Issues Related to Implementation of the EU Requirements on Plastic Crates and Pallets Containing Heavy Metals in Lithuania
Keywords:plastic crates, plastic pallets, heavy metals, packaging, decision-making scheme, identification and accounting
The paper presents an analysis of problems which had to be dealt with by Lithuanian institutions while implementing environmental requirements laid down in Article 11 of European Parliament and Council Directive 94/62/EC on Packaging and Packaging Waste as well as in Decision 2009/292/EC of the European Commission establishing the conditions for derogation of plastic crates and plastic pallets related to heavy metal concentration limits set by Directive 94/62/EC.
While the Directive puts ban on the usage of packaging with the aggregate concentration of 4 heavy metals (lead, cadmium, mercury and hexavalent chromium) exceeding 100 ppm, Decision 2009/292/EC, instead, allows their usage if terms of derogation specified in the Decision are met. The implementation of the Decision means that each crate and/or pallet item circulating in the market with the concentration of the 4 heavy metals above the set level has to be identified, accounted, traced while in service, must at the end of service be delivered into a controlled recycling system and finally recycled in a way specified by the Decision. Therefore, the establishment of such a country-wide system presents a challenging task for the country as EU legislation sets no common requirements for its structure and leaves it to the country’s discretion.
This paper systematises and summarises some principles and practices of managing the usage of plastic crates and plastic pallets containing the amount of heavy metals higher than 100 ppm (as set by Directive 94/62/EC) in the EU Member States.
The paper analyses possibilities and offers several scenarios for implementation of Directive 94/62/EC with respect to plastic crates and pallets with high concentration of heavy metals in Lithuania. Both the Directive and the Decision are based on using the data available from bookkeeping conducted by owners of crates and pallets and the EU environmental accounting/control system used in the country. The offered mechanisms are analysed and compared between themselves as well as with analogue systems used in other EU countries. Besides, the problem of unidentified plastic crates and plastic pallets already in use is being discussed. A special decision-making tree was developed to allow splitting the stream of these items into 2 flows with the concentration of heavy metals below and above the 100 ppm limit.
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