Recycling waste electronic equipment

Current legal and environmental requirements

Over the past year, photovoltaic capacity in Poland has doubled and exceeded 10.2 GW, passing the government’s recently enacted 2040 target as early as mid-2022. While desirable for many reasons, such a rapid increase in the number of photovoltaic installations comes with an intensification of legal issues notably related to the management of used photovoltaic panels.

Following EU directives, Poland is bound to achieve a 55% recycling rate by 2025. These rulings have a direct impact on the day-to-day duties of businesses. Above all, it is the responsibility of every entrepreneur to ensure the recycling of waste the same kind as the products it introduces. Then there may also be detailed requirements for certain industries, which is the case especially for photovoltaic panels, being electro-waste and thus requiring a special and qualified legal approach.

The current methods for calculating the minimum annual collection rate for electronic waste are primarily complicated, as well as inadequate for longer-lived hardware such as photovoltaic panels. To this end, legislative amendments are underway, but even when they prove to be partially helpful, in practice the ever-changing regulations are always to some extent problematic for business.

Legislative changes under way

Poland is currently discussing the adoption of a draft regulation to specify the method and detailed manner of calculating the minimum annual level of waste equipment which must be collected. This draft regulation forms part of a broader approach to regulating the collection of waste electronic equipment by producers and aims to separate photovoltaic panels as a specific category of electrical hardware, for which recycling levels will be calculated under a new regime. The changes, expected to come into effect at the beginning of 2023, are also likely to affect contracts already in place. This issue is problematic for some producers.

Our support

Generally, waste management is not easy, and the potential income from its sale does not compensate for the effort and funds needed to ensure full compliance with the challenging regulations. It is worth considering the use of professional legal advice in order to fully concentrate on the purely business side of your company.

While the legislative process remains ongoing, it is possible to participate in it by submitting comments (via social organisations) and influencing the direction of future legal reforms (by discussing proposed solutions directly with decision-makers).

  • Waste no time on waste. SSW’s experienced team will take care of your company’s waste law issues comprehensively, including hazardous waste, municipal waste, packaging waste and electro or photovoltaic waste. We are highly experienced in analyzing compliance with waste legislation, drafting and negotiating contracts on waste and representing clients before public administration authorities or courts.
  • Turn your waste into money. Fortunately, for some waste it is possible to get it treated as a by-product, which allows the entrepreneur to significantly reduce fees and to utilize or sell the material in avoidance of the rigorous conditions for waste management. Our environmental team is capable of successfully handling the administrative procedure for obtaining a decision to classify waste as a manufacturing by-product. One man’s waste is another man’s treasure. With a little of our help, it’s you who can have both.
  • Embrace change. We at SSW understand that problems often need to be addressed at the source and on the highest level. We will not only provide you with seamless legal services up to date and solutions tailored to the changing law, but we are also able to represent your interests in the legislative process and actively influence the development of future regulations. We maintain regular contact with lobbying organizations involved in legislation and prepare specialized legal reviews.

Contact us – Anita Palukiewicz and Tomasz Pietrzyk.

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