Waste management

Updated last 26.03.2021

This section provides information on:

  • What is waste management and what is its goal according to the Waste Management Act (WMA)?
  • What should I do, if I am starting a business that generates waste?
  • What would happen, if I am not performing my obligations related to waste management?

It should be considered that WMA applies to:

  • household waste;
  • industry waste;
  • construction waste;
  • dangerous waste.

All waste products according to the Art. 2, para 2 WMA are explicitly excluded from the WMA regulation, such as:

  • radioactive waste;
  • waste gasses, emitted in the atmosphere air;
  • land (in situ), including non-dug, polluted soil and buildings, permanently connected with the land;
  • non-polluted soil and other materials in natural state, dug during construction activities, where it is sure, that the material will be used for construction purposes in their natural state on the ground, from which it was dug;
  • end-of life explosives, etc.;

What is waste management and what is its goal?

According to the WMA waste is any substance or object that the holder discards, intends or is required to discard (§ 1, point 17 of the Additional provisions to WMA)[1].

Household waste are:

  • mixed or separately collected household waste, including paper and paperboard, glass, metals, plastics, bio-waste, wood, textiles, packaging, waste electrical and electronic equipment, waste batteries and accumulators, and bulky waste, including mattresses and furniture;
  • mixed waste or separately collected waste from other sources where these are similar in nature and composition to household waste;

Household waste does not include waste from industry, agriculture, forestry, fisheries, septic tanks and sewage systems and from waste water treatment including sludges from wastewater treatment, end-of-life vehicles or construction and demolition waste.

This definition does not affect the allocation of responsibilities for waste management between public and private entities (§ 1, point 4 of the Additional provisions to WMA).

Production waste are waste, formed as a result of the production operation of natural and legal persons (§ 1, point 32 of the Additional provisions to WMA).

Construction waste are the waste from construction and destruction, corresponding to the waste codes, indicated in Chapter 17 of Index to Commission Decision of 3 May 2000 replacing Decision 94/3/EC establishing a list of wastes pursuant to Art. 1(a) of Council Directive 75/442/EEC on waste and Council Decision 94/904/EC establishing a list of hazardous waste pursuant to Art. 1(4) of Council Directive 91/689/EEC on hazardous waste (§ 1, point 39 of the Additional provisions to WMA).

Hazardous waste means waste which displays one or more of the hazardous properties listed in Appendix 3 to WMA (§ 1, point 12 of the Additional provisions to WMA).

Ordinance No 2 of 23 July 2014 on the classification of waste contains a detailed list of wastes (Appendix No 1).

Waste management is the collection, transport, recovery, and final disposal and utilisation (including sorting) of waste, including the supervision of such operations and after-care of treatment installation sites, as well as actions undertaken in the capacity as trader or broker (§ 1, point 46 of the Additional provisions to WMA).

Waste management is aimed to prevent or reduce the harmful impact of waste on the human health and the environment and is realized in compliance to the requirements of the legal regulation regarding:

– protection of water, air, soil, plants and animals;

– noise and odors, and

– protection of the environment and places that are subject to special protection.

What do I have to do, if I start a business that generates waste?

Classification of waste

Classification of waste

Every waste producer should undertake steps to classify waste, formed as a result of his activity, taking all necessary actions in accordance to Ordinance No. 2 of 23 July 2014 on waste classification (Ordinance No. 2/2014). The purpose of such classification is to ensure environmentally friendly waste management. The classification is carried out according to a list of waste under Art. 3, para. 2 WMA. The list of waste shall include hazardous waste, taking into account the origin and composition of the waste and, where appropriate, the concentration limits for hazardous substances. That list is mandatory for the determination of waste which must be considered as hazardous[2].

Waste producer means anyone whose activities produce waste (original waste producer) or anyone who carries out pre-processing, mixing or other operations resulting in a change in the nature or composition of this waste (§ 1, point 30 of the Additional provisions to WMA).

In case the one who caused the waste is unknown, the classification of the waste is performed by the person in whose possession the waste is.

The classification requirement does not apply to the generators of household waste, as well as to similar household waste generated by commercial sites and administrative buildings.

In order to carry out such classification, a validation of waste classification worksheets submitted by the waste producer should be carried out. The director of the Regional Inspectorate for Environment and Water (RIEW), on whose territory the respective waste is generated, is competent to review and approve the worksheets. The applicant should be the relevant waste producer.

For the purpose of the classification the waste producer is obliged to provide a written application and the following documents for each waste to the Regional Inspectorate of Environment and Water (RIEW) operating on the territory of which the waste is generated:

  • Filled-in waste classificationworksheet under Appendix 5 to the Art. 7, para 1 of the Ordinance on waste classification – in 2 copies with a specified 6-digit waste code;
  • Description of the technological process as a result of which the waste is generated, source and origin of the waste, composition and properties of the raw materials and materials used in the process;
  • Safety information sheets of the chemical substances and compounds used as input raw materials for the technological process as a result of which the waste is generated;
  • Opinion by the Regional Health Inspectorate (RHI) on the classification of waste from sub-group „18 01 waste from natal care, diagnosis, treatment or prevention in human healthcare”, where such waste exist.

Deadline for submission of documents: The deadline for submitting the documents to the competent authority is no later than two months prior the generation of the relevant waste. When a new classification of waste is required, the term is not later than two months prior the change of raw materials and/or technological processes, which lead to a change in the composition and features of the waste. The documents may also be submitted through the National Information System “Waste” (NISO) under Art. 48, para. 8 of the WMA, in connection to the Art. 7, para. 7 of Ordinance No. 2/2014.

The Director of RIEW shall issue a statement regarding the application within 14 days as of the submission of all necessary documents and statements of other authorities (for example, a statement by RHI regarding 18 01 waste). The Director may approve the worksheet through NISO, using an electronic signature, when the documents are submitted through this system (art. 9, para. 2 of Ordinance No. 2/2014).

The detailed procedure and terms and conditions for the classification are stipulated in Ordinance No. 2 of 23 July 2014 on waste classification. Because of the complexity of the procedure it is recommended to use of the Waste Classification Guide approved by the Minister of Environment and Water. The Guide is not a regulatory document and may only be used as a support tool. The main act on the grounds of which waste classification may be performed is Ordinance No. 2 of 23 July 2014 on waste classification.

Any company which business is related to generation and/or treatment of waste is obliged to keep a Reporting book. The reporting book is kept in accordance with a template and is filled-in at least once per month up to 5 days after the calendar month expires. The procedure for keeping up the Reporting books is outlined in detail in Ordinance No 1 of 4 June 2014 on the procedure and templates according to which information regarding waste-related activities is provided, and the related procedure for maintaining public registers.

According to Art. 5, para. 1 and 2 of the WMA, certain waste shall cease to be considered waste within the meaning of the WMA when they have undergone a recovery process, including recycling, and meet certain legal criteria.

Notification in case of discontinued waste generation

In case the generation of a waste is terminated, as well as in the absence of sources from which it could be generated, the waste producer submits a notification in accordance to Appendix No. 7 to the Ordinance No. 2/2014 to the director of the respective RIEW, and attaches the waste classification worksheet.

Within 14 days of receiving the notification, the RIEW shall inspect the respective site to establish the presence of sources from which the waste could be generated. When the inspection by the RIEW finds out that a waste is not generated and there are no sources from which it could be generated, the director of the RIEW notes on the relevant worksheet for the waste – “Terminated”, puts a signature and date of the inspection. A similar marking is made on the copy of the worksheet stored in the RIEW. Within 10 days from the note, the director of the RIEW shall notify the executive director of the Execution Agency Environment about the change[3].

Waste treatment

Waste treatment

Any company which generates waste (as well as the holder of waste) is obliged to treat waste independently or provide for collection, transport and treatment to entities that have the right to carry out such operations in accordance with the WMA (art. 7, para 1 of the WMA).

Where the waste are sent for preparation before recovery or to be disposed, the responsibility of the initial producer or holder shall not fall out for carrying out the whole recovery or disposed. The cases and conditions for taking responsibility by the initial producer of the waste on the whole chain of their collection to their treating, as well as for shearing or transferring the responsibility among the persons, participating in the chain for collecting and treating, shall be determined by the ordinances pursuant to Art. 13, Para. 1 and Art. 43 WMA, without concerning Regulation (EC) No 1013/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 14 June 2006 on shipments of waste. The responsibility for organization and management of mass disseminated waste shall be taken by the producer of the product as a result of which use waste are formed, pursuant to the conditions of the act and the ordinances under Art. 13, para. 1 WMA (Art. 7, para 5 WMA).Independent waste treatment is related to obtaining many permits stipulated in the WMA (art. 35 in relation to art. 67 and the following of the WMA). The delivery of industrial, construction and hazardous waste for collection, transport and treatment by entities authorised to carry out such operations is set on the grounds of a written agreement. You can check the entities entitled to carry out waste management activities in the Public registers portal.

The mayor of the respective municipality organizes the management of household and construction waste generated on its territory, in accordance with the requirements of the WMA and the ordinance under Art. 22 of the WMA. Collection, transport and treatment of household waste is provided as a service by the respective registered address of the real estate you operate. The company – either owner or user (with established right to use) of real estate is subject to taxation and owes household waste fee. The procedure for the calculation of the fee and the basis for its calculation are provided for in Ordinance by the respective Municipal Council, and the key basis for the definition of the household waste fee is the quantity of generated household waste. The fee due by each liable person is determined based on the Ordinance in each calendar year and it is important to point out that the fee calculation method for companies often differs compared to natural persons’ fee calculation method. Therefore, companies should study the procedure for the definition of this fee at the respective municipality.

The fee is paid according to the procedure and within the deadlines set out by the municipal council. The amount of the household waste fee for each obligor is determined for a calendar year in compliance with the principle of incurring costs by the producer or holder of the waste.

Once the fees due are determined and prior to conducting payments, the respective municipality informs the liable persons on the fees due by such persons for the respective period.If the owners of properties or their users have not been informed about the fees due, they should seek information from the respective municipality. Every year, by 15 February each municipality should publish on its website information on the bases adopted for the calculation of the household waste fee and the fee per one unit of waste on the basis for the current year, breakdown of the services provided and information of the quantity of waste collected and treated during the preceding year. The National Association of Municipalities in the Republic of Bulgaria summarises and publishes the information provided by all municipalities by 31 March during the current year.

Special cases Special cases

A special case is the production of products, after the use of which mass disseminated waste is generated. Mass disseminated waste are waste, which are formed after use of products from multiple sources on the territory of the whole country and because of their nature require special management. (§ 1, point 7 of the Additional provisions to WMA). Because of the special importance of the mass disseminated waste, the so-called “extended producer responsibility” has been introduced. It is related to additional responsibilities for separate collection, reuse, recycling and/or utilisation of waste (art. 13, para 1 of the WMA).

Extended producer responsibility scheme is a set of measures taken to ensure that producers of products bear financial responsibility or financial and operational responsibility for waste management as a stage of the product life cycle after its conversion into waste (§ 1, point 35 of the Additional provisions to WMA).

The persons placing on the market products, after the use of which mass disseminated waste is generated, shall be responsible for their separate collection and treatment, as well as for achievement the respective goals for separate collection, re-use, recycling and / or recovery, determined by the ordinances under Art. 13, para. 1 of WMA. The obligations may be performed independently or through participation in collective systems represented by an organisation for utilisation of the respective type of waste.

The extended producer responsibility [4] is differentiated depending on the type of the mass disseminated waste generated and is regulated by the following ordinances: Ordinance on processed oils and waste oil products, Ordinance on packages and packaging wastes, Ordinance on waste from electric and electronic equipment, Ordinance of waste from motor vehicles, Ordinance on the requirements for the treatment of waste tyres, Ordinance on batteries, automotive batteries and waste batteries and automotive batteries. These ordinances are available here. Entities launching products at the market which after use generate widely spread ordinary waste should also take into account the provisions of the Ordinance on the definition of the procedure and amount of product fee, passed by virtue of Decree of the Council of Ministers No 76 of 12 April 2016. The persons in whose burden the so-called extended producer responsibility reveals shall pay a product fee. According to the legal definition, this is the fee paid for plastic shopping bags and for products, after the use of which mass disseminated waste is generated, as well as for vehicles acquired for personal use through their introduction in the country by another country – EU member state, or their import from a non-EU country (item 7 of the Additional provisions to the Ordinance for determining the procedure and amount for payment of product fee).

The product fee should be paid by the 15th day of the current month to the account of the Environmental Protection Management Company (EPMC) at the Ministry of Environment and Water by the persons that do not participate in a collective system represented by a waste utilisation organisation or that are not performing their obligations independently.

Person with a seat in another Member State of the EU, which places on the market of the Republic of Bulgaria products, after the use of which mass disseminated waste is generated, may appoint an authorized representative – legal or natural person, with registered office, respectively with a permanent address on the territory of the Republic of Bulgaria to fulfill its obligations under the WMA and the other relevant acts on its implementation, arising from the extended liability of the manufacturer.

What will happen, if I do not perform by waste management related obligations?

The non-performance of the obligations under the WMA may lead to a number of sanctions. For example, in case of non-performance of the obligation for the classification of the generated waste or for new classification in case of change of raw materials or technological process, that leads to change in the composition and properties of the generated waste, the sole proprietor or legal entity may be fined between BGN 5 000 and BGN 15 000.

Material sanction between BGN 3 000 and BGN 10 000 is imposed on a company that violates the provisions concerning the collection, including the separate collection, storage, transport or treatment of household or construction waste and/or that violates the requirements for separate collection, transport and treatment of waste depending on the type, properties and compatibility of the waste.

There are many other sanctions that are imposed in case of breach of the waste management legislation (art. 133-160 WMA).

In case of repeated violation, the sanctions are in higher amounts.

For more information
For more information

Additional information on waste management and the related legislative framework is available on the website of the Ministry of Environment and Water.

[1] Substance or object, which are result of a production process, whose basic purpose is not their production, shall be by-product, and not waste in the meaning of § 1, point 17 of the Additional Provision of WMA, only if the conditions of the Art. 4, para 1, point 1 – 4 of WMA are observed simultaneously:

[2] Appendix 3 to WMA in connection to § 1, point 12 of the Additional provisions to WMA to be considered.

[3] As of 31.05.2021, the Ordinance No. 2/2014 has not yet been brought in full compliance with the current wording of Art. 5 of the WMA, due to which the texts of the Ordinance regarding the decisions under Art. 5, para. 2 WMA should not be applied, as the competent authority takes into account the entry into force of an Ordinance of the Minister of Environment and Water, under which certain waste ceases to be waste within the meaning of the WMA and takes appropriate actions in this regard.

[4] Producer of the product is a natural or legal persons, who according to their occupation develops, produces, processes, treats, sells, imports in an EU Member State or imports products on the market of the Republic of Bulgaria (§ 1, point 31 of the Additional provisions of WMA).