Tax Sustainability Index

Poland: The Polish implementation of the “SUP Directive” enters into force

Key Facts

  • While the new law enters into force on 24 May 2023, the particular duties it imposes on business will be triggered gradually over the 2023 to 2025 period.
  • These duties concern mostly the placing on the market of plastic products or packaging.
  • To prepare for the changes, companies are advised to quickly review their business operations given the new duties and restrictions.

New Compliance Duties for Business

The Journal of Laws has published the Act of 14 April 2023 implementing Directive (EU) 2019/904 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 5 June 2019, called the Single-Use Plastics (SUP) Directive, which seeks to reduce the impact of certain plastic products on the environment.

While the new law enters into force on 24 May 2023, the particular duties it imposes on business will be triggered gradually over the 2023 to 2025 period. These duties concern mostly the placing on the market of plastic products or packaging, such as single-use plastic packaging, PET bottles, tobacco product filters containing plastic, plastic caps and lids, plastic cutlery, plates and straws, food or beverage containers (including cups) made of plastic or expanded polystyrene, and oxo-degradable plastics (including carrier bags).

Scope

The new regulations apply generally to businesses engaged in the importation, intra-Community acquisition or manufacture of such products who place them on the market, including those who place them on the market under their own sign (trade mark) or name, having had the products manufactured by some other undertaking. A foreign trader (residing outside Poland) who is professionally engaged in the sale of products in the territory of Poland may, for these purposes, appoint an authorised representative who must register in the Polish register of waste producers and waste management firms (the BDO Register) and will be responsible for compliance with the Polish requirements related to the placing on the market of its foreign principal’s products.

Main duties

Some of the duties imposed by the legislation implementing the SUP Directive are set out below.

From 1 January 2024, retail and food service businesses will be required to charge a fee to end-users purchasing single-use plastic products, such as beverage cups and containers for ready-to-eat food, for their own needs. The fee may not be higher than PLN 1 per piece.

From 1 July 2024, a trader operating a retail, wholesale or foodservice business will also be liable to ensure the availability of alternative packaging for those products, which are made of materials other than plastic, including other than biodegradable plastic, or the availability of reusable packaging.

From 1 January 2024, businesses placing on the market products such as:

  • food containers;
  • packets and wrappers containing food for immediate consumption;
  • beverage containers with a capacity of up to 3 litres;
  • beverage cups;
  • lightweight plastic carrier bags (below 50 micrometres in thickness);
  • tobacco product filters containing plastic;
  • wet wipes;
  • balloons;

will have to incur an annual fee of no more than PLN 0.20 per kilogram or PLN 0.03 per piece (as appropriate) for any such product placed on the market.

In accordance with the new law, the amounts above are maximum fee rates and may be lowered under secondary legislation.

Businesses placing on the market the products set out below are required to financially support public awareness campaigns. To this end, they will pay the following fees:

  • for tobacco product filters containing plastic – PLN 0.01 per 10 pieces;
  • for wet wipes, balloons, sanitary pads, tampons and tampon applicators – PLN 0.01 per 1 piece;
  • for lightweight plastic carrier bags (below 50 micrometres in thickness) – PLN 0.05 per 1 kilogram.

Those who place on the market products in single-use plastic bottles with a capacity of up to three litres (e.g. for water, juice, milk, yogurt, etc.) will have to meet specific content requirements for recycled plastic by weight (this will be 25% of recycled plastic from 2025 and 30% from 2030 in the case of beverage bottles manufactured with polyethylene terephthalate as the major component (PET bottles)) and have a required level of separate waste collection (77% from 2025 and 90% from 2029).

From 1 July 2024, caps and lids for plastic beverage containers of up to 3 litres will have to be permanently attached to those containers.

The new law also forbids the placing on the market of products made of oxo-degradable plastics (e.g. carrier bags) and single-use plastic products, such as cotton bud sticks, cutlery, plates, straws, beverage stirrers, balloon sticks, as well as food or beverage containers and beverage cups (including related caps and lids) made of expanded polystyrene.

The entities subject to the new law must apply for BDO registration within three months from its effective date, i.e. by 24 August 2023.

To prepare for the changes, companies are advised to quickly review their business operations given the new duties and restrictions; in particular, there are administrative penalties for non-compliance, which could be as high as PLN 500,000.

If this issue concerns your business and you are interested in our assistance, please contact your WTS&SAJA consultant.

May 26, 2023