Electronic Journal of Polish Agricultural Universities (EJPAU) founded by all Polish Agriculture Universities presents original papers and review articles relevant to all aspects of agricultural sciences. It is target for persons working both in science and industry,regulatory agencies or teaching in agricultural sector. Covered by IFIS Publishing (Food Science and Technology Abstracts), ELSEVIER Science - Food Science and Technology Program, CAS USA (Chemical Abstracts), CABI Publishing UK and ALPSP (Association of Learned and Professional Society Publisher - full membership). Presented in the Master List of Thomson ISI.
2018
Volume 21
Issue 1
Topic:
Environmental Development
ELECTRONIC
JOURNAL OF
POLISH
AGRICULTURAL
UNIVERSITIES
Lewandowska A. 2018. ECONOMICS OF WASTE MANAGEMENT IN POLAND IN THE CONTEXT OF REGIONAL ECOLOGIZATION AS EXEMPLIFIED BY KUJAWSKO-POMORSKIE VOIVODSHIP, EJPAU 21(1), #01.
Available Online: http://www.ejpau.media.pl/volume21/issue1/art-01.html

ECONOMICS OF WASTE MANAGEMENT IN POLAND IN THE CONTEXT OF REGIONAL ECOLOGIZATION AS EXEMPLIFIED BY KUJAWSKO-POMORSKIE VOIVODSHIP

Aleksandra Lewandowska
Department of Urban Studies and Regional Development, Faculty of Earth Sciences, Nicolaus Copernicus University, Toruń, Poland

 

ABSTRACT

The purpose was to evaluate and analyze the changes within the system of economics of waste management in Poland in the context of regional ecologization on example of Kujawsko-Pomorskie voivodship. For the term 2004–2015, we indicate predominant tendencies in urban wastes production and its management in Poland. The above problem was presented both in the general Polish context of changes observed in the waste management system, and in regional perspective. To fulfill the goal , particular diagnostic indicators were selected in order to describe the state of economics of waste management, which are comparable for various levels of administrative units.

Key words: waste management, municipal waste, selective waste collection, ecologization, voivodship.

INTRODUCTION

At present, ecologization of everyday life, which can become the remedy for solving various problems resulting from increased human pressure on natural environment and ecological crisis,, is one of desired phenomena [3, 23, 25, 28, 36]. Ecologization of life implies greater care for both natural environment and our own health  [37]. The same aspect refers also to remodeling of consumption behavior for more pro-ecological, which simultaneously will result in limitation of waste production and its recycling. As far as waste management changes are concerned, they must be implemented on the level of human behavior and routine, but changes in waste disposal are visible on local or regional levels. It should be remarked and specified here, that by waste management, which is a more general term, we understand not only restriction in waste production (its real production), but also its disposal, while economics of waste management itself means for us: „waste collecting, transport, recycling combined with supervision of all these activities and later strategy of transporting it towards places of waste utilization and all procedures concerning waste sellers or intermediary in waste trade” [46].

Sustainable waste management is the main goal outlined by scientific and political bodies and ecological organizations [30, 39, 44] and it is indicated as a goal in EU directives concerning waste management [10] As  Kaleta [17] states, sustainable waste management unites aspect of environment protection with economical and social limitations. „The process requires strong engagement of all parties: consumers (changes in approach to consumption, education, waste selecting), legislators (introducing respective regulations), municipalities (preparing effective regional strategy of waste management), specialists in waste management (employing technological knowledge concerning building, exploitation and managing facilities of waste recycling and utilization), and last but not least – enterprises (limitation in waste quantity production, promoting recycling)” [17]. Therefore, shaping a proper waste management model, as Guerrero et al. [14] remark, authorities of every administrative level are involved (i.e.: state, regional, local and municipal, ministries responsible for the process (Environment, Economy, Development, Finances, Health), non-government organizations, waste producers, i.e. – both – industrial plants, households, but also waste processing plants.

The article analyzes problems of waste disposal, because sustainable waste disposal tending to change present waste strategy is regarded as one of crucial ecologization factors, referring to particular areas. It should be noticed, that Polish state activity concerning waste management is directed to regulations of sustainable development, paying attention to hierarchy of waste strategy, pointed out by EU and implements it in every administrative level.  The procedure mentioned above was included in National Waste Management Plan 2022 [22] and is an effect of Polish obligations, resulting from EU membership and which was defined in Polish National Environmental Policy for 2009–2012 [33]. The most desirable activities are as follows: first – waste avoidance, next – waste processing for re-use and recycling, but also procedures of waste treatment by incineration and ultimately waste disposal in a landfill.  All these actions are undertaken to minimize possible negative effects of waste management system elements on natural environment and simultaneously contribute to ecologization level increasing in particular voivodships. Procedures like these are a part of global trend referring to implementation of principles of sustainable development and searching for pro-ecological solutions in technology, tending to limit waste quantity or its disposal [9, 26, 31, 43, 45]. Waste create invaluable renewable raw material, which can be re-used, e.g. for energetical, material and many other purposes [4, 8, 20, 29, 38]. It should be remarked, however, that despite great potential of that renewable raw material, it seems not to be sufficiently made use of, not only in Poland, but also in majority of the world countries. It is referred to, in Hazra and Goel’s [15] opinion, inadequate education of local government officials and technical staff in implementing and promoting pro-ecological solutions, but also not adapted technical and transport infrastructure.

The paper presented here concentrates strictly on economics of waste management, in particular municipal solid waste, because in this sphere, significant changes, caused by issuing new Act of 2013 on Maintaining Cleanliness and Order in Communes [32] should take place. Therefore, questions concerning economics of waste management in Poland are worth analyses, both before and after implementing new legislations to estimate, if they are profitable for regions ecologization.  

Taking all the above into account, the purpose of the article is to present the analyses and evaluation of changes in waste management in Poland, in the context of regional ecologization, on the example of Kujawsko-Pomorskie voivodship, using selected variables, characterizing the system of municipal waste management. Basing on the data, predominant trends and spatial variations were indicated, e.g. the quantities of collected municipal waste and selective waste.

It should be remarked, however, that the article is barely the contribution to advanced discussion on changes in waste management in Poland and should be regarded as the first step of the research.

MATERIALS AND METHODS

To fulfill the assumption of present research, i.e. analysis and evaluation of changes in economics of waste management system in Poland in the context of regions ecologization on example of Kujawsko-Pomorskie voivodship, mathematical statistics was implemented, as well as case study and desk research. Mathematical statistics was used in quantitative data analyses obtained from Bank Local Data Bank of Central Statistical Office (LDB CSO) and a series of studies „Ochrona środowiska” (Environment Protection) published by Central Statistical Office [2, 11, 12, 13]. Obtained data, mainly from 2004–2015 referred to: quantity of collected municipal solid waste, selected waste, a number of illegal dumpings, quantity of waste collected during disposal of illegal dumpings and a number of landfill sites. Moreover, due to lack of complete data, concerning quantities of generated municipal waste, its thermal recycling, these issues have not been included in the analyses.

The data from LDB CSO served for measuring indicators of dynamics (presenting processes in particular time section and relation to process intensity in studied period to the process intensity in a base period); indicators of structure (presenting ratio of unit number of a particular feature value to quantity of tests and expressed in percent); intensity indicators (showing shaping value of a tested issue in the background of another and expressed by quoitient).

Kujawsko-Pomorskie voivodship was analyzed in details, researching the problem of changes in economics of waste management. Case study was selected as the research method due to the fact, that it conditions reliable knowledge of studied processes. Kujawsko-Pomorskie voivodship is situated in central part of Poland. Due to its surface (17 972 km2 – 5,7% of total country surface) and the population (2068,8 thousand – 5,4% of total country population) the voivodship is classified as medium in total scale. Population density which is 115 persons/km2, is a little below the country’s average (122). The information above decided that the voivodship is a good representative of the other voivodships. It must be remarked, that case study method used properly makes it possible to obtain detailed description of the case under analyses and on this base a construction of generalized conclusions is possible – in this case for the other 15 regions.

Moreover, the research was completed with “desk research” method which analyzes given material, in this case the National Waste Management Plan 2022 [22], National Ecological Policy in 2009–2012 with perspectives until 2016 [34], Waste Management Plan for Kujawsko-Pomorskie voivodship for 2016–2022 with perspectives for 2023–2028 [33], Environmental Protection Plan and Economics of Waste Management for Kujawsko-Pomorskie voivodship for 2011-2014 with the perspective for 2015–2018 [35].

RESULTS AND DISCUSSION

To discus economics of waste management in Poland one should start with analyses of quantity of collected municipal waste/one citizen. In accordance with Central Statistical Office (CSO) for 2015 in Poland, total of 283 kg of municipal waste/one citizen was collected (i.e. total quantity of mixed municipal waste and selected waste), which demonstrates increase of 10,5%, comparing to 2004. In regional scale 2015 reported the highest quantity of municipal waste/one citizen for the following voivodships: Dolnośląskie (Lower Silesia) (340 kg), Zachodniopomorskie (West Pomerania) (337 kg), Śląskie (Silesia) (332 kg) and Lubuskie (328 kg); while the lowest quantity was collected in voivodships: Świętokrzyskie (166 kg), Lubelskie (180 kg) and Podkarpackie (196 kg). The situation is analogous comparing respective data from 2004–2015, the listed voivodships presented similar extreme values (cf. Fig. 1). Kujawsko-Pomorskie voivodship is situated in the country’s average, with the result for 2015 of 284 kg/one citizen. Discussing dynamics of change within this aspect it was observed, that only three voivodships reported negative tendency, the others noted increase in waste quantity/one citizen, what can result from more exact waste control under new legislation (cf. Fig. 1).

Comparing the obtained results in the international scale, it should be noted that quantity of generated municipal waste per one citizen of Poland in reference to other countries of OECD is the lowest, because the value balances between 2,13 kg day-1 in Canada and 0,85 kg day-1 in Poland, Czechs and Slovakia. As Kawai and Tasaji [19] report – in global scale – municipal waste quantity per 1 citizen balances between 0,09 kg day-1 in Ghana and 5,50 kg day-1 in Antigua and Barbuda. Karak et al. [18], in turn, indicate that in developed countries the value oscillates within 521,95–759,2 kg per a citizen annually, while in the developing countries within the frame of 109,5–525 kg per a citizen annually.

Fig. 1. Quantity of municipal solid  waste in kg/one citizen (average from 2004–2015) and respective change dynamics
Explanations:
A – quantity of collected mixed municipal waste/one citizen (average from 2004–2015);
B – dynamics of change in quantity of collected mixed municipal waste/one citizen between 2004 and  2015 (2004 – 100%)
Source:
own author’s draft basing on data from LDB CSO

Searching for effects of EU directives concerning sustainable waste management implementation, we should refer them to recycling levels obtained. Between 2005–2015, average recycling level for 27 countries of EU increased from 31,9% to 45,2% [7]. Comparing Poland to other EU countries we should take into account average value of recycling level from 2005–2015, because it depicts real classification of EU countries in this context, and does not refer only to one casual year of measurements. Poland in recycling level is placed below the Union average (39%), with the value of 19%, although it should be remembered with satisfaction that dynamics of recycling level rise between 2005 and 2015 was one of the highest, comparing to all EU countries and it obtained over 650%.

In regional perspective, we can also analyze system of selective waste collection, because in voivodeships the mechanism bases on three methods. First – selective individual collection in every household, in special containers or rubbish bags. It can be collected in two, three or many containers systems. The basic advantage of this system after Bień, Bień [5] is: „collecting waste without any impurities, separating waste according to technologies of its final processing in special firms, increase in quantity of waste designed for economic re-use, limiting quantity of waste designed for dumping, obtaining separated hazardous waste for specialist safe neutralization” [5]. Another method are containers ‘placed in a neighborhood’, in various urban or rural  locations, creating a network of waste collectors centers. This system is qualified as the easiest one and particularly useful in urban areas for residence districts and service infrastructure. It is assumed that every such site should serve for 500–1000 citizens and should not be distanced more than 200 m [5]. The last system concerns recycling centers, i.e. collective sites of selective municipal waste collectors. They are characterized with well developed protected systems, where citizens can deliver without any charge, apart from standard rubbish (litter, glass, plastic, scrap metal) also hazardous waste, bulky waste, construction waste and organic one, coming from gardens and green areas. They serve the area up to 10–25 thousand of households [5, 24].

Poland reports from year to year systematic growth of selected waste collection, with the highest quantity reported after 2013, since new act implementation. The year 2015 reported 10 times bigger increase of waste collected selectively, comparing to 2004. Of 16 voivodships the number is the highest in Lubuskie province – 22 times more, while the lowest, only 7 times, was reported in Pomeranian voivodship.  Between 2004–2015 majority, i.e. 73% of selected waste was collected from households. The other waste consisted of waste from trade, small business, offices, institutions and community services. The highest participation of household selected waste, close to 90% was reported in Opolskie voivodship, the lowest one (61%) in Zachodniopomorskie voivodship (West Pomeranian).

The biggest quantity of selected waste/one citizen was observed in Śląskie (Silesia) and Wielkopolskie (The Greater Poland) voivodeships, the smallest quantity in: Podlaskie, Świętokrzyskie and Podkarpackie voivodships (cf. Fig. 2). The structure of selected waste collections in Poland consists of 5 general fractions: biodegradable waste (27%), glass (24%), paper and cardboard (17%), plastic (14%) and bulky waste (11%). These types of municipal waste are predominant in structures of particular voivodships (cf. Fig. 2). It should be remarked, however, that recent years have been reporting dynamic increase of waste electrical and electronic equipment and comparing 2004 to 2015 in Poland, we report over 500-times growth (in Mazowieckie voivodship itself over 1600 times, what can be related with changes in consumption patterns and easy access to electronic equipment in the last decades). Durability of that production is rather low, therefore the problem of electronic waste will be a challenge for future.

Fig. 2. Quantity of collected selected municipal waste/one citizen and its structure between 2004–2015
Explanations:
A – quantity of collected selected municipal waste/one citizen (average from 2004–2015),
B – structure of collected selected municipal waste (average from 2004–2015), 1 – paper and cardboard, 2 – glass, 3 – plastic, 4 – metal, 5 – textiles, 6 – hazardous waste, 7 – waste electrical and electronic equipment, 8 – bulky waste, 9 – biodegradable waste  
Source:
own author’s draft on the base of data from LDB CSO [2, 11, 12, 13]

Discussing the problem on the level of Kujawsko-Pomorskie voivodship we can notice that the structure of waste collected selectively (average from 2004–2015) shapes as follows: biodegradable waste – 44%, glass 23%, plastic 13%, paper and cardboard 10%, bulky waste 6%, textiles 2%, and total of other fractions 2%. Comparing 2004 to 2015, the sum of quantity of all selective waste collected increased 12 times, and since 2013 we have been reporting 40% growth annually, although quality (purity) of waste collected selectively decreases. The stream of raw material waste collected selectively is contaminated to such an extent that is not suitable for recycling and is designed for energy recovery only (alternative fuel) [33].

Another crucial problem, being a kind of damper for a region ecologization, concerns illegal dumpings, which directly affect natural environment. Their analysis is based only on data from 2008–2015, because earlier data on the subject is not available. The period under analyzes reports increase in illegal dumpings disposal, while a number of them for the end of 2008 decreases from 3481 in 2008 to 1978 in 2015. It should be added here, that illegal dumpings are created spontaneously and in uncontrolled way, therefore their detailed analysis is difficult.

The problem of illegal waste dumpings existence concerns not only Poland, as surveys of other European countries also report: France [6], Italy [27, 41], Spain [16], Romania [1], Czechs [21, 47] and Slovakia [40]. Studies quoted above demonstrate significance of the problem and indicate complications in analyses of illegal waste dumpings.

Trying to work out a reliable marker referring to the process, we can analyze quantity of collected waste coming from illegal dumpings per one citizen, which in Poland in 2015 was 1,2 kg/one citizen. It is of 66% less than in 2008. All the voivodships reported downward trend in reference to this problem, also Kujawsko-Pomorskie voivodship, where quantity of waste collected in illegal dumpings decreased from 2,7 kg in 2008 to 0,9 kg in  2015 (cf. Fig. 3). It is worth mentioning, however, that quantity of collected waste from illegal dumpings in cities of Kujawsko-Pomorskie voivodship is over three times higher than in rural areas.  Analyzing changes in dynamics of this indicator in the voivodship we can observe that generally change tendency in 2008–2015 is downward, but in 2013 and 2014, i.e. directly after new legislation implementation, growth of waste coming from disposal of illegal dumpings/one citizen in the voivodeship urban centers and all the region was observed  (cf. Fig. 3). It can result from initial inefficiency of collection and managing system, which caused directing waste to illegal dumpings to avoid higher charges (since 2013) for collecting and disposal.

Fig. 3. Quantity of collected waste for disposal of urban and rural illegal dumpings in Kujawsko-Pomorskie voivodship in 2008–2015
Source: own author’s draft on the base of data from LDB CSO [2, 12, 13]

It must be remarked here that since 2013 all Polish citizens (100%) have been under municipal solid waste collecting obligation, what results from new legislation implementation. All communes of Kujawsko-Pomorskie voivodship arranged tenders of collecting and management of municipal waste as an obligation of new regulations.

Economics of waste management in accordance with The European Union directive 2008/98/WE should base on recycling and re-use of waste and not on its neutralization in landfills.  To fulfill this obligation Poland has undertaken activities to reduce quantities of waste dumped and limit the number of landfills. The last decade has reported their number reduction of over 50%. Dynamics of changes in the field (in 2004–2015) in voivodships scale indicates significant reduction in their number, with the highest progress in Podlaskie and Lubelskie voivodships, respectively 55 and 51 landfills. In Kujawsko-Pomorskie voivodship a number of landfill sites was reduced of 64%, comparing 2004 to 2015.

Collected municipal waste is transported to Regional Municipal Waste Processing Facility (Regionalne Instalacje Przetwarzania Odpadów Komunalnych so called RIPOKs), which were appointed in voivodeships waste management plans. RIPOKs decide  on the principles of voivodship waste management plans) what waste quantity goes to a landfill and what is directed for recycling. Kujawsko-Pomorskie voivodship has 16 RIPOKs functioning in 6 regions of waste management (cf. Tab. 1). One RIPOK usually is equipped with several facilities for waste recycling and treatments. Generally Kujawsko-Pomorskie voivodship has locations of 14 installations of mechanical biological waste treatment, 15 composting plants, 12 dumping grounds and 1 waste incinerator (cf. Tab. 1). Moreover, Kujawsko-Pomorskie voivodship has several alternative installations functioning (mainly dumping grounds) which have not obtained RIPOK status.

Table 1. Municipal waste processing facilities in Kujawsko-Pomorskie voivodship (state from the end of 2015)
Region of Economics of Municipal Waste Management
Population number
Type of Regional Municipal Waste Processing Facility (RIPOK)
Mechanical biological waste treatment
Composting plant
Dumping ground
Waste incinerator
F
P
F
P
F
P
F
P
Tucholsko-Grudziądzki
324 102
3
0
3
0
3
0
0
0
Chełmińsko-Wąbrzeski
167 371
2
0
2
0
2
0
0
0
Lipnowsko-Rypiński
183 838
1
1
1
1
1
1
0
0
Włocławski
238 936
1
0
1
0
1
0
0
0
Bydgosko-Toruński
992 924
6
0
7
0
4
1
1
0
Inowrocławski
162 372
1
0
1
0
1
0
0
0
Total in voivodeship
2 069 543
14
1
15
1
12
2
1
0
Explanations:
F – functioning, P – planned
Source:
based on Waste Management Plan for Kujawsko-Pomorskie voivodship for 2016–2022 with perspectives for 2023–2028 [33]

It should be remarked, however, that as a result of new legislation introduced, all communes in Poland (2478) including 144 communes in Kujawsko-Pomorskie voivodship are obliged to achieve defined levels of recycling and accepted quantities of mass waste designed for biodegradation and dumping. Analyzing commune reports in Kujawsko-Pomorskie voivodship in reference to economics of municipal waste management for 2014 it is evident that paper, metal, plastic and glass preparing for recycling and processing for re-use level defined to limit of 14% or higher was achieved by 139 communes and only 5 communes achieved level below 14%. In respect to defined recycling level, preparing for re-use and recovery, with other methods than dangerous, hazardous construction waste of 38%, as many as 142 communes achieved this level or exceeded it.  Only 2 communes did not fulfill the restrictions. In 2014 acceptable level of municipal waste mass for biodegradation designed for dumping was defined at value of 50%, and respectively – 111 communes achieved this level, while 33 communes achieved the level over 50%. Generally, these are promising results which can demonstrate completing obligations by Kujawsko-Pomorskie voivodship until 2020 concerning levels of recycling and participation of biodegradable waste dumping defined in National Waste Management Plan.

CONCLUSIONS

General changes observed both in Poland and Kujawsko-Pomorskie voivodship inscribe into global tendencies within the hierarchy of waste management. Changes indicate diminishing quantities of waste produced, limiting its dumpings and increasing its further reusing. In majority of EU countries these positive changes are quicker, Poland adjusting its legislation to EU requirements, has also hastened the transformation speed.

Summing up, it must be stated that since 2013 changes in economics of waste management in Poland have been intensified, what is dictated by new legislation requirements. Research shows that since 2004 majority of voivodships have reported increase of collected municipal waste (total of mixed and selected waste), however, it is estimated by increase of quantity of selected waste. Quantity of mixed waste/one citizen of Poland decreases, what should be regarded as positive tendency. On the other hand, relatively big number of illegal dumpings in national and regional scale seems to be a failure. Their negative effects influence directly on quality of natural environment, therefore more dynamic action to eliminate them should be undertaken in future.

Moreover, it should be indicated that positive changes observed on the level of Kujawsko-Pomorskie voivodship in economics of waste management referring to, among others, recycling level influence positively on general state of economics of municipal waste management in the region. Work on improvement of sites collecting selective waste and increase of technical standards of installations serving for waste treatments should be continued.

It should be stated that transformation in all waste management in Poland observed at present goes positive way, although due to certain negligence in infrastructure and organization from previous years all voivodships have still a long way to go to work out proper mechanisms and tools improving system of waste management. These actions are indispensable to raise ecologization level in the region.

Acknowledgment

This work was supported by grant 2015/19/N/HS4/02586 from the National Science Centre, Poland.

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Accepted for print: 8.01.2018
Aleksandra Lewandowska
Department of Urban Studies and Regional Development, Faculty of Earth Sciences, Nicolaus Copernicus University, Toruń, Poland
ul. Lwowska 1
87-100 Toruń
Poland
email: amal@umk.pl

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