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Lithuania

  1. General facts
  2. National legislative framework
  3. National policies on waste
  4. Instruments
  5. Data on waste management
  6. National legislation on waste (selected)
  7. Bibliography

1. General facts

General facts
Surface area 65 300 Km²
Population (tousand inhabitans) 3 463
Population density 53 inhabitants/Km²
Average number of persons per private
household*

2.9
Passenger cars per 1000 inhabitants** 340
GDP per capita in Purchasing Power
Standards(PPS) EU25=100

48
GDP per capita (Constant prices) EUR 2 355 (at 1995 and exchange rates)
Land use*** 54% agriculture land
30% forests and other wooded land
3% buildt-up and related land
-% wet open land
-,5% dry open land
4% Water
Household characteristics by
urbanisation degree, distribution of
households % ****
-
Gross value added (GVA) -
At current basic prices and current
exchange rates (% of all branches).
26% Industry, including energy
7% Construction
32% Trade, transport and communication services
12% Buisness activities and financial services
17% Other services
6% Agriculture, hunting and fishing

Source: Eurostat, 2004 except from * 2003; ** EUROSTAT/DGTREN, 2002; ***2000

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2. National legislative framework

National acts/laws on waste management
Reference Main features
Law on Waste Management, 1998
(last amendments in 2005)
This Law shall establish the basic requirements for prevention, record keeping, collection, sorting, storage, transportation, recovery and disposal of waste with a view to prevent its negative effects on the environment and human health. The law also establishes principles of organization and planning of waste management systems.
Law on the Environmental Pollution Tax, 1999
(last amendments in 2005)
This Law shall establish the procedure and control of payment of pollution charge. The purpose of the Law to encourage with economic measures the polluters to reduce pollution of the environment, to carry out waste prevention and management, not to exceed emission norms, as well as to accumulate funds from the charge for the implementation of measures of environmental protection.

2.1 Summary of the legislation relevant to waste management

The current legislation of the Republic of Lithuania contains goals, principles and requirements as laid down in the European Community's waste legislation. Lithuania has established the so-called framework law on Waste Management, which transposes the principles of the two key European Community directives – Directive 75/442/EEC on Waste and Directive 91/689/EEC on Hazardous Waste, as well as the key requirements of other EC directives.
A set of governmental regulations and ministerial orders has been adopted to complement the legal system with more specific requirements to ensure proper implementation and enforcement. They cover both setting requirements for waste operations, as well as the management of specific waste streams, such as waste oils, packaging, batteries, PCB/PCT, end-of life vehicles and waste electric and electronic equipment.
Lithuania has endorsed the established EC hierarchy of waste management options in their legislation. The hierarchy of principles is integrated by setting requirements for waste generators and waste management companies in legislation and National Strategic Waste Management Plan. The priority is waste prevention and reduction, followed by waste reuse and recycling and finally disposal – this is the declared order of priorities in selecting and deciding upon waste management practices.

Competent authorities on waste management:

On the State level Ministry of Environment of the Republic of Lithuania is main institution that initiate legal acts regulating waste management and monitor compliance with the prescribed requirements, draft regulations for the establishment and supervision of waste management facilities and control their implementation, organize waste management planning.
Regional Environmental Protection Departments of the Ministry of Environment of the Republic of Lithuania are responsible for issuing of permits to establishments and undertakings that carry out waste recovery and disposal installations, registration of waste management companies, carrying out periodic inspection of installations, including control of record keeping and reporting. Requirements of environmental monitoring are part of the permit.
Enforcement is insured by means of fines. In case of environmental pollution, polluter is obliged to compensate environmental damage. The State Environmental Protection Inspectorate co-ordinates the activities of the Regional Environmental Protection Departments.
Some other governmental institutions have obligations in the field of waste management. Ministry of Health Care of the Republic of Lithuania is responsible for the regulation of the management of medical waste, while Ministry of Economy of the Republic of Lithuania is responsible for planning and organization of hazardous waste management.
On the Regional level County Governors are responsible for organization of preparation of regional waste management plans and co-ordination of activities of the municipalities in the field of municipal waste management.
On the local level responsibility for collection and treatment of municipal waste is placed on the municipalities. Municipalities are obliged to develop and implement plans for the management of municipal waste, including waste collection, transportation, recovery and disposal. Waste collection and management systems must be organized with the view to waste recovery and recycling. Municipal authorities must provide facilities for waste collection, sorting and transportation in cities towns and rural areas. Municipalities must ensure separate collection of glass, paper, plastics, metal, bulky waste, construction and demolition waste as well as hazardous waste from households. Within their competence the municipalities shall prepare and issue waste management regulatory acts and shall control compliance with them within their territories.

Waste planning:

The National Strategic Waste Management Plan approved in 2002 is the most comprehensive strategic document at the national level. The plan is seen as a tool to achieve waste management policy targets and meet requirements based on type, quantity and origin of waste to be recovered or disposed of in the country.
The National Plan defines strategic waste management tasks taking into account Lithuanian environmental protection policy, planned development of economy and international obligations. It includes administrative and economic measures for implementation of waste prevention, recycling and safe disposal requirements. Main waste management tasks are established for implementation of the EU Landfill, Packaging, End-of -life Vehicles, Waste Electric and Electronic Equipment and other Directives.
On the basis of the National Strategic Waste Management Plan, regional and local municipal waste management plans need to be developed. Measures in the regional plans must be set in accordance with the national plan, and municipal plans must be in accordance with regional and national plans. Most of the regional waste management plans have been completed. Some municipalities have adopted their plans and in other municipalities they are currently in the process of development.

National waste management plans
Period of implementation Main features
National Strategic Waste Management Plan, approved by the Resolution of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania, 2002 (last amendments in 2005) The main objectives of the plan are as follows:
  • to protect nature and public health from the impact of pollution with waste, maximally but rationally recovering the material and energy resources of waste;
  • to develop a rational waste management system that would meet the needs of the public, ensure good environmental quality and comply with the principles of market economy;
  • to determine waste management targets, measures and actions providing conditions for implementation of the EU waste management directive within a decade.
Transposition of landfill and incineration directives
Transposition Act/Law/decree Year of transposition Text available
(Y/N)
Language
Landfill Directive 99/31 Regulation of the Minister of Environment No. 444 on the Rules on Construction, Operation, Closure and After Care of Landfills of Waste, adopted 18/10/2000 with the last amendments in 2004; 2000 Y Danish
/
Lithuanian
Landfill Decision 33/03 Draft Regulation of the Minister of Environment on the Waste Acceptance Criterion 2005 Y Lithuanian
Incineration Directive 76/00 Regulation of the Minister of Environment No 342 on the Environmental Protection Normative Document LAND 19-99 the Main Requirements for Waste Incineration, adopted 27/10/1999;
Regulation of the Minister of Environment No 699 on the Environmental Protection Requirements for Waste Incineration, adopted 31/12/2002
2002 Y Lithuanian

2.2 Landfill and Incineration Directives

According to waste management best practice, when possible, waste that cannot be recycled or reused should be safely incinerated, with landfilling only be used as a last option. Incineration, which is rather well developed in some of EU countries, is a minor component of waste management in Lithuania. There are no waste incinerators in Lithuania designed specifically for the combustion of waste.
Lack of environmentally safe waste disposal sites is a key problem of waste management in Lithuania. In the middle of the 1990's almost 800 dumpsites were identified. The majorities of the dumpsities are smaller than 1-2 hectares and receive less than 1 000 cubic metres of waste per year, whereas the largest share of all municipal waste is disposed of at 4-5 landfills.
In order to change the current situation, Lithuania has put special efforts into the development of new landfills which meet all environmental requirements included in EC Directive 1999/31/EC. Lithuania has indicated that no landfilling will take place in non-complying landfills after 16 July, 2009. To achieve this goal, financial and implementation plans have been elaborated. 11 landfills are planed in Lithuania. They are referred to as regional landfills and will serve regions with population of 50,000 – 1,000,000. There are two very modern landfills in Lithuania for construction and demolition waste. Some waste recycling activities are also undertaken. The situation in 2004 is such that only 2 landfills comply with the Landfill Directive.
Development of landfills is closely linked to the establishment of regional waste management systems. Although landfills are one of the most important and costly parts of waste management systems, other components such as separate collection, recovery of waste are also very essential. Due to the success of waste sorting and recovery, the amount of waste ending up in landfills is decreasing. This is also the long-term goal highlighted in the legislative documents of Lithuania.
The development of regional waste management systems and the construction of new landfills are taking place parallel to the closure of dumpsites. The whole process of post-closure care of dumpsites and landfills is supervised by the Regional Environmental Authorities and Inspectorates. In practice, small dumpsites are simply covered with layer of soil cover if a risk of surface water and groundwater pollution is not identified.
Lack of safe final disposal sites of hazardous waste has also been a problem for the Republic of Lithuania. Up until today, industry must store their hazardous waste on-site until a proper final disposal site is established. Based on actual amounts of hazardous waste to be disposed of, Lithuania has decided that one hazardous waste landfill will be constructed in the country. The capacity of the landfill is approximately 19000 t/year. In addition, each municipality is required to have at least one collection site for hazardous waste from households.

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3. National policies on waste

National Context:

In Lithuania about 1 million tonnes of household waste is generated every year. According to preliminary assessment, average generation of municipal waste in the largest cities of Lithuania is approximately 300kg per capita per year. Generation is about 220 kg in smaller towns and in rural areas only approximately 70 kg of municipal waste per capita. Recorded generation of municipal waste has been decreasing continuously since 1998. The reduction is related presumably first of all stricter control at the reception of waste at the landfills including establishment of weigh bridges at the largest municipal landfills. Reported municipal waste generation currently is about 1 million tonnes per year, however, according to an expert assessment, the actual generation should be approximately 750 thousand tonne per year.
The National Strategic Waste Management Plan developed in 2002, among other important issues emphasises the principles of establishment of the municipal and regional waste management systems. Moreover, it is stated in the plan that implementation of strict environmental requirements for waste collection, recovery and disposal is possible only if those systems are large enough to provide services to a sufficient amount of economical entities and manage a substantial amount of waste. In order to increase efficiency of the overall system, municipalities are recommended to co-operate in establishing regional waste management systems. The establishment of a network of rationally arranged installations for waste disposal is perceived as one of the principal measures for creating a modern waste management system. The State supports establishment and development of such regional arrangements, through support of both national and international funds.
The Lithuanian National Strategic Waste Management Plan set the following targets for reduction of the amount of biodegradable municipal waste disposed of in landfills:

Regional Context:

There are currently 10 waste management regions in Lithuania which, either have or will have in the near future integrated regional waste management plans (RWMPs). These plans comply with the requirements of Lithuanian national legislation and policy, together with the requirements of EU waste management legislation. In most cases the RWMPs a planning horizon for future waste management facilities and services covers a forward period of 20 years, from 2004 – 2023.
Specifically the RWMPs aim to fulfil three key objectives:


The main emphasis in the currently planned regional waste management systems (and highlighted in the RWMPs) is placed on establishing new regional landfills meeting the requirements of the Landfill Directive and closure of numerous existing landfills and dumps. It is planned that in the middle of the 2009 all waste is disposed in the modern landfills and closure of old landfills is completed until 2011. Additionally, the regional projects include establishment of efficient inter-municipal institutions, upgrading of waste collection and sorting systems and improvement of financing mechanisms including establishment of tariffs and collection of charges. It is planned that establishment of regional waste management systems will be completed in 2006 though completion of some projects may be extended beyond this limit.
Another activity important for the development of waste management in Lithuania is introduction of producer responsibility principle. Amendment to the Law on Environmental Charges passed in 2002 introduced product charges for packaging and some other products but exemption is foreseen for the producers which meet recycling targets set by the Government. It is expected that producer organisations will be established later this year which will take responsibility for collection and recycling of certain waste streams, especially packaging waste. These activities should ensure meeting of recycling targets set in the Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive by 2006.
The development of the overall waste management system in Lithuania from 2006 will be aimed at meeting the targets of diverting biodegradable waste from landfills set in the landfill directive. It is assumed that set targets will be met by increasing the efficiency of separate collection of biodegradable waste and recyclables and implementation of facilities for treatment and recovery of biodegradable waste, i.e. composting. In regional waste management projects currently under implementation, construction of green waste composting facilities is foreseen in most of the municipalities; however, additional measures will be necessary in order to attain the targets set in the Landfill Directive.
However, in order to meet the stringent requirements of the Landfill Directive (and other waste targets - packaging) it is also envisaged that in the future some form of additional waste treatment will be required, i.e. incineration (with energy recovery), mechanical-biological treatment, anaerobic digestion, etc. The actual date when such additional treatment will be required will largely depend on the waste recycling participation and capture rates and particularly those related to biodegradable municipal waste
Thus, in order to meet the targets for the landfilling of biodegradable municipal waste (based on disposal figures for 2000) the Ministry of Environment have identified the need for a review of further waste treatment and disposal options in Lithuania. The project will therefore assist in the development of a Pre-feasibility Study that will include an indicative investment strategy. It is planned that the Pre-feasibility study will be prepared till the end 2006.

Biodegradable waste:

As it was already mentioned, it is defined that by the years 2010, 2013 and 2020 biodegradable municipal waste going to landfills must be reduced respectively to 75%, 50% and 30% of the total amount (by weight) of biodegradable municipal waste produced in 2000. Disposal of industrial biodegradable waste would be forbidden and companies producing such waste would have to take measures and develop recycling and recovery capacities.
In Lithuania many waste management companies have started composting activities due to a ban on the disposal in landfills of biodegradable waste from gardens, parks and greeneries,. In Vilnius, the company ''Chitinas” is even composting food waste. Biodegradable waste, as such, is not incinerated in Lithuania. However, wood waste is a source of fuel for wood-based hating systems that are quite common in rural areas, as well as, in small settlements. Composting as a waste treatment action is envisaged in all regional landfills in Lithuania. The landfills will be constructed by 2009 and composting is expected to commence at this time. Increasing the recovery of packaging materials is another opportunity to prevent paper and cardboard from being disposed at landfills. However, a precondition for this is the establishment of a proper waste sorting system that would also recover biodegradable waste.

Biodegradable waste:

At present the major part of packaging waste is mixed with municipal waste, the amount of this waste constantly increases. Packaging waste mixed with municipal waste is collected together with other potential secondary raw materials.
Producers and importers, according to the principle of producer's responsibility, shall organize collection, recycling and recovery of packaging waste from their production and implement the packaging waste management targets or pay the fee for polluting the environment with packaging waste established by the state, which is used for collection and recovery of packaging waste. However, the National Strategic Waste Management Plan assigns the task of separate collection, sorting and preparation for recycling of secondary raw materials to municipalities or delegated waste management companies.
To encourage packaging waste producers to organize a packaging waste management system, a product charge on packaging has been levied in Lithuania since 2003. The product charge has stimulated the establishment of ''producer responsibility organisations'' in Lithuania (''Green Dot” and ''Future Ecology'').
A new instrument – a deposit system for glass bottles – to increase reuse of refillable glass packaging was introduced in Lithuania in 2003. Producers have been granted a transitional period for setting up a ''take-back system'' in shops, thus the system shall begin to function.

Biodegradable waste:

Recovery % (by weight)
2002 2003 2004 2005 2006
Paper/cardboard 18 23 35 40 55
Glass 20 25 35 40 60
Plastics 2 10 16 18 25
Metals 5 10 15 25 40
Total 16 21 32 37 52
Recycling % (by weight)
2002 2003 2004 2005 2006
Paper/cardboard 16 20 30 35 40
Glass 20 25 35 40 60
Plastics 2 10 15 15 20
Metals 5 10 15 25 40
Total 15 20 29 33 43

Based on the actual amount of packaging waste generated and the availability of recovery and recycling facilities, Lithuania have developed directive specific implementation plans for achieving the targets laid down in Directive 94/62/EC and has asked for a transition period until the end of 2006.
The recently adopted Directive 2004/12/EC allows a temporary derogation with respect to meeting the targets – not later than 2012 for Lithuania.
Big investments are foreseen for implementation of above mentioned recovery and recycling targets of packaging waste. In the nearest future greatest attention would be given to introduction of municipal waste landfills construction and closure technologies, municipal waste collection and sorting facilities as well as hazardous waste incineration, stabilization and disposal technologies. In some years introduction of technologies for municipal waste incineration, biodegradable waste composting and anaerobic digestion would be of great interest. Transfer of know-how and waste management technologies from EU countries as well as participation of private companies in operation activities of waste management installations is expected. However, Lithuania has quite a high paper and glass recycling capacity, thus, these wastes are even imported.

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4. Instruments

Producer responsibility:

The waste management system is to be based on the principle of producer’s responsibility for the product’s impact on the environment, as the manufacturer exerts the strongest influence on the formation of this impact by adopting important decisions in the stages of the product and technological processes design and in production organization.

Polluter pays principle / Producer taxes:

Following the principle “polluter pays”, waste management costs must be paid by the waste holder or by the manufacturer or importer of materials and articles including packing, the use of which causes waste generation. The principle “polluter pays” shall be implemented through the system of taxes for the use of products causing environmental pollution, to ensure the allocation of the tax money for the motivation of waste collection, sorting and recovery and for the development of the waste management infrastructure. On September 2001 and January 2002 the Parliament accepted Law on Packaging and Packaging Waste and revised Law on Environmental Pollution Taxes introducing taxes on packaging, batteries, accumulators, tyres and other products.

Deposit -refund system:

Introduced in 2003 the purpose of this instrument is to reduce glass packaging waste by increasing the reuse of refillable glass packaging. Producers have been granted a transitional period for setting up a ''take-back system'' in shops.

5. Data on waste management

Waste generation and treatment in 1000 tonnes
1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003
Total waste generation - - - - - - - - -
Municipal waste generated 1546 1445 1510 1578 1236 1086 1046 1000 909
Municipal waste landfilled 1546 1445 1510 1578 1236 1086 1046 1000 909
Biodegradable municipal waste generated *850 - - - - - - - -
Biodegradable waste landfilled - - - - - - - - -
Used tyres generated - - - - - - - 3 2

Source: Eurostat Structural Indicators, *Eurostat

Waste generation and treatment in kg per capita
1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003
Total waste generation - - - - - - - - -
Municipal waste generated 424 400 421 443 350 363 377 401 377
Municipal waste landfilled 424 400 421 443 350 344 335 322 293
Biodegradable municipal waste generated *233 - - - - - - - -
Biodegradable waste landfilled - - - - - - - - -
Used tyres generated - - - - - - - 0,9 0,6

Source: Eurostat Structural Indicators, *Eurostat

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6. National legislation on waste (selected)

National regulations Exists or not (Y/N) Reference* (if available)
Landfill Y
  • Regulation of the Minister of Environment No. 217 on the Rules on Waste Management, adopted 14/07/1999 with the last amendments in 2003;
  • Regulation of the Minister of Environment No. 444 on the Rules on Construction, Operation, Closure and After Care of Landfills of Waste, adopted 18/10/2000 with the last amendments in 2004;
  • Draft Regulation of the Minister of Environment on the Waste Acceptance Criterion
Incineration Y
  • Regulation of the Minister of Environment No 342 on the Environmental Protection Normative Document LAND 19-99 the Main Requirements for Waste Incineration, adopted 27/10/1999;
  • Regulation of the Minister of Environment No 699 on the Environmental Protection Requirements for Waste Incineration, adopted 31/12/2002
BMW (Bio-degradable municipal waste) Y/N
  • National Strategic Waste Management Plan, approved by the Resolution of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania, 2002 (last amendments 2005),
  • Regulation of the Minister of Environment No. 217 on the Rules on Waste Management, adopted 14/07/1999 with the last amendments in 2003;
Packaging Y
  • Law on the Management of Packaging and Packaging Waste, 2001 (last amendments in 2005)
  • Law on Waste Management, 1998 (last amendments in 2005)
  • National Strategic Waste Management Plan, approved by the Resolution of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania, 2002 (last amendments in 2005),
  • Law on the Environmental Pollution Charges, 1999 (last amendments 2005)
  • Regulation of the Minister of Environment No 348 on the Management of Packaging and Packaging Waste, adopted 27/06/2002 with the last amendments in 2005;

These laws lay down the general requirements for packaging waste It shall also establish the rights and duties of manufacturers, importers, sellers, consumers and users of products and waste management when managing packaging and packaging waste. They apply to all producers, importers, manufacturers of packaging, sellers, consumers, users of products, and waste management entities.
End-of Life Vehicles / Tyres Y
  • Law on Waste Management, 1998 (last amendments in 2005)
  • National Strategic Waste
  • Management Plan, approved by the Resolution of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania, 2002 (last amendments in 2005),
  • Regulation of the Minister of Environment No 710 on the Rules on the Management of End of Life Vehicles, adopted on 24/12/2003 with the last amendments in 2005
Waste of electric and electronic equipment Y
  • Law on Waste Management, 1998 (last amendments in 2005)
  • National Strategic Waste Management Plan, approved by the Resolution of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania, 2002 (last amendments in 2005),
  • Regulation of the Minister of Environment No D1-481 on the Rules on the Management of the
  • Waste of Electric and Electronic Equipment, adopted 10/09/2004 with the last amendments in 2005
Batteries Y
  • Law on Waste Management, 1998 (last amendments in 2005)
  • National Strategic Waste Management Plan, approved by the Resolution of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania, 2002 (last amendments in 2005),
  • Law on the Environmental Pollution Charges, 1999 (last amendments 2005)
  • Regulation of the Minister of Environment No. 217 on the Rules on Waste Management, adopted 14/07/1999 with the last amendments in 2003;
  • Regulation of the Minister of Environment No 625 on the Rules on the Management of Spent Batteries and Accumulators
  • Regulation of the Minister of Environment and the Minister of Economy No 168/249 on the Programme for the Management of Spent Batteries and Accumulators, adopted 15/05/2002
  • Regulation of the Minister of Health Care No 239 on the Lithuanian Hygienic Norm HN 36:2002 Restricted and Restrictive Substances
Construction & demolition waste Y Law on Waste Management, 1998 (last amendments in 2005)
  • National Strategic Waste Management Plan, approved by the Resolution of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania, 2002 (last amendments in 2005),
  • Regulation of the Minister of Environment No. 217 on the Rules on Waste Management, adopted 14/07/1999 with the last amendments in 2003;
  • Draft Regulation of the Minister of Environment on the Management of the Construction and Demolition Waste

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7. Bibliography

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