Sunday, 6 February 2022

Croatian Islands Need Recycling Yards and Waste Sorting Facilities

ZAGREB, 6 Feb 2022 - The Island Movement NGO has called on the residents of Croatian Adriatic islands to dispose of and sort their waste properly so it can be transported to the mainland for recycling, while local and state authorities have been urged to create infrastructure to promote a circular economy.

"Waste disposal is a major challenge for the islands, especially during the tourist season," warned Paula Bolfan, the movement's coordinator who organised the first in a series of "island dialogues" last week.

Speaking in an online discussion on the circular economy on the islands, Bolfan cited the example of Silba island off the city of Zadar where plastic wage management is a challenge. "Retail shops that are not larger than the size prescribed by law do not have to accept empty plastic bottles, and Silba only has two such shops, leaving the island full of plastic bottles during the summer."

Antonio Viskić from the Cres Lošinj utility company, which covers the two northern Adriatic islands, stressed the importance of building a regional waste management centre, saying "we don't have a single active waste dump on Cres and Lošinj any longer, as all the waste goes to the Istrian regional centre."

"We have set up separate containers for paper, glass and plastic waste, and have built stations for the transport of mixed municipal waste from the islands and recycling yards. Also, investment has begun in a waste sorting facility at Mali Lošinj," Viskić said of the steps the two islands were taking to achieve the circular economy.

Katarina Gregov, director of the Tourism Board of the island of Zlarin, off Šibenik, spoke of the "For a Plastic-Free Zlarin" initiative. "In order to reduce our plastic footprint, we have developed an idea to replace all single-use plastic products with multi-use and alternative materials," she said.

The initiative was launched four years ago and is supported by the entire island community, including cafe, restaurant and shop owners, who stopped using disposable plastic products. This volunteer project was praised by former president Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović at an annual UN General Assembly meeting.

Irena Hrković from the Environmental Protection and Energy Efficiency Fund commended the cooperation with Cres and Lošinj, announcing that this year local government units would be able to apply for tenders for vehicles using alternative fuels and for funding to increase their recycling capacity and clean up their landfills.

Hrković said that illegal landfills were a major problem, adding that nearly HRK 28 million (€3.7m) had been spent on landfill remediation.

Professor Davor Škrlec from the Zagreb Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computing, who had dealt with the issue of the circular economy as a former member of the European Parliament, said that "the problem with waste disposal on the islands is seasonality."

"It is necessary to build sorting facilities on the islands so that waste can be properly separated and then transported to a waste processing facility on the mainland," Škrlec said.

For more, check out our lifestyle section.

Tuesday, 26 October 2021

Less Waste, More Recycling, Croatian South Still Lagging Behind North

October the 26th, 2021 - The Croatian south is still very much lagging behind the northern part of the country in terms of waste disposal, recycling and proper management.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Darko Bicak writes, the circular economy, ie waste management so that it is almost all completely recovered and reused as a raw material or fuel, has become a principle of development of the European Union's economy, which Croatia is trying to follow.

Ambitious EU targets call for at least 70 percent 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 slightly more than 40 percent of waste is collected separately in Croatia, which is a prerequisite for recycling, skeptics say that less than 10 percent is actually recycled and recovered. Problems in the waste collection system are ubiquitous in Croatia, which we're able to witness every day with the example of Zagreb.

However, the current report on municipal waste from the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development says that in 2020, 1.69 million tonnes of municipal waste was generated, or 418 kilograms per capita. This is a decrease of 6.5 percent compared to the year before, and the most significant reductions were recorded for mixed municipal and packaging waste.

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

The continuous implementation of educational activities aimed at raising citizens' overall awareness of their role in generating and preventing waste has additionally contributed to all improvements. At the same time, investments were made in the infrastructure for the separate collection of municipal waste, such as containers for separate collection from the doorstep, the construction of recycling yards, the installation of containers for separate collection in public areas, the procurement of vehicles and the construction of more sorting plants.

The share of mixed municipal waste in the collected stood at 59 percent - 998,807 tonnes. The share of separately collected municipal waste was 41 percent (694,160 tonnes). Although this is a negligible increase of 4 percent, it still lags behind the estimated planned dynamics.

Back in 2020, there was also an increase in the number of local self-government units (LGUs) in which the separate collection of biowaste from communal waste was carried out. This activity was carried out in 35 percent of local self-government units, ie 192 of them.

''This mainly regards biodegradable waste from kitchens and canteens and waste from gardens and parks. This is 118,692 tonnes or 24 percent of total generated municipal biowaste. Compared to pre-pandemic 2019, this represnts an increase of 22 percent, which still lags behind the plan for achieving the national goal,'' they emphasised from the relevant ministry.

Recycling yards reported a total of 60,146 t of municipal waste, which is 25 percent more. Bulky waste (42 percent), wood waste (22 percent) and biowaste (8 percent) were collected the most. The highest rates of recovery of municipal waste collected under the organisation of local self-government units were recorded in Medjimurje County (47 percent), Koprivnica-Krizevci County (40 percent), Varazdin County (37 percent) and the City of Zagreb (36 percent), and the lowest was recorded in Lika-Senj County and Zadar County, with 3 percent each. This means that the Croatian south is still lagging quite a lot in this regard.

64,010 tonnes of municipal waste was received for composting in ten composting plants, and although the amount of compost didn't change when compared to 2019, there was a significant increase in the quantities received by 57 percent. During 2020, a total of 941.3 thousand tonnes or 56 percent of the total generated municipal waste ended up in landfills.

In addition to 56 percent of municipal waste being 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 some other pre-treatment procedures.

For more, check out our lifestyle section.

Thursday, 21 October 2021

Pula EKO LAB: Local Students Take On Recycling for a More Sustainable Future

October 21, 2021 - EKO LAB is a place to learn, exchange knowledge, and experiment to develop critical thinking, creativity, and innovation for high school students. The program is realized through the cooperation of schools, civil society, scientists, and the community, to create conditions to create a more sustainable and responsible future together. 

In 2019, the EKO LAB project began, which funds were provided by the Office for Other Governments of the Republic of Croatia within the Croatian-Swiss Cooperation Program. The project leader was the Poreč Association for the Improvement of Life Quality, with Pula High School, Technical School Pula, School of Applied Arts and Design Pula, and the Croatian Association Interdisciplinary Artists (HUiU) as partners. As a result, the project was approved for the entire requested amount and, in the second round of the call, was the best among the approved projects.

"It all started with chit-chat at the Pula market where Petra and I met by chance. One of those brainstorming meetings when ideas just come up. So it's from one "what if we ...?" conversation that created the future EKO LAB," says Marko Kalčić, a professor of French at the Pula High School and one of the members of the Eco Board of the school.

 

Both nature lovers and those active in its protection designed and applied for the project and ultimately implemented it with partners and numerous associates. Environmental protection, i.e., the protection of our planet, should become a priority at all levels. To create a more sustainable and responsible future, we cannot and must not think about that future without young people. EKO LAB includes them.

"EKO LAB is designed as a place to meet, exchange knowledge, create, and experiment for young people to develop critical thinking, nurture creativity and have the conditions to easily come up with ideas that may become future successful green solutions," says Petra Počanić from the Zona Association.

Through the project, young people learned about the problem of plastic waste, types of plastic, reducing the use of plastic, recycling, and innovations in this area. In addition, they learned about the processes of creating new products - from understanding problems to creating prototypes - and socially responsible business. Most importantly, they were given conditions for hands-on learning as well. Namely, as part of the project, the unused space inside the school was adapted, and small machines for recycling plastic were rented - a washing machine and dryer, a crusher, and an extruder for filament. Young people were thus introduced to the recycling process. Also, 3D printers were used for prototypes of product ideas they devised during the project. Finally, the whole process was presented at the final exhibition in the Croatian Association of Interdisciplinary Artists (HUiU), as part of EKO WEEK, or sustainable development week.

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“Recycling may not be the happiest solution to the plastic waste problem at the moment. However, if young people can learn about these processes early enough, experiment, think and make mistakes, they will come up with better solutions quickly. Moreover, being able to work on machines opens up many opportunities for the development of future ideas," adds Petra.

"We ambitiously designed the project as a collaboration of three schools, with young people who have different skills, and they are connected by one thing in common - nature protection and responsibility to the community. There were many challenges, trials, and errors. Many things would be different now, but it is the essence of the project - to learn together, make mistakes and be better next time," says Sabina Damiani from Zona.

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Despite many challenges, undoubtedly the pandemic and the inability to reunite, the project found itself awarded. Studio Tumpić-Prenc designed an awareness campaign for the EKO LAB and aMORE festival on the problem of plastic waste. The campaign won gold at the European Green Award, which awards prizes for outstanding contributions to sustainable development in Europe. It was also selected for an exhibition as part of the prestigious Cannes Lions festival. Furthermore, it found itself in the company of socially responsible Great Ads for Good projects chosen by the international non-profit organization ACT Responsible. The exhibition includes the world's best works exclusively in the field of socially responsible projects of non-governmental and charitable organizations and companies in the areas of solidarity, human rights, education, and the environment.

EKO LAB continued its journey. Its longevity and development were the initial desire of the applicant. Pula High School ensured the continuation of the project through the Central European Initiative tender. In the competition of more than 70 schools, the Pula project "Plastic scholastic: towards better education and innovation on environmental sustainability" was in the top 3 and received the support of 20,000.00 euros. The plan is to additionally equip EKO LAB 3Devo with recycling machines and create even better conditions for young people at the Pula High School.

 

“We continue to work on the problem of plastic waste and disposable plastics to create new useful objects from waste in the recycling process and experiment with recycling processes. Who knows, maybe there is a new material expert or recycling process expert among our young people who will contribute to the solution of plastic waste disposal," Marko said.

The students will design new products with the Local Action Group in Fisheries "Istrian Batana." Through the project, students will better understand the goals of sustainable development of the UN, the process of joint creation, and work on a common goal for the benefit of the local community. Through the process, they will learn new skills and competencies and work together to create new products, promote social responsibility and become bearers of positive change in their local community and beyond.

"The greatest satisfaction is when a project is taken over by the community for which it was designed and continues to work on it. This is the case with the Pula EKO LAB. I am sure that Pula High School will continue its activities in the best possible way, and we will certainly continue successful cooperation and development of the EKO LAB project," concludes Sabina.

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

Monday, 20 September 2021

More Than 1.2 Million Rubbish Containers Placed in Croatian Locations

September the 20th, 2021 - 407 Croatian locations (cities and municipalities) received containers for separate waste collection from households that were procured and distributed through the Fund for Environmental Protection and Energy Efficiency recently.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/PD and VL native tim writes, to be more precise, Croatian locations received 1,230,695 various bins and containers of various volumes for the separate collection of paper, plastic, biowaste and other recyclable waste.

The containers were procured as part of a project with a total investment of around 370 million kuna, and the vast majority of this amount was provided through EU funds through the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development.

“Logistically speaking, this was a very demanding project. After the public procurement procedure was carried out and contracts were signed with the selected bidders, a schedule of activities was made and deadlines for their execution were agreed.

In the Environmental Protection Sector, several teams have been formed that have been on the ground almost every day for the past six months and in constant communication with representatives of local governments, utilities and suppliers,'' explained Aleksandra Cilic, pointing out that despite all of the unprecedented challenges the coronavirus pandemic and the earthquake presented, this project has been successfully implemented on time.

She added that they also had the professional support of other sectors and services from within the same fund, which took on a lot of work and without whose help this project couldn't have been successfully implemented.

"Now that almost every household will have the proper containers for separate waste collection, no one will have an alibi or an excuse not to do so," said Cilic.

The rate of separate waste collection from Croatia is encouragingly growing from year to year. According to the data for last year, it amounted to 41 percent, and it is to be expected that the result for this year will be even better with this newly purchased and distributed communal infrastructure.

According to Cilic, the number of Croatian household properly separating their household waste will certainly grow, but education at all levels is crucial - from utility companies engaged in the processes involved to regular citizens.

"This summer, a video of an Italian tourist who wanted to throw his plastic packaging in the designated waste container spread across social media, but after he lifted the lid, he was unpleasantly surprised when he saw that all the waste had ended up being placed in the same bag. Unfortunately, such a reckless practice of some utility companies puts a dampener on all the efforts made to establish a waste management system and it undermines public confidence in the same system,'' stated Cilic.

Regardless of such isolated cases, it is crucial that people collect and dispose of their waste separately because all useful components, especially paper, plastic, glass and bio-waste are all properly recycled or composted. It is therefore necessary to transform a take-use-discard linear economy into a true circular economy, which is why thinking about sustainable circular systems needs to be implemented across all activities and sectors, including policies, products, production processes and business models. Education and public information play a key role in all this, and many Croatian locations now having the proper means should mean there can be no more excuses.

For more, make sure to check out our lifestyle section.

Sunday, 15 August 2021

Međimurje County Champion in Municipal Waste Sorting

ZAGREB, 15 Aug, 2021 - The Croatian municipal waste sorting champions, small municipalities in the northern Međimurje County, stand next to the most advanced European regions, while the national average remains below 20% and some cities, including county seats, are still not sorting any waste.

The data comes from an Environment and Nature Protection Bureau preliminary report on municipal waste sorting in 2020.

Croatia was supposed to recycle 50% of its municipal waste by 2020, so the fact that the percentage rose from 11.52% in 2018 to 18% last year does not make experts optimistic.

Of the ten municipalities and towns with the highest sorting percentage, nine are in Međimurje County, followed by Krk island and several other cities.

Of the 556 local government units in Croatia, Belica Municipality ranks first, sorting 79.76% of its waste, followed by the town of Prelog with 70.98%.

Five local governments which sort between 60 and 70% of their waste are also in Međimurje County, as are five sorting between 50 and 60%.

In the latter group are also the town of Koprivnica and seven local government units on Krk. This island in the northern Adriatic was the first in Croatia to sort waste and is close to becoming an energy self-sufficient island without carbon emissions. The group also includes Semeljci in Osijek-Baranja County.

All those local government units have met the waste-sorting target set by the EU.

The list of local government units sorting zero of their waste is much longer, the champions being Karlovac and Dubrovnik-Neretva counties.

Plitvice Lakes Municipality, where the national park of the same name is located, is one of six in Lika-Senj County that sort zero of their waste, including the county seat Gospić.

Virovitica-Podravina County also has six local government units sorting zero of their waste, while Šibenik-Knin and Zadar counties each have five, Brod-Posavina, Sisak-Moslavina and Split-Dalmatia counties each have four, Zagreb County has two, and Bjelovar-Bilogora and Primorje-Gorski Kotar counties each have one local government unit not sorting any waste.

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Monday, 17 May 2021

Varaždin Awarded EU Grant to Build Second Recycling Yard

May 17, 2021 - The northern Croatian city of Varaždin has been awarded an EU grant of HRK 3.4 million (€453,000) to build a second waste recycling yard, which is 60 percent of the cost of the project.

The grant agreement was signed by Mayor Ivan Čehok on Monday, the city administration said.

Under the law, cities with a population of more than 25,000 are required to have two recycling yards. The Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development and the Environmental Protection and Energy Efficiency Fund will provide the rest of the funds for the second yard.

Čehok said that the second recycling yard would ensure faster, better, and more convenient disposal of all types of municipal waste.

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

Friday, 7 May 2021

Highlights of the Week: 5 Big Events in Croatia from May 3-9, 2021

May 7, 2021 - TCN's regular retrospect of Highlights of the week, through the selection of TCN's reporter Ivor Kruljac. 

President Milanović loved by locals in Plaški. Firefighters quickly reacted to the fire in Zagreb recycle yard. Pula celebrated its liberation while Šibenik received new doses of coronavirus vaccines. Dinamo and Hajduk end their match in a tie. Overall another interesting week in Croatia, and here are more details on all highlights.

 Highlights of the week: President Milanović loved in Plaški county

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© Kristina Stedul Fabac/ PIXSELL

Croatian president Zoran Milanović visited Plaški county near Ogulin on Tuesday to visit the newly-build Firefighter's home and Plaški Culture Home. The locals welcomed president Milanović with ovations, and many use the opportunity to handshake and take a photo with the president. As Večernji List reports, Milanović took the visit as an opportunity to comment on the hate speech incident at Borovo Selo. He stated that the President of Serbian National Council Milorad Pupovac and Croatian Prime Minister „should use the police, but they don't, they are causing incidents.

Highlights of the Week: Pula celebrating its liberation in WW2

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© Srecko Niketic/ PIXSELL

Pula celebrated its annual liberation day and the Pula City Day, marked on May 5. In Tito's park, the traditional commemoration to the fallen WW2 soldiers of Tito's partisan army saw Tiziano Sošić (president of Pula City Council), Elena Puh Belci (vice mayor of Pula), Aleksandar Matić (chief of the City of Pula Office) and Fabrizio Radin (vice-county ruler of Istria county) paid their respects. Representatives of associations of anti-fascist fighters and anti-fascist of the city of Pula were present too. 

 Highlights of the Week: Dinamo and Hajduk end with an even score 1:1

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© Milan Sabic/ PIXSELL

Hajduk and Dinamo's eternal opponents played another game at Hajduk's home of Poljud Stadium in Split on Wednesday. The match was the 22nd round in Croatian First League, and fans couldn't wait for it as the game was postponed.

Hajduk opened the match well and had a chance to take the lead in the first 20 seconds. Kačaniklić received an excellent long ball and ran on the right side. He rushed into the penalty area and shot diagonally, but Livaković came out and closed his corner. Dinamo improved and took the lead in the 16th minute with a goal by Majer, and Livaja returned the favor in the 44th minute. Diamantakos hit the crossbar in the final minutes of the match but without success.

After three victories in the previous three clashes with Hajduk this season, Dinamo failed to achieve maximum performance and almost mathematically secured the title but entered the last four rounds with a seven-point advantage over Osijek. The fail happened despite Dinamo facing Hajduk with the strongest possible lineup.  

Highlights of the Week: Vaccination in Šibenik continues successfully

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© Hrvoje Jelavic/ PIXSELL

Larger quantities of vaccines came to Šibenik on Friday, allowing vaccination in Baldeki Sports Hall to go without problems for the second day in the row. The vaccination attracts a number of citizens, so the area got quite crowded.

Highlights of the Week: Recycling yard in Zagreb on fire, reasons unclear

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© Matija Habljak/ PIXSELL

Zagreb's recycling yard, located on Sarajevska Cesta in Novi Zagreb, was victimized by fire but quickly localized and put under control on Tuesday. The fire caught four containers, and 21 firefighters with six fire trucks rushed to the field. Police investigated the cause of the fire, but the reason is, for the moment, unknown. Firefighters managed to operate despite the lack of hydrants, and the thick white smoke was noticed by citizens who live in the buildings close to the yard, reported Večernji List. 

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Friday, 26 March 2021

Grant Agreement Signed For Composting Plant in Metković

ZAGREB, 26 March, 2021 - A HRK 12.5 million EU grant agreement for the construction of a composting plant in the southern town of Metković was signed on Friday by Economy and Sustainable Development Minister Tomislav Ćorić and the director of the local Čistoća waste management company, Tomislav Jakić.

The project, which will be implemented as part of the Operational Programme Competitiveness and Cohesion 2014-2020, is worth more than HRK 24 million, of which 50% is co-financed by the EU.

Ćorić said that the composting plant would serve Metković as well as Opuzen and neighbouring communities.

The plant's annual capacity is 5,000 tonnes and it guarantees that biodegradable waste in the River Neretva valley will be managed in the best way possible, said the minister.

Dubrovnik-Neretva County head Nikola Dobroslavić said that Metković was the most advanced local government unit in terms of waste management.

For more about ecology in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Tuesday, 4 August 2020

Eurostat: Croatia is EU Leader in Disposal of One Type of Hazardous Waste

As Darko Bicak/Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 3rd of August, 2020, although in Croatia we often complain that we lag considerably far behind most other European Union member states in terms of waste management, the latest data from the EU statistical office Eurostat shows that Croatia is in actual fact the absolute leader in terms of the disposal of batteries and accumulators.

According to Eurostat, in the last three years alone, the Republic of Croatia has collected as much as 96% of all of its sold batteries and accumulators for recycling. The EU average in this regard is a mere 48%, and when it comes to other countries, Poland is behind Croatia with 81%, Luxembourg with 69% and Belgium with 62%. At the back of the line, with less than 40% of the collected waste of this type, lie Spain, Italy, Marla, Slovenia, Greece, and Portugal and at the very end are Cyprus and Estonia with a mark of just 30%. The market for batteries and accumulators across the EU is relatively stable and in 2010 it amounted to 176,000 tonnes, and by 2013, the year Croatia joined the bloc, it dropped to 169,000 tonnes and in 2018 it climbed back up to 191,000 tonnes.

In contrast, there is a significant increase in the amount of collected waste of this type, going from 55,000 tonnes in 2010 to a much higher 88,000 tonnes a couple of years ago in 2018. This means that the share of collected and later disposed of waste batteries and accumulators rose from 35 percent in 2010 to 48 percent in 2018, which is the last processed set of figures in this statistic.

Croatia has a relatively well-organised system for collecting this type of special waste, which takes place through seven companies registered with the Fund for Environmental Protection and Energy Efficiency (EPEEF). The biggest player here is certainly the Zagreb-based CIAK, followed by Flora VTC from Virovitica, Friš from Križevci, Metis (Cios group) from Kukuljanovo, OS from Zadar, STR akumulator from Đurđevac and Univerzal from Varaždin. The Fund points out that the system of collecting and recovering batteries and accumulators across Croatia was established back in 2007.

“A legal or natural person who places batteries or accumulators on the Croatian market of the EPEEF pays a certain fee which is used for the organisation of the entire system of the collection and disposal of this type of waste. The goal is to reduce the negative impact on the environment with such a systematic approach,'' they say from the Fund. They explain that in other management systems of special categories of waste, Croatia records very good results and has high collection rates. This sector will gain even more importance in the coming period due to the rapid development of electric vehicles, for which, in turn, the battery is a key component. According to the International Renewable Energy Agency, there are six million electric vehicles in the world today, and it is projected that this number will rise to 50 million by the year 2030. The value of this new market is estimated at around 250 billion euros by 2025 at the EU level, while the market for all other batteries will reach barely 10 billion euros by 2027.

As pointed out by the director of the Sector for Energy and Environmental Protection of the Croatian Chamber of Commerce (HGK), Marija Šćulac Domac, the key niche is electric cars and lithium-ion batteries, which are expected to grow by 8 to 9 percent annually. Currently, the demand for batteries is high. Panasonic is meeting the Japanese demand, Samsung is meeting the Korean demand, and Europe needs to find its own source. Sweden's Northvolt is the only large European manufacturer with a large factory in Poland, and France and Germany are launching an initiative to research and develop batteries for electric vehicles with an investment of between five and six billion euros.

The Zagreb company Munja is, at least as far as is known, the only Croatian manufacturer of accumulators and batteries. Zagreb's CIAK is also a significant player in the market, but it is primarily a general importer, agent and distributor for Croatia when it comes to many global battery brands such as Varta, Optima, Trojan, Faam, Miac, Leoch and others. They also have their own CIAK brand, but they don't have, at least as far as is known, production in the Republic of Croatia, and their CIAK Starter batteries arrived from the Johnson Controls factory (Varta, Optima) located in the Czech Republic.

Here in Croatia, there are other companies involved in the sector, including Grom from Velika Gorica and the aforementioned Friš that have their own brands of batteries and accumulators, but which also probably have supplies from manufacturers from abroad.

For more, follow our lifestyle page.

Sunday, 29 July 2018

Environment First: Knin To Get Recycling Yard

A 2.2 million kuna project to benefit the environment in and around Knin.

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