Recycling is Effective, But Only with the Support of Waste Management Centers

The Technical Minister of Environmental and Nature Protection is proposing to replace the current Waste Management Strategy without sufficient analysis, says expert on August 4, 2016.

Technical Minister of Environmental and Nature Protection Dobrović hastily wants to replace the existing Waste Management Plan that ensures Croatia a sustainable balance between recycling and disposal with a new one, for which there is still no technical, technological or economic analysis, and is contrary to the recommendations of the Waste Management Strategy - the only valid document for waste management in Croatia.

Despite the warnings coming from the European Commission, the Minister of Environment and Nature protection Slaven Dobrović plans to set the Waste Management Plan Draft as agenda on the next meeting of the technical government. If the plan is adopted, Croatia is threatened to lose 475 million euros coming from EU funds, but also risks multimillion fines for non-compliance with EU regulations for waste disposal.

"By 2020. Croatia should reach the rate of 50% separate waste collection. If we use the most optimistic calculation methodology, in the last 20 years we have achieved a rate of 24%, which means that even with the European average growth of 3-5% per year, we cannot achieve the required minimum. This is clear from the example of the Island of Krk, where it took almost a decade to reach the rate of 45%, but the rest of the waste is still sent to classic landfill. Even if we somehow manage to reach a rate of 50%, the question is what will happen to the remaining 50% of waste. And this amount will at some point have to be taken care of and treated. And it certainly will not be the through a classic landfill", explained Danko Fundurulja, vice president of HUGO (Croatian Association for Waste Management).

One of the arguments that the Minister pointed out refers to a system of circular economy and recycling, for which he claims that is the only way to meet the European directives on waste management. However, mechanical-biological treatment of waste is also a part of the overall strategy of waste management, which is based primarily on the prevention of waste treatment, followed by separation and recycling, and only then MBT technology.

"All 13 regional waste management centers that are a part of existing strategy (and part of the negotiated items during Croatian accession to the EU) and include recycling as the primary activity prior to the collection of unsorted waste. It is only after the process of prevention and separation of waste that the rest goes to waste management centers, where modern technology without any risk to the environment is used to transform the waste into energy and useful raw materials. Fuel from waste has been hailed as an alternative source of energy", said Mladen Jozinović, head of the Group of waste management centers at Croatian Chamber of Economy.

"The plan was created without a report on the amount of waste at the local level and without consultation with the local governments, which are ultimately responsible for implementing the project. The Ministry of Environment and Nature Protection in drafting the waste management plan has not developed technical and technological nor economic analysis, nor has received positive opinions from the other ministries", added Danko Fundurulja.