Less waste, more recycling, southern Croatia still lags behind the north

October 26, 2021 – The south of Croatia still lags far behind the north of the country in terms of waste disposal, recycling and good management.

As Poslovni Dnevnik / Darko Bicak writes, the circular economy, i.e. the management of waste so that it is almost entirely recovered and reused as raw material or fuel, has become a principle of development of the European Union economy, which Croatia tries to keep up with.

The EU’s ambitious targets call for at least 70% of municipal waste to be recycled by 2030, and for 2025 to ban the disposal of recyclable waste – plastics, metals, glass, paper, cardboard and biodegradable waste.

Problems in Zagreb …

Although official figures show that just over 40 percent of waste is collected separately in Croatia, which is a prerequisite for recycling, skeptics say less than 10 percent is actually recycled and recovered. Problems in the waste collection system are ubiquitous in Croatia, which we can witness every day with the example of Zagreb.

However, the current report on municipal waste from the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development indicates that in 2020, 1.69 million tonnes of municipal waste was generated, or 418 kilograms per capita. This is a decrease of 6.5% from the previous year, and the largest reductions were recorded for mixed municipal waste and packaging waste.

According to the relevant ministry, one of the important factors that influenced the reduction in the total amount of municipal waste generated is the coronavirus pandemic, which significantly reduced the work of the service sector in 2020 – closure of restaurants, less tourism , a huge reduction in the number of overnight stays, etc.

The continued implementation of educational activities aimed at raising citizens’ awareness of their role in waste generation and prevention has also contributed to all the improvements. At the same time, investments were made in the infrastructure for the separate collection of municipal waste, such as containers for selective collection at the doorstep, the construction of recycling parks, the installation of containers for separate collection in public places, the purchase of vehicles and the construction of more sorting plants.

The share of municipal mixed waste in collection was 59 percent – 998,807 tonnes. The share of municipal waste collected separately was 41 percent (694,160 tonnes). Although this is a negligible 4 percent increase, it still lags behind the estimated expected momentum.

In 2020, there was also an increase in the number of local self-government units (UGL) in which the separate collection of bio-waste from municipal waste was carried out. This activity was carried out in 35% of local communities, or 192 of them.

This is mainly biodegradable waste from kitchens and canteens and waste from gardens and parks. This represents 118,692 tonnes or 24 percent of the total municipal bio-waste generated. Compared to the pre-pandemic 2019, this represents an increase of 22%, which is still behind the plan to achieve the national goal, ” they said from the ministry concerned.

Recycling yards declared a total of 60,146 t of municipal waste, or 25% more. Bulky items (42%), wood waste (22%) and bio-waste (8%) were the most collected. The highest recovery rates for municipal waste collected within the framework of the organization of local self-government units were recorded in Medjimurje County (47%), Koprivnica-Krizevci County (40%), of Varazdin (37%) and the city of Zagreb (36 percent), and the lowest was recorded in the counties of Lika-Senj and Zadar, with 3 percent each. This means that southern Croatia is still far behind in this regard.

64,010 tonnes of municipal waste was received for composting at ten composting plants, and although the amount of compost has not changed from 2019, there has been a significant increase in the amounts received by 57%. In 2020, a total of 941.3 thousand tonnes or 56% of the total municipal waste generated ended up in landfills.

In addition to 56 percent of municipal waste sent for disposal and 34 percent sent for recovery, 9 percent of municipal waste was sent to mechanical-biological waste treatment plants (MBO plants), while the remaining 1 percent went to other pretreatments. procedures.

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