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Office of Competition and Consumer Protection

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Waste market - the UOKiK report

< previous | next > 28.08.2019

Waste market - the UOKiK report
  • Lack of competition, higher fees for waste processing and storing – these are the main reasons for the increase in waste management prices in the last two years.
  • UOKiK has published a report on this matter.
  • The Office analysed the situation in all municipalities with city status in Poland.

For reasons that relate to information on significant increases in waste management prices, UOKiK decided to look at this market. The goal was to investigate how considerable price increases are and what they result from. The Office examined the situation in all 302 municipalities with city status (gmina miejska) in Poland, resulting in the publishing of “The Report on Market Research on Services Related to Municipal Waste Management in Municipalities in the Years 2014-2019”.

Price increases in the years 2018 -2019

 Our analysis showed that the increase in fees paid by residents for waste management began in 2017, and then they kept increasing every year. In the years 2018 -2019, over 60% of municipalities with city status have raised or intends to raise prices. The scale of increases varies depending on the region of Poland. The largest increases were reported in the Mazovian Province, where fees in one of the municipalities increased almost three times, says the President of the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection, Marek Niechciał.

Prices were also raised considerably in some municipalities in the following provinces: Podkarpackie, Podlaskie, Kuyavian-Pomeranian, Silesian and Warmian-Masurian. The smallest increases (by 25%) were reported in the Opolskie Province. In terms of exact amounts, the residents of Józefów, Marki and Otwock (the Mazovian Province) already pay or will have to pay the most, namely PLN 32 for sorted waste and PLN 65 or 63 for unsorted waste. The smallest fees apply in Bialystok (PLN 5 and 11, respectively) and Stalowa Wola (PLN 6 and 12, respectively).

It is worth noting, however, that in none of the municipalities the fees reached the maximum level set based on the Act on Maintaining Order and Cleanliness in Municipalities. Currently, this fee amounts to almost PLN 34 for sorted waste and twice this amount for unsorted waste. Only three municipalities exceeded 90%, and seven of them exceeded 70% of this amount. The vast majority of municipalities with city status (i.e. 9 out of 10) that exceeded 70% of the maximum fee is located in the Mazovian Province.

Reasons for increases – Mazovia

The highest prices in Mazovia are the result of the lack of the Provincial Waste Management Plan (PWMP) for several years. Such Plan comes under the Provincial Assembly (Sejmik) administration. In addition, waste treatment limits provided by previous PWMP were too low, which resulted in a small number of waste disposal plants in the region, capacity shortage, and thus an increase in prices for municipal waste management.

Reasons for increases – lack of competition

Countrywide, the most common reason for increase was higher price offered by of a winner of waste management bidding procedure. Undoubtedly, this is due to legal changes that came into force in 2012. Until then, the property owner could freely choose a company dealing with the collection, transport, treatment and disposal of waste. Following the changes in legislation relating to this sector, it is the municipality that decides on such a company. Through a bidding procedure, it chooses one entity providing waste management services across its entire or partially territory (in the case of larger municipalities). Before the new regulations came into force, UOKiK had warned that they could lead to the elimination of competition between entities dealing with waste management, which would in turn result in higher prices and would make many entrepreneurs discontinue their business. This year’s analysis seems to confirm these predictions.

The number of entities that participate in bidding procedures is decreasing each year. In the past two years, only one entrepreneur has applied for contract awards in more than half of the municipalities. At the same time, wherever more companies are competing for municipal contract, residents pay less for waste disposal. By the way, in 2011, before changes in the waste management legislation, in only 8% of municipalities with city status these services were provided by one entity, says the President of UOKiK, Marek Niechciał.

Reasons for increases – cost increase

Another reason for increases in waste disposal fees as reported by municipalities was the increase in waste management costs. It is affected by several main factors, including higher marshal’s fee for waste storage and an increase in the number of raw materials that must be sorted. Local governments also often mentioned an increase in the costs of Regional Municipal Treatment Plants and incorrect waste sorting.

According to the Office, regardless of the analysis and responses provided by municipalities, one more factor should be noted, namely an increase in waste management prices throughout Europe resulting from the ban on plastic waste imports introduced by China, which used to be the world’s biggest customer for paper and plastic.

Reasons for increases – illegal agreements?

No more than 5% of municipalities considered unfair practices of entrepreneurs the main reason for rising prices. Nevertheless, UOKiK is constantly monitoring the waste management market in terms of abusing dominant position or conducting prohibited agreements, e.g. bid rigging. The Office is currently conducting six investigations. Four of them concern possible abuse of a dominant position by regional municipal waste treatment plants operating in the following provinces: Opolskie, Pomorskie, Zachodniopomorskie and Wielkopolskie. The other two proceedings concern bidding procedures in Silesia and Wielkopolska. In addition, the Office called the Regional Municipal Treatment Plants from Lower Silesia, Lubelskie, Lubuskie and Opolskie Province to account for possible unfair practices. In the absence of sufficient explanation from these entrepreneurs, the next stage will involve the initiation of proceedings. UOKiK also receives many notifications regarding high prices offered in bidding procedures. This issue is also being analysed.

The next stage of the UOKiK analysis – Regional Municipal Waste Treatment Plants

The examination of municipal waste management situation does not end the analysis of the waste market conducted by UOKiK. The second stage thereof requires an inspection of Regional Municipal Waste Treatment Plants. The Office intends to investigate their business activity in terms of market position, pricing policy, details of processing technology and the volume of waste collected.

Additional information for the media:

UOKiK Press Office
Pl. Powstańców Warszawy 1, 00-950 Warszawa, Poland
Phone +48 695 902 088, +48 22 55 60 430
E-mail: [SCODE]Yml1cm9wcmFzb3dlQHVva2lrLmdvdi5wbA==[ECODE]
Twitter: @UOKiKgovPL

Attached files


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