Croatian zero waste municipalities show: It is possible!

Zero waste concept is both possible and feasible and brings many benefits to cities and municipalities, as evidenced by the excellent results of seven Croatian municipalities that acquired the status of Europe's best practices gathered by the Zero Waste Europe network last year. Zelena Akcija / Friends of the Earth Croatia is proud to contribute to their success as a national coordinator of the Zero Waste Europe Network and therefore we bring a brief overview of their work and progress in the past year and also invite other cities and municipalities to join them.

As a reminder, in February last year a Zero Waste conference took place in Prelog, where, at the initiative of Zelena Akcija, city of Prelog and 6 municipalities (Goričan, Donji Kraljevec, Sveta Marija, Donji Vidovec, Donja Dubrava and Kotoriba) with about 25,000 citizens, where the public utility services are carried out by the municipal company PRE-KOM, signed a European 'Zero Waste 2020' Strategy. With this act they joined to Europe best practices map in waste management and have pledged to undertake a number of activities to achieve more goals in the reduction, separate collection and recycling by 2020. Prelog and mentioned municipalities provide door-to-door separate collection for many years now and process separately collected waste in composting and sorting facilities and recycling yards. Zelena akcija made a contribution to the improvement of their system by making a study to verify the results and offer recommendations for further improvement of the system that PRE-KOM now tries to put into practice.

In 2016 PRE-KOM has undertaken numerous activities in order to improve their already successful system. In addition to the existing bins for biowaste and free bags for useful fractions of waste (paper, glass, carton, PET / Plastic and metal packaging), some of the householdes are provided with bins for plastic and paper resulting in many households to now have four bins (organic waste, paper, plastic and mixed). The distribution of free bags for compost as a reward for the residents who separate biowaste is continued and the distribution of free bags for diapers for families with small children (under 3 years) has begun. Work has continued on the processing of bulky waste and auctioning items that have been restored, as well as on the construction of the re-use centre. Support of the Environmental Protection Fund is pending for the project to fully come to life. Education of citizens also took place and some quizzes on waste management and educational workshops for schools and kindergartens were organized.

All this has resulted with more than 3 300 000 kilograms of recyclables, more employment and lower monthly bills for citizens in 2016. Households have reduced waste disposal from 98.8 kg to 89.95 kg per capita per year. On a cummulative basis, 53.12% of waste was separately collected and processed. If we're looking only separately collected waste, the percentage is 56.27% of the total amount of waste. This is more than in 2015 (49.58%), the most in Croatia, and far above the Croatian average (17%) but also the European average (44%). Prelog leads with 60% of separately collected waste, and the cumulative results would be even better if we exclude two municipalities (Belica and Dekanovec) which recieved this service at the end of the year. With them included more than 27,000 citizens are now served by the PRE-KOM municipal company. More and more people recognize the quality and efficiency of the system PRE-KOM developed so the inclusion of households in the organized system of waste collection increased to 95.4%. The benefits of a successful system are apparent to the citizens in form of their reduced monthly bills. In addition to the many standard discounts for base rates, the base rate decreased by 6% due to income from the sale of separately collected waste. The positive trend of decreasing bills continued in 2017 with the introduction of new tariffs which reduced the residents bills by another 10%.

With this results PRE-KOM has confirmed its position as a national leader in environmental waste management in Croatia and their status among the best European practice gathered around Zero Waste Europe network. They were also recognized by the Ministry of Environmental Protection, which awarded PRE-KOM in the category of "Contribution to environmental protection of local and regional governments" and the "CROPAK" award in the category of quality management of packaging waste. We call on the Ministry of Environmental Protection that apart from these awards, they insure further progress of the system with a faster adoption of the municipal waste regulations and by setting reasonable prices for mixed waste treatment in the future regional centre Piškornica, so they do not jeopardize the positive trends in the operations of these successful municipalities, as well as other cities and municipalities.

Zelena akcija will continue its advisory activities within the Council for Waste Management and direct waste management of these municipalities to fulfill even higher goals.We would also like highlight the excellent results of Krk, Čakovec, Crikvenica, Križevci and Novi Vinodolski. As national coordinators of Zero Waste Europe network we invite them and other municipalities to follow the example of first seven croatian Zero Waste municipalities, as well as examples of more than 350 European cities and municipalities. This includes the integration of Zero Waste strategies in their local waste management plans in order to establish a high-quality waste management systems in accordance with environmental protection and the needs of citizens.


Marko Košak,
Waste Management Programme, Coordinator
Zero Waste Croatia Network, Coordinator

Zelena akcija / Friends of the Earth Croatia

26.01.17. 17:33