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A by-product is a substance or object resulting from a production process whose original purpose is not to produce it. Such materials, if certain conditions are met, may be marketed and managed as by-products rather than waste. In order to enable by-products to continue to be used in accordance with the law, they must meet the requirements of not posing a risk to the environment or human health. These requirements are set out in EU legislation and the Waste Act. They state that the following general conditions are to be met:

– the by-products’ continued use is certain,

– they can be used directly without further processing other than normal industrial practice,

– they are produced as an integral part of the production process,

– they meet all relevant product, environmental and human life and health protection requirements, including legal requirements, for the specific use of these substances or objects and such use will not lead to overall adverse environmental, human life or health impacts.

As of 1st January 2022, recognition as a by-product will occur by operation of law, provided that the general conditions of the aforementioned conditions relating to all types of waste are met, as well as specific conditions (if they are set out in the European Union law or national regulations issued under Article 11(6) of the Waste Act). It is the obligation of the manufacturer of a by-product to submit a notification of recognition of an object or substance as a by-product to the marshal of the province having jurisdiction over the place of their manufacture. The notification must contain the following information (Article 11(2) of the Waste Act):

  1. Name and address of the entity.
  2. Tax identification number (NIP).
  3. Identification of the place of manufacture of the object or substance intended to be considered as a by-product.
  4. Indication of the object or substance intended to be regarded as a by-product and its weight.
  5. A description of the production process by which the object or substance is made and the process in which it will be used.
  6. Information indicating that the conditions referred to in Article 10 (general conditions) have been met.

The provincial marshal, by means of a decision issued after consultation with the provincial environmental protection inspector, confirms that the conditions for recognition as a by-product have been met, or finds that they have not been met. A decision confirming the fulfilment of the conditions for recognition of an object or substance as a by-product shall be issued for a period of up to 10 years.

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