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Bulgarian industry opposes ‘excessive’ recycling sanctions

Bulgaria – The Bulgarian Industrial Association (BIA) has written an open letter to President Rossen Plevneliev and other governmental figures to voice its opposition to a new law demanding that businesses with office buildings sign contracts relating to separate waste collection for recycling. The law ‘contains no expert texts’ and could provide ‘ample opportunities for administrative arbitrariness and corruption’, it is alleged.

Under the new law, which came into force at the start of 2013, companies must: either sign a contract with a licensed recycling player to treat their waste plastics, paper, glass and metal; or, in places with more than 5000 inhabitants, rely on the municipal recycling system. Penalties for failing to comply with the updated Waste Management Act can be as high as Euro 5000.

During the first week of 2013 alone, BIA received dozens of complaints from companies struggling with the changes. ‘Unfortunately, in most places in the country it is not possible to meet these requirements,’ comments BIA’s Deputy Chairman Dimitar Brankov. He calls the fines ‘excessive’, especially at a time of financial crisis, and argues small and medium-sized enterprises will be most vulnerable to the legislative repercussions.

‘There is no established organisation of separate collection,’ the BIA letter warns. ‘It is not clear who will fund the collection and processing of such waste, meaning that there is deep confusion and administrative chaos, which once again affects business.’ It forecasts that the new rules will put some companies out of business or force them to shift to the informal sector. Also anticipating that potential foreign investors will be discouraged by the move, Bulgaria is well on its way to becoming ‘not a country of economic incentives but a country of sanctions’, the association maintains.

BIA argues that the Constitutional Court should be approached to overturn provisions of the law – including those allowing local authorities to determine the basis for charging a fee when it cannot determine the amount of waste.

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Source: The Sofia Globe

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