In this year Act No. 127/1997, the Waste Act, was enacted, which had only two Articles dealing with the issues of packaging. In the same year EKO‑KOM, a.s. was established, a company whose objective was to develop the Green Dot system in the Czech Republic. The company launched a pilot project aimed at verifying various methods of sorted waste collection in an area with 120,000 inhabitants, and in cooperation with teachers prepared an extensive and long-term educational project (Tonda Obal), which focused on the education of primary school pupils in the area of waste sorting.
ČPSOŽP and the Ministry of the Environment signed a voluntary Agreement to Enforce Directive 94/62/EC on packaging and packaging waste in the Czech Republic. The Agreement set forth principles for the functioning of the EKO‑KOM system in such a way that the enterprises participating in this system were regarded as subjects, which ensured that waste is recycled to the required extent. Since 1999, the EKO‑KOM system has been incorporated into the Czech Republic Approximation Strategy for the Environment as the method to execute the conclusions of the European Parliament and Council Directive 94/62/EC on packaging and packaging materials.
PRO EUROPE grants EKO‑KOM, a.s. a licence to use the Green Dot mark in the Czech Republic.
At the beginning of this year, an obligation to recycle packaging as set forth by Act No. 125/1997, the Waste Act, came into effect. During the year, economic and process stabilisation of the EKO‑KOM system continued, and pilot research projects and educational campaigns were launched in municipalities. By the end of the year, almost 600 enterprises were engaged in the system, which represented 42% of all packaging put on the Czech market, and 2,750 contracts were signed with municipalities, encompassing more than 8 million inhabitants.
At the beginning of the year, Act No. 477/2001, the Packaging Act, came into force, which defined more precisely the obligations connected with handling packaging and packaging waste. On 28/3/2002, the Ministry of the Environment granted EKO‑KOM, a.s. an Authorisation Decree in accordance with the Packaging Act. Thus EKO‑KOM, a.s. became an authorised packaging company.
Since 2002, the number of EKO‑KOM system clients had grown considerably, counting nearly 21,000 firms. The number of municipalities participating in the system had grown, too. At the beginning of the year around 4,450 municipalities were involved. Gradually contracts were signed with entities authorised to handle waste. More than 100 contracts were signed. In 2004 the collection network reached more than 100,000 installed containers, making them accessible to 97% of the consumers.
On 29/3/2005, the Ministry of the Environment issued upon EKO‑KOM’s recommendation a decree which pursuant to Section 17, Subsection 7 of the Packaging Act extended EKO‑KOM’s authorisation until 31/12/2012.
At the beginning of 2006, the second amendment to Act No. 477/2001, the Packaging Act as amended, came into force. The objective of this amendment was mainly to determine a new strategy for recovery and recycling packaging waste until 2012. One of the important changes and a big relief for many truly small packaging producers, was waiving the obligation to recover and recycle packaging, provided two conditions are met annual production does not exceed 300 kg and annual turnover, CZK 4.5 million. Another change was scrapping the obligation to mark packaging, mainly information concerning the material used. Furthermore, certain obligations were simplified and certain definitions in the existing law were defined in more detail.
Demand for reusable materials began to fall rapidly during the second half of 2008. This crisis in sales developed fully in 2009. The disintegration of the market in reusable materials, the drastic fall in prices and sudden shortage of recycling capacities became a serious topic for EU institutions during the first half of the year. The EKO‑KOM a.s. Company introduced a Stabilisation Program, on which it agreed with the Association of Towns and Municipalities of the Czech Republic. The program, which was also discussed by parliamentary committees, represented a solution to the economic shock, which was the cut in income from sale of separated raw materials. Towns and municipalities, along with industry, also participated in financial stabilisation of separation, in this case by means of our company.
In 2010 the market in reusable materials gradually began to stabilise. The prices of some commodities rose significantly (for instance some classes of paper), others attained the same level as during the period of standard trade in reusable materials. Unfortunately costs connected to recovery and collection of separated waste were not reduced.
Thanks to the joint efforts of all clients of EKO‑KOM and also to all the municipalities with whom we work on the system of separate collection and recycling the packaging waste, there were reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 954,579 tons of CO2 for one year. Due to sorting and recycling materials such as glass, plastic, paper and beverage cartons, the inhabitants of the Czech Republic managed to to save energy that is used by 260,000 households on average per year, and to further save the amount of CO2 produced by 10% of the cars in our country per year.
9th March 2012, the Ministry of Environment extended Authorization in 2020. The Authorization is essential for providing the system of sorting and recovery of the packaging waste. The biggest changes concern the recycling targets in which there is defined recovery up to 80 % of packaging waste. Recently, there is required higher collection network for take back of the packaging waste. Based on the requirements of the Authorization, EKO‑KOM must also continuously inform 90% of the consumers each year. Increased demands were also based on the environmental education of the students . EKO‑KOM must inform at least 15 % of the school population of children aged 3 to 15 years with the direct instruction. Increased demands are also placed on the accuracy of the evidence of the packaging waste in companies producing or trading the packaged goods.