How to segregate waste?

The most important information regarding waste segregation. Container colors, tips

How to segregate waste?

There is no doubt about it - ever business-insider finds the October K-Show'2019 in Dusseldorf (16-23 October 2019) the main event and the culmination of the this year's industry meetings in Europe’s plastics industry. Today the whole business sector faces new challenges and problems. These involve, inter alia automotive sector’s downturn which has normally fuelled the whole plastics business. There are also the raw material markets difficulties, trading which is becoming more and more complicated, uncertain and unpredictable economic environment and the largest brands’ significant cost cuts. The whole sector has thus focused on measures designed to mitigate today’s impact factors’ negative influence. Nonetheless, there is still an optimistic outlook into the future and the belief that everything is really up to us.


There is yet another issue which calls each of us to become involved - mitigation of the negative image campaign effects. Plastics have suffered the bad press has impact for quite some time.


Thus comprehensive education of all citizens in age groups has gained increased importance. This significant knowledge-dissemination campaign is to increase the general public’s idea on plastics, the complexity of aspects related to plastics use and post-consumer recycling. So let's talk about it ...


A person produces around 350 kg of waste a year, on average. Therefore, it is worth remembering how important it is to minimise waste volume.


1 July 2017 marks the new law on waste segregation; this is when the "new waste act" entered into force; actually it is the Minister of the Environment regulation which describes the detailed way of selective waste collection and waste types. The regulation became effective and thus enforced the all-Poland  Common Waste Segregation System (WSSO) whose aim is to standardise waste segregation systems in all municipalities. The system introduces the four waste categories (the so-called "fractions") along with the uniform containers labelling system for storage. According to the regulation, waste streams should be divided as follows:


- BLUE container marked PAPER - paper waste including cardboard (and packaging made of paper matter);

- GREEN container marked GLASS - glass waste (and packaging made of this material);

- YELLOW marked METALS AND PLASTICS - metal and plastic waste (and packaging from these materials, as well as multi-material packaging);

- BROWN container marked BIO - biodegradable waste, mainly bio-waste.


There is no doubt - introduction of the segregation rules requires time to become effective. This is associated with the costly containers replacement and markings, not to mention waste collection and transportation process so that it is consistent with the new system principles. Therefore, interim periods have been introduced. Thus municipal waste collection or waste collection and management contracts remain effective until 30.06.2021 even if the waste collection scheme does not comply with the new system requirements. 01.07.2022  is the deadline for all containers to meet the requirements of the Common Waste Segregation System (WSSO). One should be aware of the changes and future obligations which will generate additional costs for housing communities.


Property owners will still be able to decide whether the waste collected from their households will be segregated or mixed. The new law does not imply the waste segregation obligation, it only modifies the rules for those who voluntarily resolve to segregate waste.


The expected segregated waste collection fees increase (new containers, new collection process organisation, etc.) will trigger the automatic fees increase for the unsorted waste collection. It is obvious - unsorted waste collection fees must be higher than fees for sorted waste collection. As the result property owners (including housing communities) are offered an incentive to segregate municipal waste in "voluntary" way. By 2020 the recycling levels required by the EU must be attained.


Pursuant to the provisions of the Act on maintaining cleanliness and order in municipalities, an entity which collects municipal waste from a property is obliged to deliver selected municipal waste to an appropriate waste recovery or disposal facility. The same applies to the entity which is a selective waste collection point. Therefore sorted waste is never mixed and land-filled with unsorted waste.

Non-compliance with these obligations results in sanctions for waste collectors, there are financial penalties for mixing separately collected waste with mixed waste or for mixing separately collected waste of different types.


If the housing estate we live in has no separate collection containers, a commune, a housing cooperative and real estate administration or the housing community managers should provide such containers. Providing means for selective waste collection is the responsibility of the above mentioned bodies. We need to remember that proper and continuous waste segregation is our obligation.  


PLASTICS AND METALS (yellow containers)


What goes into this container:

  • empty plastic bottles - various drink types (e.g. PET),

  • empty plastic bottles - cosmetics and cleaning products (e.g. shampoos, lotion bottles),

  • toothpaste tubes,

  • plastic food packaging (e.g. yoghurt cups, margarine boxes),

  • plastic fruit baskets,

  • clean plastic canisters,

  • shrink film labels,

  • coffee capsules,

  • beverage and juice boxes,

  • bubble wrap envelopes,

  • plastic cosmetics, sauces, food sachets,

  • biodegradable plastic products,

  • natural rubber and rubber products,

  • styrofoam,

  • plastic bags,

  • aluminium lids,

  • aluminium foil,

  • packaging film,

  • pots, baking trays,

  • metal jars caps, caps,

  • jars twist-offs,

  • drink cans, tins.



  • empty medical containers

  • food and motor oils and lubricants packaging and bottles, 

  • paints and varnishes cans and containers,

  • weed-killer and insecticides packaging,

  • aerosol packaging,

  • CD / DVD

  • accumulators and batteries,

  • toys,

  • domestic appliances,

  • E/E used equipment



  • bottles should be crushed and uncapped before you put them into a container (not only does it save space in the container and makes it easier to transport, but also facilitates sorting plants work - caps are made of a different type of material than the bottles),

  • bottle washing is not necessary - they should be relatively clean, but minor contamination is not a problem,

  • food or cosmetics packaging come in emptied, but we do not need to wash them - unless the municipality explicitly recommends washing,

  • if a packaging has a shrink film-label, remove it if possible. Bubble wrap envelopes - you can tear off the paper and throw it into the paper container, however this is not obligatory

  • aluminium lids should be separated from containers before discarding.

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