On 28 December 2012, the President signed the Waste Law of 14 December 2012. The Law will enter into force after 14 days of its announcement, except for a number of provisions with extended vacatio legis period. The Law implements the provisions of Directive 2008/98/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council on waste and a number of other specific directives on the waste management. Below we present a brief list of amendments introduced by the Law in comparison to the currently applicable Waste Act of 27 April 2011.


New regulations introduced by the Waste Law of 14 December 2012 include:

  • provisions relating to by-products and substances or objects which lost the status of waste;
  • exemption from the provisions of the Law of soil, including unexcavated contaminated soil and buildings permanently connected with the land, and uncontaminated soil and other naturally occurring materials excavated in the course of construction activities used for the purpose of construction on the site from which it was excavated;
  • definitions of notions: "waste dealer, "waste broker", "preparing for re-use" and "waste prevention";
  • extension of the definition of "waste management" and "waste holder" – by including waste transporters therein;
  • new rules in the procedure of re-classification of hazardous waste to waste other than hazardous;
  • rules of considering objects or substances to be by-products and regulation of handling of by-products;
  • criteria and cases in which waste can lose the status of waste;
  • modification of hierarchy of waste handling – extension by the process of preparing for re-use, as an activity having priority over the recycling processes;
  • guideline for considering re-use or preparing for re-use of waste as a criterion in public procurement;
  • ban on collection of mixed municipal waste and green waste, outside the region, specified in the voivodship municipal waste management plan where it was produced;
  • authorization for the minister responsible for environmental matters to issue a regulation specifying detailed requirements for waste transport, including means and manner of waste transport. The regulation is to set forth i.a. the manner of marking the means of waste transport;
  • provision indicating expressis verbis that storage is conducted only as a part of production, collection or treatment of waste which dispels any doubts relating to interpretation thereof on the basis of the current Act;
  • granting powers to the minister responsible for environmental matters to specify detailed requirements for waste storage;
  • extended regulation of the decision ordering to remove waste from a site not intended as a landfill for its deposit or storage (Art. 34 of the current Act)
  • authorization for the minister responsible for environmental matters to issue requirements for specific processing, except waste storage and thermal treatment of waste, as well as requirements for waste produced in such processes;
  • a permit for waste processing, according to new terminology introduced in a glossary to the Law will include activity consisting in waste recycling or treatment;
  • renouncing formal legal requirements connected with waste production (currently it is required to obtain a decision approving the hazardous waste management plan, a decision approving waste management plan or submission of information on produced waste and ways of the produced waste management);
  • obligation to attach a decision on environmental conditions to applications for a permit for waste processing or permit for waste collection;
  • a possibility to specify in a permit for waste processing for a new waste treatment facility operating conditions differing from the regular ones during a period needed for the facility start-up and achieving the production capacity;
  • introductions of a register of establishments or undertakings engaged on a professional basis in waste collection or transport, waste trading brokers or waste dealers, entities subject to the obligation of making an entry into the register will be required to file an application for registration within 6 months of the register creation, the register will be created within 36 months of the Law entry into force;
  • a regulation relating to creation and maintaining database on products, packaging and waste management, so –called BDO – which assumes extending the current data base (Integrated Waste System) with products and packaging launched onto the market and the waste generated thereby;
  • change of obligations in the scope of waste record keeping;
  • changes in the scope of technologies permissible for treatment of medical waste;
  • ban on storing waste at landfills;
  • change of regulation relating to an obligation to establish a security for claims in respect of adverse environmental effects and environmental damage in the meaning of the Act of 13 April 2007 on prevention and remedying environmental damage (Journal of Laws No. 75, Item 493, as amended) – the environmental protection authorities will be competent to establish such an instrument in a decision approving the rules of landfill operation;
  • introduction of a requirement to hold a legal title to the entire real estate and facilities of the landfill;
  • obligation of the landfill operator to open a rehabilitation fund where monies for performance of obligations in the post-operation stage connected with closing, rehabilitation, supervision (including security monitoring) will be gathered;
  • changes of procedures of waste extraction from landfill;
  • changes concerning classification of thermal treatment process;
  • changes in the scope of obligations of the incineration or co-incineration facility operator in the scope of handling waste remnants of the thermal treatment of hazardous waste;
  • extended regulations specifying the proceeding in the case of defaulting on obligations in the scope of thermal treatment of waste by the incineration or co-incineration facility operator;
  • change of determination of administrative penalties for breaches of the Law, in the majority of cases they are specified within a range from PLN 1,000 to PLN 1,000,000.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.