Romania Under Scrutiny From European Commission

by George Kiernan

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In recent years, the European Union has prioritised the need for recycling and a shift towards a circular economy. The EU has introduced many regulations and requirements around how waste should be managed, all of which are mandatory. Year after year, Romania has failed to meet a large number of these requirements, forcing the EU’s hand to take action against Romania.

There are now several infringements proceedings being carried out against Romania by the European Commission, predominantly concerning issues such as pollution, wood management and waste management. In May 2020, the Commission wrote to Romania with a number of prescribed actions that it insisted they organise and execute as a matter of urgency. One of the key actions that is being required of Romania is the closure of 48 landfill sites, as well as the restoration of the land, in order to comply with an earlier European Court of Justice ruling from October 2018.


Romania’s Landfill Infringements

The Court ruling identified 68 landfill sites across Romania that were to be closed and restored, but so far only 20 of these sites has been dealt with. At this time, the closure and restoration of the remaining 48 sites have not yet even been planned; the EU Commission’s letter gave Romanian government 4 months to make arrangements for these sites – 2 months longer than usual due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

Among these 48 landfill sites are 12 municipal sites and 36 industrial sites; of the 36 industrial sites, 24 contain hazardous industrial waste. Of the 12 municipal sites, 10 have requested funding to assist in the shutting down process from the EU Environmental Fund Administration, with all applications having already been approved.

Romania has one of the lowest ratios of waste produced per capita in all of Europe, which might make one think it should be easier for them to manage their waste than other countries. However, the obstacles that Romania faces are not predominantly concerning the total volume of waste, but rather its waste reprocessing capacity.


Romanian Recycling Needs investment

Romania’s waste management infrastructure is severely underfunded and has been starved of any real investment for quite some time. If Romanian government committed to investing in updating and expanding the country’s current waste collection network and waste handling facilities, then they could make serious progress in just a few years.

These investments would not be cheap, but in time they would pay for themselves; much of the waste that gets added to landfill sites in Romania could be reprocessed and reintroduced into the manufacturing sector, both bolstering and circularising the Romanian economy. There would also be several avenues for Romania to apply for funding from the EU to help with these improvements, and they would likely be successful in a majority of them.

The vision of a Romania with advanced and sophisticated recycling and waste management sectors is one that we at Pakire Polymers hold at our very core. We have invested heavily in our state-of-the-art facility and in training our staff to be experts in their field. Our German and Austrian engineered machinery allows us to process plastic scrap in the most efficient way possible, achieving the highest yields of premium-quality recycled plastic pellet to put back into the economy. We offer the most ethical and sustainable route to turn discarded plastic waste into valuable resources, supporting the economy while also protecting the environment.

We work with the Romanian conservation charity Foundation Conservation Carpathia to help protect the Romania’s beautiful natural environment from the scourge of plastic pollution. Pakire Polymers works tirelessly to support responsible waste management in Romania; we believe that we will be a key instrument in bringing the country not only into compliance with EU requirements, but to actively begin exceeding them.


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