Friday, 10 February 2023

Zagreb Waste Disposal Issues Continue With Promise of Fines This Month

February the 10th, 2023 - The old Zagreb waste disposal issues and the endless problems surrounding getting people to use the blue ''ZG vrecice'' (rubbish bags allocated for mixed waste as of October 2022) are continuing. Threats of fines seem to have fallen on deaf ears for many and now promises of not only fines but proving who is dumping what with recorded footage are now on the cards.

As Suzana Varosanec/Poslovni Dnevnik writes, the now not-quite-so-new model of Zagreb waste disposal which came in the form of ZG vrecice/bags introduced just a few months ago in order to comply with the "polluter pays more" principle and to encourage high-quality recycling is showing its first results: there is almost 30% less mixed municipal waste here in the capital, and the amount of recycled material is increasing - there's been 50% more plastic, 30% more biowaste and 9% more paper.

However, in the application of this particular Zagreb waste disposal model, it has also been shown that the effects are not unambiguous because they actually depend on the existence of the infrastructure conditions that are necessary for this model. For example, boxes placed in public areas that are under the supervision of building owners and tenants when it comes to multi-apartment buildings are an issue.

Namely, even at the level of around 90%, the model showed its efficiency when family houses are in the middle, the same is allegedly true for the very heart of Zagreb, however, problems of a different nature have manifested in the segment of multi-apartment buildings. This is actually where the biggest impact of the full application of the previously announced contractual penalty on bills for February is expected because of various errors in the sorting and disposal of the waste.

It can be considered that the ''getting used to it'' period of the new Zagreb waste disposal model has now ended and that it is moving into full implementation, which means also through the procedures for issuing the foreseen individual contractual fines for violators who don't dispose of their municipal waste in the proper blue ZG bags.

Critics of the entire thing have claimed that it will be difficult to implement these fines in a legally sustainable form in a situation where the issue of proper disposal facilities for ZG bags hasn't been solved infrastructurally, and there are still no underground containers which were initially promised.

A professor of the Faculty of Law in Zagreb, Aleksandra Maganic, believes that, if the emphasis is now on individual punishments, then it would mean that they don't dare to apply collective punishments. In her opinion, people must also make an effort of their own if the blue bags are insisted on.

"The shift from collective to individual punishment is an interesting one, but the question remains as to how it will be determined," said Maganic. If they start by checking the contents of the bags, she says, it can't be said that it isn't a legitimate way, so if they manage to find something so that the guilt is individualised, then that can be evidence. It also raises the question of whether video surveillance must be highlighted as a means of catching those evading these blue bags.

"If it were a civil law sphere of responsibility, the courts could now also use evidence that was conducted in an illegal way, for example that such videos weren't obtained with the consent of the person who was recorded, but even in that case the court can use it if there is no other evidence. At the same time, the so-called the test of proportionality between the violation of the rights of the person who was filmed and didn't give consent, and the court's position that it has been done in the interest of a higher goal (justice) must be balanced out. You've got to prove that there's a balance there to show that the evidence should be used," said Professor Maganic, adding that municipal wardens do have the right to control the contents of these waste bags.

Thus, the emphasis on individual punishment in the first steps clearly proves to be a good incentive to move away from the concept of collective punishment, to which the legal profession had some serious objections from the point of view of constitutionality.

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

Wednesday, 14 December 2022

Stricter Controls Surrounding Proper Zagreb Waste Disposal Planned

December the 14th, 2022 - Zagreb Mayor Tomislav Tomasevic has stated that he thinks that more than enough time has passed since the introduction of the new Zagreb waste disposal system and the much talked about ''ZG bags (vrecice)'', and that it's time to come down harder on those still bypassing the new rules.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, Tomasevic recently said that he really things we've had enough time to adjust to the new way of doing things here in the capital, that there are enough blue ZG bags for communal (mixed) waste being sold in stores, and that it doesn't make sense that some are still refusing to stick to the new Zagreb waste disposal rules and use the blue bags for that.

''It really doesn't make any sense that only 60 or 70 percent of people are correctly using the blue bags and the rest don't bother and thus don't pay for the variable part of the waste collection service,'' he said.

With these words, Zagreb Mayor Tomislav Tomasevic announced that from this week onwards, municipal wardens and Cistoca employees will intensify their control of the use of blue ZG bags for mixed municipal waste across the capital.

They will, he added, check whether people are actually using the blue ZG bags for the disposal of mixed municipal waste. To just go back quickly for those who might not be aware, as of October the 1st, 2023, a new collection system and a new Zagreb waste removal system was introduced, whereby a variable part of the service price is paid through the purchase or use of blue ZG bags, while the fixed part is paid through Cistoca or Zagreb Holding.

Tomasevic also announced that in January 2023, wardens and Cistoca employees will start checking waste containers that are located still on public areas, especially those where the co-owners of the buildings haven't checked with Cistoca about whether they can be removed from public areas or if they should be put elsewhere out of sight.

He didn't mention the fact that many people never received a decision from Cistoca about their waste containers remaining on public areas or the specification of an alternative location for their relocation.

For more, check out our dedicated news section.