article 22, Paragraph 2

6. Article 25, Paragraphs 7-8

7. Article 12

8. Marijan Galovic. Croatian Packaging Ordinance Case Study. (Unpublished report).

9. Maria Elander, Deutsche Umwelthilfe. Personal communication. May 2011.

Updated May 27, 2011

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