Monday, 5 December 2022

More Changes Coming for Croatian Recycling Process, Plastic Bags

December the 5th, 2022 - There are some new rules coming to the Croatian recycling process, as well as a new ban on some of the thinnest plastic bags still available, which are typically used to carry fruit and vegetables before unfortunately often being unceremoniously discarded.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, since this year, the use of light plastic bags has been banned across Croatia because they can't be used more than once, while very light (usually transparent) plastic bags, which we most often use when buying fruit and vegetables, have remained in use. However, due to the excessive use of these bags, which after one-time use often end up being discarded in nature or on the streets, a fee for them will also be introduced in Croatia from next year.

"The price of these bags will be determined by the merchants themselves, and the purpose is to reduce their overall use. They now have the label ''use them sparingly'' on them in an attempt made to influence consumer habits. However, now the bags will have a label on them indicating their cost, so that customers know that they need to pay for them,'' said Sanja Radovic, head of the Sector for Sustainable Waste Management of the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development for HRT.

In addition to the above, a new Croatian recycling process is coming. The new regulation will change the labels printed on returnable items such as plastic bottles, which currently amounts to 50 lipa. As of next year, that price will be calculated in cents with Croatia's transition to the euro.

"The new regulation, which will enter into force next year, will then determine the actual amount for the refund in euros (cents). The second thing is that this system is being extended to include other packaging, it still only regards bottles, however, instead of the limit we had now of two decilitres equal to or greater, the lower limit will no longer exist, and the upper limit will be three litres for such packaging for drinks,'' explained Sanja Radovic when discussing the new Croatian recycling rules for 2023.

Another piece of news is that milk, which is sold in tetrapacks, will also receive a label for return compensation/recycling.

"Croatian companies, as we've seen, mostly adapt to the current situation on the market by looking for solutions. What we can see is that they tend to incorporate a greater proportion of recycled materials into their final product(s). On the market at this moment in time, we have a situation where those prices have become higher than the basic raw material,'' said Ana Falak, the director of the Chemical Industry Association from the Croatian Employers' Association (HUP).

These new bans and new Croatian recycling rules will directly affect production cuts and jobs next year.

For more, keep up with our news section.

Wednesday, 29 December 2021

Plastic Bag Ban in Croatia from January 1, 2022: How Will It Look?

December 29, 2021 - A plastic bag ban in Croatia will take effect from January 1, 2021, with bags between 15-50 microns thick the first to go. 

The Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development Tomislav Ćorić stated that plastic bags with a thickness of 15 to 50 microns will no longer be in use from January 1, 2022, and that other types of plastic bags will be phased out in the next period, reports

This includes most of the bags used in everyday shopping.

Asked by reporters about the implementation of the law on waste management related to the use of plastic bags from January 1 next year, Ćorić said that this is a law whose implementation will be delayed to allow producers and distributors to adjust.

"Bags with a thickness of 15 to 50 microns are coming out of circulation, and it is primarily a matter of respecting the directive from 2015, which went in the direction of reducing the use of bags," said Ćorić.

He emphasized that reusable, i.e., canvas and paper bags, is being promoted. However, that nylon, i.e., plastic, has unfortunately become a Croatian reality in nature, and that this should be abolished.

"In the next period, as time goes on, other types of bags will slowly recede. However, that is not the case yet; this is the first step," he said.

Ćorić stated that there was criticism from the public after the decision to withdraw some plastic bags. Still, everyone producing these bags for two years knew that they would ultimately be abolished, i.e., it was communicated two years ago that so-called medium bags would slowly go out of function.

When asked when other plastic bags will be out of use, he said that they are working to make this measure come to life first and then move towards a solution for both ultra-light and reusable bags.

“There are more and more reusable bags in stores, and that is the right direction,” he said.

To read more about lifestyle in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Thursday, 15 July 2021

After 13 Years, Croatia Bans Plastic Bags!

July 15, 2021 - The Croatian Parliament passed a new Law on Waste Management, in which Croatia bans plastic bags after a 13-year struggle! 

Jutarnji List reports that at today's session, the Croatian Parliament passed a new Law on Waste Management, which, among other things, prohibits plastic bags for carrying. Animal Friends, which launched a campaign and petition to ban plastic bags in 2008, welcomes this specific legal provision:

“The ban on lightweight plastic bags is the result of many years of efforts by associations and environmental organizations that point to the catastrophic consequences of using plastic bags. We also advocated banning the thinnest disposable plastic bags, which was not accepted, although there is a supply of reusable practical nets in stores. These thin bags are used relentlessly and should be disposed of with a collection obligation and clear regulation, which can be prescribed by bylaws.”

The Association explains that at the moment it happens that customers use the free thin disposable plastic bags without thinking when, for example, they buy only one piece of fruit or vegetable, although they can stick the price in the store to an individual product or buy in larger quantities and in bulk, and by using nets to avoid any use of plastic bags. These bags end up in mixed waste and in nature, which is why they state that only legal prohibitions and restrictions can effectively stop further environmental pollution with plastic.

Animal Friends considers this legal provision a victory and thanks everyone who has fought alongside them in these 13 years and joined the appeal to ban plastic bags.

In the beginning, when they decorated a large seedling with plastic bags on Ban Jelačić Square, which is now a larger tree on Bundek, or when they disguised the costumes of bags and indicated the necessity of a specific legal ban, they did not think that so many years would pass to the necessity of continuing a series of new and concrete positive changes.

"Each of us should be aware that by irresponsible behavior we endanger our own health and the world in which we live. Discarded plastic bags decompose, so microplastics end up in human and animal organisms. Countless times we have witnessed scenes of animals accidentally swallowing plastic bags or getting entangled in them and then dying slowly and in agony. If we want to preserve our sea, beaches, parks, and natural beauties and stop piling up garbage, we have canvas bags, baskets, and reusable mesh bags for fruits and vegetables at our disposal," explains Animal Friends.

They add that, in addition to plastic bags suffocating animals and damaging beaches and forests, their production consumes natural resources and energy, exposing production workers to toxic chemicals. Buying or taking a new plastic bag every time you go to the store directly affects the environment not only because it takes hundreds of years to decompose in a landfill but also because burning in an incinerator with other plastics increases the number of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

The new Law on Waste Management prohibits lightweight plastic carrying bags and disposable plastic products such as ear sticks, cutlery, plates, straws, beverage mixing sticks, and those intended for holding balloons, as well as containers for food and beverages made of expanded polystyrene including their stoppers and lids and products made of oxo-degradable plastic.

"Unfortunately, disposable plastic is banned only minimally in accordance with EU directives. In order to be effective as a state in stopping the use of disposable plastic, it is necessary to change consciousness and practice using reusable objects. We hope that this is just one in a series of provisions that will follow, which will stop plastic pollution and increase waste sorting because Croatia has big problems that need to be solved as soon as possible. Saving animals and the environment, preserving natural resources and ecosystems should be our long-term interest," conclude Animal Friends.

For more on lifestyle in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.