Management of Municipal Solid Waste in Poland:Issues of Balancing Financial Flows
Purpose: The study deals with the management of municipal waste, and in particular the financial flows associated with it. The study aimed to establish what were, for the given period in Poland: a) the official regulations regarding the maximum charges for the collection of municipal waste, as well as the entitlements and the level of payment relief for the charges; b) the kinds of costs of the system of municipal waste management; c) the amount: of joint potential and actual revenues from charges for municipal waste management, annual financial flows of the system of municipal waste management, cumulated balance of the system of municipal waste management in local government units, the level of financing the costs of the functioning of the system of municipal waste management from the revenue of this system. Design/Methodology/Approach: The authors used a systemic analysis of the legal environment and financial system of municipal waste management, supplemented by a literature review and statistical analysis of numerical data obtained from the official statistics. The research covered the period 2013-2021. Findings: The authors concluded that in Poland during the studied period: (1) the real revenues from charges for the management of municipal waste showed a growing tendency (in particular over the first and the last two years of that period), however were still far removed from those possible to obtain by the municipal authorities when charged per resident and at the maximum rate; (2) the balance accumulated by the system of municipal waste management in the form of a deficit, occurred only in 2013 and 2014, with the highest surplus achieved in 2019; (3) in the cumulative approach, the system finally reached equilibrium in 2018, and in 2021 the monthly balance per capita amounted to nearly PLN 1; (4) the highest level of financing system costs was reached in 2019, while its decline in the following years was linked with turbulence in the external environment of local government units. Practical implications: In Poland, at a local level, greater attention and care should be given to the execution of charges for the management of municipal waste . However, the answer to the problem of growing current costs of the functioning of the system is not increasing the charges but rather implementing the principle where the level of incurred charges would depend on the amount of produced waste (i.e., PAYT). The gap between the potential and real monthly revenues from these charges should encourage to review the existing way of calculating the rates of such charges and to indicate those entities which in practice operate outside the system of municipal waste management, but generate waste. Originality value: Calculation and summary of the flows related to municipal waste management in Poland and indication that the revenues obtained by local government units from this management are sufficient on a global scale to finance its costs.