Sunday, 10 April 2022

Croatia Has One of Best Waste Tire Recycling Systems in EU

ZAGREB, 10 April 2022 - Croatia has one of the best waste tire recycling systems in Europe, with more than 90% of used tires being used for materials recovery, which is above the national target of 80%, the Environmental Protection and Energy Efficiency Fund has said.

Using tires for materials recovery results in the production of rubber granulate, textile, steel and rubber chips. They are also used to make products such as rubber flooring for playgrounds, paths, walkways and running tracks.

Rubber granulate is used in bitumen mixtures for asphalt and in making artificial turf for soccer fields, floor coverings, wheels for dumpsters and garbage cans.

The steel obtained from tires is a raw material used in steelworks and the textile is used by cement factories for energy recovery. Waste tires are also an excellent source of energy and can be used to make fuel with excellent properties.

The business and research sectors have taken a step further with the aim of using recycled rubber floor coverings for a cleaner environment.

The Varaždin-based Faculty of Geotechnical Engineering and Gumiimpex, the only Croatian company that uses waste tires for materials recovery, have been implementing a research project called "Recycled rubber and solar photocatalysis: Ecological innovation for passive air and health protection".

The project, funded by the EU, is aimed at designing a product that will use natural processes - solar energy and photocatalysts - to eliminate organic air pollutants in urban areas.

A professor at the Faculty of Geotechnical Engineering, Aleksandra Anić Vučinić, notes that using recycled rubber floor coverings in the future would make the environment cleaner.

There are three tire recycling companies in Croatia - Gumiimpex - GRP, which uses waste tires for materials recovery, and the cement factories Holcim Croatia from Koromačno and Nexe from Našice, which use tires for energy recovery.

The system of waste tire recycling in Croatia was established in 2006, and it has been organised by the Environmental Protection and Energy Efficiency Fund.

In 2020, 28,480 tonnes of tires were put on the Croatian market. As much as 88% (25,066 tonnes) of waste tires were collected, and of that amount, 83% was processed, with 96% of the processed tires having been used for materials recovery and only 4% for energy recovery.

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Wednesday, 2 February 2022

Remediation of Sovjak Pit in Viškovo to Begin by End of Year

ZAGREB, 2 Feb 2022 - The remediation of the Sovjak pit near Rijeka, worth about HRK 390 million, is planned to start by the end of the year. It is estimated there is currently about 152,000 cubic meters of waste in the pit, making this one of the largest and most complex environmental protection projects in the country.

The Sovjak pit is a natural karst sinkhole that has been used since 1949 for the uncontrolled and improper disposal of hazardous waste.

It is estimated that about 250,000 cubic meters of various waste were disposed of in the pit by the 1990s. Examples include acid sludge, a waste material generated as a by-product during the production of lubricants, motor oils and asphalt, waste asphalt from coke ovens, waste oils and fuel oils from shipyards, residues from storage tanks for oil, petroleum products and others.

At a press conference on Wednesday, the director of the Environmental Protection and Energy Efficiency Fund, Siniša Kukić, underscored the complexity of the project preparation process, during which three remediation models had been proposed. The final model was selected through consultation with the citizens of Viškovo.

"The project is large and complex not only due to high costs, but also due to works taking place in the immediate vicinity of houses", he said.

Kukić also added that the contractors were required to meet the highest standards of environmental protection, adding that the safety of the residents was their priority.

Permanently remove threat to environment and residents

Sanja Udović, the head of the municipality of Viškovo, expressed satisfaction that after many years, the remediation of the pit would start.

"The project will not be easy nor simple, but it will permanently remove the threat to the environment and the consequences the residents have been feeling for decades," she said.

The State Secretary at the Ministry of the Economy and Sustainable Development, Mile Horvat, said this was a key moment for the residents of Viškovo because new green space was being created.

Primorje-Gorski Kotar County Prefect Zlatko Komadina said that the problem of the Sovjak pit was a result of decades-long irresponsible behaviour.

"The price of remediation is high, but nothing is more expensive than the health of residents", he said.

The remediation project was presented by Maja Feketić, the head of the Sector for EU Funds at the Environmental Protection and Energy Efficiency Fund, saying that the contractors selected in the public call were joint bidders GK Group from Varaždin, Slovenian EKOMO, and IVICOM Consulting from Zagreb.

Deadline 54 months

The deadline for the completion of works is 54 months. 85% of the investment has been secured from EU funds, while the rest will be covered by the Fund.

The remediation is expected to begin by the end of 2022.

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Saturday, 11 September 2021

Panel: Green Transition Must Be Just; Transport, Building Renovation Top Challenges

ZAGREB, 11 Sept, 2021 - The green transition must be just and Croatia's biggest challenges are transport and the energy renovation of buildings, heard a panel on the challenges and opportunities provided by the European Green Deal, held in Fažana on Saturday.

"There is no green transition without a just social transition," said Lidija Pavić-Rogošić, a member of the European Economic and Social Committee.

The Commission has proposed the establishment of a new social climate fund to help citizens invest in energy efficiency, new heating and cooling systems, and cleaner mobility. The Commission is proposing up to €1.4 billion for Croatia for the 2025-2032 period.

Pavić-Rogošić called for including relevant stakeholders in defining policies and for adopting solutions that met the needs of the local population.

Hana Huzjak of the European Commission Representation in Croatia said the Fit For 55 targets could be met if every individual contributed.

The Fit For 55 legislative package envisages reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the EU by 55% by 2030 from those in the 1990s, the end goal being to make Europe the first climate neutral continent by 2050.

Thanks to many hydroelectric power plants and the development of wind parks, Croatia is above the EU average in electricity production from renewables, said Dražen Jakšić, head of the Hrvoje Požar Institute, adding that transport and the energy renovation of buildings were Croatia's biggest green transition challenges.

The participants in the panel were agreed that it was necessary to educate and inform citizens about how to get involved in the green transition.

Funding for the energy renovation of buildings may be obtained via the Environmental Protection and Energy Efficiency Fund, said Tin Bašić, editor of the Zgradonač platform, adding that it was necessary to educate people that by investing in their building, they would save in the long term and have lower utility bills.

In the EU, buildings account for 40% of energy consumption and 36% of greenhouse gas emissions.

Besides having a positive effect on the environment, the energy renovation of buildings is expected to reduce the risk of energy poverty. In 2018, 17.5% of Croatian citizens could not pay their utilities in time, while the EU average was 6.6%.

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