Saturday, 13 April 2013

What a lot of rubbish

Suddenly it's spring. This time last week, there was snow on the ground. Today as I write it's sunny, +16C. At this time year, a middle-aged man's thoughts turn to cleaning the garage, so with Eddie, we sorted out the rubbish that has been accumulating over the snowy months. We segregate waste into paper, cardboard, tins (steel and aluminium), plastic and glass. There's money to be had for the first four categories. Filling the back of the Yaris, we set off for the Punkt Skupu Surówców Wtórnych (recycling point) on ul. Cynamonowa, where the rubbish shown below earned us 14.61zł. Not bad, given that I'd have had to have paid 36zł to have it taken away, so I'm 40zł up on the deal.

But things are changing, and surprisingly for Poland, not for the better.

A new law has been passed, ill-considered and poorly drafted, the result of which means that instead of households making their own arrangements with private companies, they will be forced to pay 89zł to the local authority to take their rubbish away.

For us, this is an extra monthly outgoing of 53zł. Our rubbish is collected by a Piaseczno-based company, Eko-Standard, every other week. They collect everything that can't be recycled or composted. Typically this is mixed waste, contaminated with uncompostable food scraps, Tetrapak cartons (a laminate of card, aluminium and plastic), and in total is about one quarter of our refuse.

The authorities explain the new law as being a) the product of EU Directives aimed at limiting landfill as a form of waste disposal and b) stopping Pan Heniek and Pan Ziutek dumping their household waste in the forests. The new law does neither, it flies in the face of common sense and needs radical re-drafting before coming into force on 1 July.

Listen here to the debate last night in the Ursynów town hall (in Polish). The authorities have tried hard to spin the new law in positive light, but the people of Ursynów are having none of it.

The changes in the law are unfair to those householders who've been playing by the rules and unfair to private-sector companies that have invested in facilities for waste segregation. Fight to preserve the status quo brothers and sisters!

This time last year:
Painting the Forum Orange

This time four years ago:
That's what I like about the North


White Horse Pilgrim said...

The news here in Britain is running a story about how private waste disposal companies have been baling household rubbish in big plastic rolls that look exactly like farm silage or hay. Then they dump these in remote fields by the hundred for the local council to clear up months later when the scam has been discovered. Has this happened yet in Poland?

Bob said...

Hi Michael - agree that the whole process of complying with EU regs has become a typical 'Polish' balagan!

As you sit back - what would your suggestion be as a new local regulation to comply with what is needed?


Michael Dembinski said...


Not yet - we don't have big plastic rolls for farm silage or hay in any large numbers.

@ Bob

We'll be holding an event on this subject with lawyers (White & Case) and advisers (Deloittes) so I hope I will be able to post the suggested changes here soon! :)

Bob said...

Thanks Michael - very interested to see how this plays out. In most 'civilized' countries a contract is bid based on # residences and some projected volume. Then once accepted, the total is divided based on a formula that either apportions an equal amount to each residence or related to each residence's assessed valuation. The second is best as it charges a higher value residence higher than a lower one.

The way things seem to be going here is that there may be a fee 'per occupant' - that is just going to create more bureaucracy and opens the door to Polish 'Kobinowanac'

Not sure why the Poles always seem to reinvent the wheel.