Clear goals have been set at the level of the European Union so that all member countries can progress together in encouraging producers to ensure that products and packaging are suitable for recycling, reuse and that the amount of materials used is as small as possible – zero waste. One approach to environmental protection aimed at reducing the overall impact of products and their packaging on the environment is Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR), whose strategy is to ensure that producers take responsibility (both physical and financial) for the entire life cycle of their products. In order to properly close such a cycle, it is necessary to fulfill the local legal obligations of the producers and to clarify the roles and responsibilities of the various participants.
The Waste Management Act (OG 84/2021) prescribes measures to prevent the production of packaging waste and encourages the reuse of packaging, recycling and other forms of recovery of packaging waste and the reduction of the amount of final disposal of such waste as a contribution to the circular economy. Product producer’s obligations are listed in: Chapter X. Extended Producer Responsibility; Article 91 – Obligations of the product producer, Article 92 – Other obligations of the product producer.
In accordance with the Law, the producer of the product from which waste is generated, that is, the producer of waste, bears the costs of managing that waste. In doing so, the principles of environmental protection prescribed by the Law are respected, as well as the “polluter pays” principle.
Anyone who produces, imports or markets packaging in Croatia is considered a producer.
Packaging is any product made of any material of any kind intended for closure, protection, handling, delivery and presentation of goods, from raw materials to processed goods, from the producer to the consumer.
The packaging waste management system is charged for and managed by a Fund (Environmental Protection and Energy Efficiency Fund). The Ordinance on Packaging and Waste Packaging (OG 88/15, 78/16, 116/17, 14/20, 144/20) prescribes the producer the obligation to fulfill the goals in the management of waste packaging in proportion to the amount of packaging from products that he has placed on the market by paying a management fee to the account of the Fund, in the manner prescribed by the Regulation. The above refers to packaging that generates non-hazardous waste, for which the Fund assumes obligations, while the Fund does not assume obligations for hazardous waste, and the producers of such waste independently bear the necessary actions for its disposal. The provisions apply to all packaging placed on the market and all packaging waste used or accumulated in industry, commerce, services, households or other sources, regardless of the material used.
Foreign companies must have an authorized representative in Croatia.
Obligations of producers, traders, importers:
1.Labeling of packaging
– mandatory labeling for returnable, reusable packaging, packaging in the return compensation system and packaging that is hazardous waste
– optional labeling for everyone else
2.Registration and payment of the fee
– registration and payment of the fee are mandatory when:
- importing from third countries – the basis of the application is the date of the customs declaration, regardless of whether the imported product is intended for own use or resale
- entering from EU member states – the basis of the application is the invoice date, regardless of whether the product is intended for own use or resale
- selling within the territory of the Republic of Croatia – the basis of the application is the date of the issued invoice
- selling online directly to physical persons
The application implies a record of the quantity of products/packaging, which is carried out by filling in Form AO10 (Report on the type and quantity of disposable packaging).
After registration, the forms must be submitted even if there was no placing on the market during the accounting period.
In the case of product export, after paying the fee for the import/production to the Fund, the producer has the right to refund the fee, if he submits all the necessary documentation within a certain time.
3.Storage of packaging waste
– after the sale, the product is unpacked and then stored in the prescribed manner
Adequate and properly marked containers with information on the persons responsible for emptying, which are separated from municipal waste and handed over to collectors without charge. The collection of packaging waste is carried out by waste disposal companies that have entered into a contract with the Fund and received the appropriate jobs.
4.Keeping records of packaging waste
– during storage, records are required on the generation, delivery, collection and processing of waste
Certain waste packaging is handed over to the recipient (authorized collector) during pick-up, and it is necessary to fill out the supporting sheet prescribed by the Waste Management Ordinance.
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