Sunday, 20 November 2022

End of an Era: Shops to be Required to Charge for Light Plastic Bags

November 20, 2022 - End of an era in Croatia. No more free tiny little plastic bags. According to the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development, shops will be required to display the prices of the plastic bags used for fruit and vegetables.

As Poslovni writes, with the new ordinance on packaging, which should enter into force next year, the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development will introduce a return fee for packaging with a volume of less than 0.20 liters for tetrapak and which is not made of PET. At the same time, retailers will have to start charging for very light plastic bags.

The Ordinance envisages the expansion of the existing refund system with less than 0.20 liters of packaging with multi-layer (composite) packaging with a predominantly paper-cardboard component, for example, tetrapak. With plastic packaging that is not made of PET, for example, HDPE (polyethylene of high density, rigid plastic), the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development told Hina.

All products defined as "beverage" to enter the refund system

Regarding products in HDPE plastic packaging, the Ministry said that all products that fall under the definition of "beverage" are included in the refund system.

This concerns alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks, table, natural mineral water, and spring water, fruit syrups, fruit juices and nectars, milk and liquid dairy products, and other liquid products based on fruit, as well as any other substance that is packaged together with the liquid base and forms a complete unit of primary packaging.

This means that oils, detergents, and other products that are not "beverages" do not enter the refund system.

Glass bottles for alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks with a volume of 0.1 liters are included in the refund system, as well as plastic packaging with a volume of three litres or less.

The Regulation on waste management compensation and return compensation will prescribe the method of calculation and the compensation amounts. A new look for the packaging label in the return fee system is also proposed.

Very light plastic bags must be charged to consumers

The ordinance also proposes that all very lightweight plastic bags, thinner than 15 microns, used for fruit and vegetables and other bulk food, and are not currently charged in the future must be charged to consumers and that they may not be displayed and sold at cash registers.

Also, in the places where the consumer packages the goods, their price, which the seller will determine, must be displayed, according to the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development.

The aim of introducing a fee for lightweight plastic bags is to separate their uncontrolled free distribution and excessive collection, which often leads to the disposal of such bags in the environment.

In addition, the goal is to improve the use of thicker plastic bags, those with a wall thickness of 50 microns or more, because they end up being discarded much less often due to their greater mass and convenience for multiple uses. The ministry wants to encourage the use of bags made of alternative materials.

The Ministry says that the new rulebook is being adopted due to Croatia's obligations to transpose the provisions of the EU directives on packaging and packaging waste into the national legislation and on reducing the impact of plastic products on the environment.

The existing waste packaging management system should be harmonized with the Waste Management Act from July 2021.

Consultation on the rulebook until December 10

The rulebook was published on the Central Portal for public consultation, and the consultation is open until December 10. After that, the Ministry announced they would proceed with its final drafting.

The start of the application will be determined in the final version of the rulebook so that a period for adjustment will be set, and the Ministry will inform the public about the current application dates.

The Ordinance proposes measures to reduce the consumption of single-use plastic products, as well as measures related to the extended responsibility of producers of single-use plastic products and fishing gear containing plastic.

Measures are also proposed to raise awareness about the harmfulness of discarding plastic products and the availability of reusable alternatives.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated News section.

Friday, 31 January 2020

Court Suspends Waste Management Regulation, Prices to Remain Unchanged

ZAGREB, January 31, 2020 - The Constitutional Court on Thursday suspended the 2019 waste management regulation, until a final decision on constitutionality is established, and therefore waste management prices will remain unchanged for the time being.

"Even though this decision on temporary suspension does not pre-empt a final decision, we consider that this refers to a very important issue which requires special attention and a detailed debate particularly in light of the possibility of a threat to one of the fundamental values of constitutional order and that is to protect nature and environment and the constitutional right to a healthy environment," Constitutional Court Chief Justice Miroslav Šeparović told Hina.

Now that the Constitutional Court decision has been made, the cost of the services of waste management will remain unchanged, which means that cities cannot increase their price as some had announced they would.

Several cities, municipalities, utility companies and some individuals, applied to the Constitutional Court to test the constitutionality of the regulations of waste management that the government adopted in May 2017 and in September 2019 related to the Law on Sustainable Waste Management.

All the applicants proposed that until the Constitutional Court adopts its decision, the regulation and pertaining operations should be temporarily suspended, underlining that the enactment of the regulation could lead to "grave and irrevocable repercussions for consumers of public services, providers of those services as well as for local government units."

The applicants, among other things, said that the contested regulation could hamper the waste management system's functioning, and it could also lead to the model of payment of utility services contrary to the "law and EU directives."

They underlined that unclear criteria determining the ratio between the fixed and variable portions of the cost of waste collection requires a detailed opinion by the Constitutional Court and that the "introduction of ambiguously defined various groups of legal subjects brings into question the applicability of measure aimed at achieving one of its basic objectives and that is to sort waste at the doorstep."

More waste management news can be found in the Lifestyle section.

Thursday, 3 October 2019

Greenies Call for Withdrawal of Amendments to Waste Collection Regulation

ZAGREB, October 3, 2019 - Green Action activists on Thursday protested outside the Ministry of Environment and Energy, calling for amendments to the Municipal Waste Collection Regulation to be withdrawn and for Environment Minister Tomislav Ćorić to be replaced.

The amendments will result in a significant financial blow to citizens, particularly households of one or two members and small companies, they said.

The protesters underscored that they were against the ministry's unacceptable plan to force cities and municipalities to make all households pay the same, fixed part of the monthly waste collection bill regardless of whether they consist of one, two or ten members. According to utility companies, the plan would mean a significant increase in waste bills for small households and small companies.

Marko Košak of the Green Action explained that the ministry wants to make all households pay the same, fixed part of the waste bill whereas currently that part of the bill is paid based on the number of household members.

This is yet another in a series of Minister Ćorić's decisions which deal a financial blow to those who produce the least waste, and it is contrary to a fair waste management policy, Košak said.

Siniša Radiković, the director of the Pre-Kom waste management utility company from Prelog in Međimurje County, which has the highest level of waste separation and has already met the objectives set for Croatia for 2025, said that his company's excellent results were a sufficient argument for the ministry to correct the injustice that would harm the most vulnerable, one- or two-member households, and small companies.

More news about environmental protection can be found in the Lifestyle section.

Thursday, 8 August 2019

Activists Urge Minister to Close Down Marišćina Waste Management Centre

ZAGREB, August 8, 2019 - Activists who demand the closing down of Marišćina, the main waste management centre in Primorje-Gorski Kotar County, on Wednesday again urged Environment and Energy Minister Tomislav Ćorić to close the centre because the situation in it had not improved and local residents still endured an intense stench.

The activists issued a statement saying that Ćorić had promised back in March that the centre would be closed if the pollution and stench it was causing were not removed by the end of May.

"Even though measuring parameters show that all relevant indicators are within tolerable ranges, an unbearable stench has been spreading in the area of Marcelj and nearby settlements for days," the activists said, noting that the head of the company operating the waste management centre, located in Viškovo municipality, northwest of Rijeka, had apologised for the stench to local residents several times.

"Marišćina is evidently not functioning properly, it is a common landfill that only causes problems and where waste is ground in the most primitive way," the activists said, noting that problems would continue until the separation of biowaste started and that local government units should be forced to start separating it.

More news about waste management can be found in the Lifestyle section.

Wednesday, 17 July 2019

Goal to Separate 50% of Waste by 2020 Unlikely

ZAGREB, July 17, 2019 - Environment and Energy Minister Tomislav Ćorić on Wednesday said that Croatia did not embark on resolving the problem of separating waste and a circular economy on time, hence the aim of separating 50% of waste by the end of 2020 is "very ambitious."

"Have in mind that certain local governments like the one in Prelog and Krk embarked in a positive direction a long time ago and the fact is that they separate more than 50% of their waste as a result," said Ćorić after an inner cabinet meeting.

He added that others did not embark on time to resolve the problem of separating waste and a circular economy which is why the aim of separating 50% of waste by the end of 2020 is "very ambitious."

"What we are doing in the ministry and the Environment Protection Fund, through advertising tenders and education, is to have as much separation as possible," he added.

The Europe 2020 development strategy, as one of three fundamental priorities for the development of the EU, proposes sustainable growth, promoting the efficient exploitation of resources, that it is greener and more competitive. The focal point is the transition from the existing linear economy to a circular one, an economic model that ensures sustainable management of resources and extending the life of materials and products.

More environmental news can be found in the Lifestyle section.

Sunday, 12 May 2019

Protest Against Waste Management Centre Held in Koprivnica

ZAGREB, May 12, 2019 - About 100 people rallied in the northern town of Koprivnica on Saturday to protest against the planned construction of a regional waste management centre at Piškornica.

Ivan Jakupić, the head of the Green Piškornica Association which organised the rally, told reporters that the project posed a threat to a nearby water pumping site which is vital for the entire Koprivnica-Križevci County.

"The present practice of disposing waste from the whole of north-western Croatia at the Piškornica landfill, which is located only seven kilometres from the centre of Koprivnica, is unacceptable," Jakupić said.

He said that the project could not be justified because on entering the European Union Croatia undertook to sort considerable quantities of waste "on the doorstep". Such a sustainable waste management policy makes the construction of regional centres unnecessary, he added.

"We need a landfill for inert waste, that is waste that cannot be sorted. Such a landfill must not be located in the low-lying part of our county but in its hilly area," Jakupić said, claiming that Croatia had so far used little EU money for implementing a sustainable waste management policy.

"It's not clear to us what criteria the government followed to declare the Piškornica project a strategic project," he said, adding that bringing waste from other counties to theirs "cannot and must not be a strategic project."

More news about waste management practices can be found in the Politics section.

Wednesday, 28 November 2018

Waste Management in Croatia Needs Improvement

ZAGREB, November 28, 2018 - Energy and Environment Minister Tomislav Ćorić on Tuesday underscored that at the end of 2017, only 28% of waste was separated and that by the end of 2022 that has to be 60%, adding that the waste management in Croatia needed improvement.

"That's a huge job and that is something that the Environment and Energy Ministry or any other institution in Croatia cannot achieve on its own and we all have to do that together," Ćorić said addressing a conference on waste management in Croatia attended by mayors, business people and government representatives.

We wish to stress that 2018 and the second half of 2017 was a period in which we accelerated our efforts and I believe that in 2019 we will be even faster in our activities in the ministry and the Environment Protection Fund regarding waste management, he said.

Ćorić added that at that accelerated pace, Croatia can achieve a 50% rate of separated waste by 2020 and 60% by 2022. He added that he was certain that the European Commission will give Croatia an incentive in that regard.

Asked by reporters what towns were the most successful in separating waste, Ćorić said that he didn't want to single out anyone in particular. However, northwest Croatia is a leader in some matters and Slavonski Brod and the island of Krk are exemplary in that regard.

With regard to possible penalties, Ćorić explained that that depends on an entire set of categories and that no-one has made any calculations yet. Once the European Commission reacts negatively to data from a member state, it determines penalties based on GDP and other parameters.

Ćorić underscored that the total quantity of waste at the end of 2017 was more than 1.7 million tonnes. There were 88 recycling yards in Croatia then, 5 sorting stations, 31 facilities for special categories of waste, 11 compost yards and 12 bio-gas plants for the production of electricity.

He added that 401 local governments had adopted waste management plans which means that about 50 still haven't done their job and that is why they weren't in a position to apply for EU funding to finance infrastructure requirements.

For more on the waste management in Croatia, click here.

Wednesday, 7 November 2018

Green Action Warns of Rubbish on Zagreb Streets

ZAGREB, November 7, 2018 - Activists of the Green Action non-governmental organisation staged a protest performance outside the city administration in Zagreb on Wednesday to draw attention to "an alarming situation" with rubbish piling up in the streets of the capital.

The organisation blamed the situation on Mayor Milan Bandić and the Čistoća municipal sanitation utility, and demanded a controlled system of waste separation, reorganisation of refuse collection and a fair charge for municipal services.

The collection of plastic waste has been suspended after the expiry of the agreement between the municipal multi-utility conglomerate Zagrebački Holding and the CIOS company, as a result of which containers have been left overflowing with rubbish. An annex to the agreement was signed on Monday, and Mario Košak of Green Action said it was regrettable that the utility resumed its work only after pressure from the media and the public.

Green Action activists protesting outside the city administration were covered in plastic waste, wore gas masks and carried banners saying "This is the result of your (in)action" and "Zagreb, European capital of rubbish". They urged the city authorities to change the decision on municipal waste collection and the waste management plan.

Košak said that by allowing plastic waste to pile up, the City of Zagreb generated a loss for the benefit of the CIOS company. He warned that the USKOK anti-corruption body has charged Bandić over the favourable treatment of CIOS, "which is persistently engaged in the waste management business in Zagreb."

The problem of rubbish on the streets of the Croatian capital has been in the media focus lately.

To read more stories about Zagreb Mayor Milan Bandić, click here.

Monday, 5 November 2018

Zagreb Suffocating in Garbage

The streets of Zagreb are filling with garbage, and the new contract between the city-owned Čistoća utility and the CIOS waste management company has not yet been signed. Zagreb is slowly suffocating in uncollected garbage, reports on November 5, 2018.

The residents of neighbourhoods of Trešnjevka, Kruge, Maksimir, Trnsko, Špansko, Savica and many others report their buildings being surrounded with containers full of garbage. Čistoća, the city-owned company which is supposed to collect the garbage, says they do collect garbage regularly, but that the growing problem is plastic waste, which is a global problem that has now affected Zagreb as well.

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CIOS is the company in charge of the plastic waste. At least it was before the contract expired. CIOS recently said they had fulfilled their obligations and taken the agreed amount of waste. However, the new contract between CIOS and Čistoća has not yet been signed, and the negotiations are still under way. It seems that the garbage collection will have to wait until the new contract is signed.

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However, this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to garbage problems in Zagreb. This year, the Waste Management Plan was adopted, but just so that the city could nominate project to EU funds for grants for purchasing cans, trucks and other equipment. The construction of the Waste Management Centre in Resnik has been announced. The project will cost 300 million kuna, but it will not be finished any time soon.

It is no wonder then that, according to Eurostat data, Zagreb has become the European garbage capital, since just 1% of waste is recycled. According to the plan, citizens should separate waste at home, but Zagreb and Croatia are on the verge of failing to meet the EU recycling standard according to which they should recycle 50 percent of waste by 2020 and 70 percent by 2030.

While Zagreb is suffocating in garbage, Mayor Milan Bandić is on an official visit to Moscow, where Russian President Vladimir Putin has presented him with a decoration for promoting relations between Croatia and Russia.

If you want to read more about Mayor Bandić, click here.

Translated from

Thursday, 30 August 2018

Parts of Zagreb Worried about Low Air Quality

The culprit seems to be Zagreb’s main landfill.

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