Hungary: Dual systems reach a crossroads
EKO-PUNKT is promoting environmental awareness and encouraging local inhabitants to separate their waste by running information campaigns.
EKO-PUNKT Nonprofit KFT.: 500 % increase in just twelve months
The legislator must now decide whether free competition can be developed in the Hungarian market for system providers. If the situation remains as it is at the moment, then it is, in principle, impossible for waste recycling to be further developed. The companies are certainly more than ready for further development. EKO-PUNKT Nonprofit Kft., which was set up by REMONDIS to coordinate the treatment of waste packaging, has succeeded in increasing the amount of waste it processes by 500 % in just one year.
The final preparation stage of the governmental ordinance, which regulates the activities of the so-called “coordination organizations” responsible for waste treatment, began in autumn 2009. The Hungarian market has been waiting a long time for the creation of a binding legal basis for the system providers. Considering the content of the paper, however, the organisations affected hold very different opinions.
The Hungarian market for dual systems began in 2003 and involved only a few participants who divided up the responsibility for the different types of waste among themselves. At the same time, the volume of separated waste collected grew more slowly. Competition gradually increased with the foundation of new companies over the last two years. The number of manufacturers and sales companies has grown. Parallel to this, the volume of separately collected recyclable waste has once again begun to rise.
The most important question currently facing the branch is whether the legislator will allow competition among the system providers or instead obstruct the activities of the new market players thus causing the volume of recyclables to stagnate at a low level. Statutory provisions, which stipulate that a production company must own a minimum 51 % share in a newly founded system provider or that prescribe either minimum market shares or minimum recycling prices, are not only counterproductive – such provisions contradict the principles of a free market and, therefore, valid EU law. The goal of this decision-making process must be – both in the interests of Hungary and Europe – to guarantee fair competition between the system providers in order to promote the separate collection and recycling of private municipal waste.
EKO-PUNKT Kft., a company founded by REMONDIS in 2007 to collect waste sales packaging in Hungary, has, in the meantime, demonstrated the efficiency of its business in an impressive manner. With the help of REMONDIS’ Hungarian subsidiaries, EKO-PUNKT Kft. has succeeded in increasing its market share fivefold both among industrial and commercial customers as well as with its municipal collection activities. Csilla Sztarinka, managing director of EKO-PUNKT Hungary, believes there is potential for more growth: “Our most important goal is to successfully fulfil the obligation of the companies affiliated to our system to recycle the packaging they place on the market. An increase in the volume of separated waste from households will, however, play an important role if the volume of licensed sales packaging is to grow further. With this in mind, the company is launching its own programme before the end of the year to increase environmental awareness. Our first step will be to start an information campaign and a competition in the supermarkets in the city of Szolnok to inform the local inhabitants about separating their household waste. We are then planning to carry out similar campaigns next year throughout the whole of the country.”