Twenty organisations warn of waste sector paralysis due to poor functioning of compulsory electronic procedures

Twenty organisations representing different production and waste management activities have requested the Ministry for Ecological Transition to temporarily suspend the eSIR telematic platform that they are required to use in order to ship their waste until the correct operation of the system can be guaranteed. The use of this platform has been mandatory since September 1 but it is not operating with sufficient reliability or efficiency due to lack of processing capacity, continuous errors and difficulty of use. 

All this is making it impossible to carry out the digital procedures required by current legislation. The result is legal uncertainty and failure to meet the objectives of the legislation. The concern of producers and managers is that the current situation could lead to a paralysis in waste collection, which would have health, environmental and employment consequences.

For all these reasons, these twenty organisations have signed a letter addressed to the Spanish Secretary of State for the Environment, Hugo Morán, requesting that the mandatory application of this electronic procedure be delayed until 1 January 2022 or that the deadline be suspended until all the problems identified have been rectified. In addition, they are calling for the establishment of an alternative procedure that provides legal certainty when electronic procedures are not possible for reasons beyond the control of those required to undertake them.

It is currently not possible to carry out the procedures in question electronically. Firstly, processing times are excessive. Despite estimates made when this new system was announced that it would take less than five minutes for each document to be processed, it can currently take up to an hour per document. These times are totally unfeasible if we bear in mind that some companies have to process a thousand documents per day. Currently, well under 10% of the required documents are being processed. 

Secondly, updating of the database used by the application, the Register of Waste Managers and Producers (RGPR), is currently inefficient and the updating process is the subject of faults and errors. This updating process, which is the responsibility of the Autonomous Communities, should be constant so that all companies in the sector are included in the Register, something that is not happening at present. Finally, the platform does not currently allow the processing of waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE). All of this is generating legal uncertainty because of the failure of the ministry to provide a provisional alternative until problems that are the sole responsibility of the public authorities have been solved.

Waste management moves at the pace of waste production and if storage capacity is exceeded, the situation can result in health and environmental risks. Due to the current electronic procedures scenario, infectious waste could accumulate in healthcare activities and there are also difficulties associated with the storage of fluorescent bulbs, batteries and WEEE due to lack of space in electrical appliance shops. These problems are also occurring in industrial activities, waste management and household waste collection facilities at waste collection points. This scenario of paralysis could also result in an increase in applications for the implementation of temporary Job Retention Schemes (furlough schemes).

Organisations that have signed the letter

ACITRE – Catalan Association of Special Waste Treatment Facilities 

ACLIMA – Basque Association of Environmental Industries

AGERSAN – Association of Healthcare Waste Managers

Ambilamp  

ANAREVI – Spanish Glass Recycling Association 

ANARPLA – Spanish National Association of Plastic Recyclers 

ASEGRE – Spanish Association of Hazardous Waste and Soil Recovery Companies 

ASELIP – Spanish Association of Public Cleaning Companies 

AVEQ – Kimika – Basque Association of Chemical Companies 

Ecolec  

ERP – European Recycling Platform 

Ecoasimelec 

Ecofimática 

Ecolum 

Ecotic 

FECE – Spanish Federation of Household Appliance Distributors 

FER – Spanish Federation of Recovery and Recycling 

Fundación Ecoraee’s 

Catalan Recovery Guild

REPACAR – Spanish Recovered Paper and Board Association