Regulatory framework for WBA in Bulgaria
(WBA: Waste batteries and accumulators)
The Bulgarian legislation introduces the requirements of the European directives in this area.
Below we present the main legal acts that regulate BA and waste bateries and accumulators:
- Waste Management Act (WMA)
- Ordinance for Determining the Order of Payment and the Amount of the Product Fee;
- Ordinance for Batteries and Accumulators and for Waste Batteries and Accumulators (WBA), hereinafter referred to as the Ordinance.
The Ordinance introduces the requirements of:
- Directive 2006/66/EC on batteries and accumulators and waste batteries and accumulators and repealing Directive 91/157/EEC (OJ L 266, 26.9.2006)
- Directive 2008/103/EC amending Directive 2006/66/EC on batteries and accumulators and waste batteries and accumulators as regards the placing on the market of batteries and accumulators (OJ L 327/7 of 5 December 2008).
- Directive (EU) 2018/849 amending Directives 2000/53/EC on end-of life vehicles, 2006/66/EC on batteries and accumulators and waste batteries and accumulators and 2012/19/EU on waste electrical and electronic equipment (OJ L 150 of 14 June 2018).
- Directive (EU) 2018/851 amending Directive 2008/98/EC on waste (OJ L 150 of 14 June 2018).
These legal acts regulate the extended producer responsibility of producers who place on the market BA to organise and finance the collection, transport, storage, pre-treatment, recovery and/or disposal of WBA.
In 2023, Regulation (EU) 2023/1542 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 12 July 2023 on batteries and end- of- life batteries, amending Directive 2008/98/EC and Regulation (EU) 2019/1020 and repealing Directive 2006/66/EC was adopted and will apply from 18 February 2024.
What is the eco-fee for batteries and accumulators?
The eco-fees for BA are a financial expression of the obligations of those who place BA on the market to ensure their collection and recycling at the end of their life cycle (when they become unusable).
The obliged persons shall then, if they do not wish to fulfil the obligations under the Ordinance themselves, pay:
- a product fees (eco-fees) to the Enterprise for Management of Environmental Protection Activities (EMEPA), with which are funded waste management projects; or
- remunerations to a recovery organisation that uses the funds received to fulfil the objectives of the obliged persons, assuming all organisational, financial and reporting obligations.
Pursuant to Article 17 of the Ordinance, persons that place BA on the market are obliged to ensure the collection of WBA, differentiated according to their type, in quantities corresponding to the following collection rates, which shall be determined according to the formulas of the Ordinance:
- For portable WBA – not less than 45 per cent of the quantity of portable BA placed on the market, excluding those exported or shipped from the territory of the Republic of Bulgaria before being acquired by the end user.
- For automotive WBA – not less than 100 percent of the quantity of automotive BA placed on the market.
- For industrial WBA – not less than 25 percent of the quantity of industrial BA placed on the market.
Recycling should achieve the following objectives, differentiated according to the chemical composition of the WBA:
- Recycling of not less than 65 per cent by weight of the materials contained in lead-acid BA and the highest possible recycling rate of the lead in them.
- Recycling of not less than 75 per cent by weight of the materials contained in NiCd BA and the highest possible recycling rate of the cadmium in them.
- Recycling of 50 percent by weight of other WBA.
It is important to note that there is a ban on disposal of WBA in household waste containers.
Also, automotive batteries must be handed in full, which limits the acid they contain being discharged into the environment or sewers.
In accordance with the producer responsibility principle, the person who places BA on the market is responsible for financing the costs of collecting and recycling the WBM according to the market share it holds.
According to § 1, item 14 of the Regulation:
“Person placing batteries and accumulators on the market” means any person established in the EU who, irrespective of the manner of sale, including by means of distance selling in accordance with Article 48(1), (2) or (3), places batteries and accumulators on the market in accordance with Article 48(1)(a) or (b) of Directive 2009/65/EC. 1 of the Consumer Protection Act, places batteries and accumulators, including those incorporated in appliances and motor vehicles, for the first time on the territory of the Republic of Bulgaria as part of his commercial and professional activities.
Any person who places BA on the market in Republic of Bulgaria is obliged to request to be entered in the register maintained by the Executive Environmental Agency (ExEA).
This is to ensure that his obligations under the Ordinance are carried out in good faith.
The person who places batteries and accumulators on the market shall declare in the register the manner in which he has fulfilled his obligations under the Ordinance:
- through a collective system where it has a contract with a WBA recovery organisation;
- individually, when he or she bears the costs and organises the implementation of the objectives;
- by paying a product fee to the account of the EMEPA.
Types of eco-fees for batteries and accumulators (BA)
The financing of the systems for separate collection and recycling of BA is carried out through a product fee (eco-fee), which is determined according to the type of BA as defined in § 1, items 1, 7 and 22 of the Regulation and the type of BA according to its chemical composition.
According to the definitions in the Ordinance, BA are of 3 types:
- Automotive battery or accumulator is a battery or accumulator used to light motor vehicles and vehicle lights
- Industrial battery or accumulator is a battery or accumulator designed exclusively for industrial or other professional applications, such as for use in commercial and public buildings, for backup power or motive power, in electric vehicles, etc.
- Portable battery or accumulator is any battery, button cell, battery pack or accumulator that is sealed, hand-carryable and not industrial or automotive.
The type of BA according to the chemical composition is presented in the table in Annex 5 to Article 3, paragraph 1. 1, item 5 of the Ordinance for Determining the Order of Payment and the Amount of the Product Fee, which regulates the amount of the product fee for BA:
|Size of the product tax for batteries and accumulators
|Type of battery/accumulator according to the definitions in § 1, items 1, 7, and 22 of the Regulation on Batteries and Accumulators, and on Unusable Batteries and Accumulators.
|Type of batteries and accumulators according to chemical composition
|Product tax (BGN/kg)
|With manganese dioxide, alkaline
|With manganese dioxide, different from alkaline
|With zinc oxide
|With silver oxide
|Others with lithium
|With silver oxide
|Others with lithium
|Note: The formula determines the amount of the product fee for batteries or accumulators:
P = T x E, where:
P is the amount of the product fee payable;
T - the number of batteries or accumulators in kg;
E - the unit amount of the charge in BGN/kg.
The product fee, or eco-fee, shall be paid for each individual type of BA.
The product fee shall be paid to the EMEPA upon placing BA on the Bulgarian market, but if the person has opted to participate in a collective system represented by a BA recovery organisation, he shall not pay a product fee, but a remuneration to the organisation with which he has concluded a contract.
An exception to this rule is for persons who place BA on the market and prefer to meet their separate collection and recycling obligations individually, which they finance at their own expense.
The fee is also not payable if the placed on the market BA is used in equipment for the protection of the interests of the Republic of Bulgaria related to national security, as well as for weapons, ammunition and military materials, with the exception of products that are not intended for specific military purposes or in equipment designed to be sent into space.
Payment of eco-fees
Pursuant to the Ordinance for Determining the Order of Payment and the Amount of the Product Fee, the product fee shall be paid to the account of PUDOOS in one lump sum for the quantities of BA placed on the market during the previous month.
The quantities shall be determined according to the reference-declaration drawn up by the person in accordance with Annex No 16 for the BA placed on the market and the amount of the fee determined.
The amount of the product fee in the monthly reference-declaration shall be determined by multiplying the quantity of placed on the market of the type of BA by the unit amount of the product fee as per Annex No 5.
The monthly reference-declaration shall be drawn up by the 15th of the current month and shall contain data on the BA placed on the market during the previous month, for which period the product fee shall also be paid.
Where the person placing the BA on the market is a member of a recovery organisation, the remuneration due to it shall be paid in the amount and within the time limits specified in the contract concluded.
Recovery organisations shall set the amount of the eco-fees as a percentage of the product fee, taking into account all necessary costs inherent to their activities, including the fulfilment of their regulatory obligations to set up the system and to conduct public information campaigns.
Recovery organisations have the right to differentiate remuneration by granting discounts to their members on various criteria, including environmental criteria.
Where a member of the recovery organisation:
- failed to provide it with information on the BA placed on the market
- provided information that does NOT reflect all quantities of BA placed on the market
- failed to pay the due remuneration,
the organisation shall report the above to the Minister of Environment and Water and these persons are included in an order designating the persons who pay the product fee.
The amounts owed shall be collected compulsorily together with interest and costs of the NRA under the procedure of the Internal Revenue Code.
Where a recovery organisation or a person fulfilling its obligations individually has not met the targets under the Ordinance, it shall pay a product fee only for the target not met:
- Collection of WBA – in full for the entire quantity for the respective type of BA – portable, automotive or industrial, placed on the market in the previous year
- Recycling of WBA – in full for the entire quantity of BA of the relevant type by chemical composition placed on the market in the previous year.
Where a recovery organisation or a person fulfilling its obligations individually has not submitted a report with factual findings, they shall pay a product fee in full for the entire quantity of BA placed on the market in the previous year.
In case it is not possible to establish the quantity and type of BA placed on the market, the quantities of portable, automotive or industrial BA planned in the programme referred to in Article 53(1) shall be taken into account. 1 of the WMA and the highest amount of the product charge for BA set out in Annex 5 shall apply.
In the above cases, the members of the recovery organisation do not pay a product fee, as they have paid the agreed remuneration and the organisation has undertaken their obligations.
Those who are not producers of BA and send them from the territory of the country to the territory of another EU Member State, and/or export such with already paid product fee to the EMEPA or paid remuneration to a recovery organization, are entitled to a refund of the paid fee or remuneration on the basis of documents certifying the respective export and/or shipment.
The procedure is regulated in Article 19 of the Ordinance for Determining the Order of Payment and the Amount of the Product Fee.