Bulgarians to Get Rid of Old Appliances for No Money
Bulgarian citizens will be obliged to deposit their discarded electric appliances for free at fixed scrap metal yards, under a controversial bill on waste management.
The parliamentary environment commission approved the bill late on Thursday despite vehement protests by local companies, dealing with scrap metals, who say it aims to monopolize the sector by forcing many SMEs to fall by the wayside.
Bulgaria's environment ministry tabled the controversial bill to parliament eight months ago, claiming it is ramping up efforts to tackle metal theft.
The bill obliges municipalities to build their own scrap yards up to two years after it comes into force. It is namely there that all Bulgarian citizens will be required to deposit their scrap for free, otherwise they will be subject to a fine, ranging from BGN 300 to BGN 8000.
"Bulgarian citizens, like all Europeans, have the right to dispose of their belongings as they see fit. The decision whether to sell them or give them away for free is their own, this is the only democratic principle," Vladimir Dimitrov, head of the Bulgarian Association of Recycling, commented recently in an interview for Novinite.com.
The new draft of the law requires that all scrap metal yards are located on plots, which come under the so-called general development plans.
The problem is that only one third of Bulgaria's municipalities have such plans. The Danube town of Russe and the Black Sea city of Varna, for example, have attracted huge investments from companies in the sector, but lack general development plans.
The new requirement is expected to force 2000 out of all 2400 scrap metal yards in Bulgaria to cease their activities.
If the law comes into force in this version, traders in ferrous and nonferrous metals will be stripped of their licenses and forced to apply for permits, which should be issued by the environment ministry. The majority of companies from the sector however demand that the licensing regime stays since it is a successful practice few European countries boast.
The drafted legislation also bans scrap yards from making cash payments. According to the bill opponents the proposed cash-less system seeks to benefit particular banks.
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