Zagreb: EU Capital of trash!

Green Action / FoE Croatia activists organized a protest performance just before a City hall meeting on 18th February, saying Zagreb is undoubtedly the worst European capital regarding waste management!

That was published in a report by the European Commission, which has compared waste separation and recycling in EU capitals in 2015. The bad result is a consequence of a misdirected city policy, which has been promoting mixing and incineration, while ignoring separation and recycling of waste. We demand the city government adopts a citizen- and eco-friendly Waste management plan.

In order to demonstrate a disastrous result of Zagreb, where only 1 percent of communal waste is collected separately, activists have displayed a banner saying “Zagreb: EU Capital of Waste!” during the performance. At the same time, they displayed a chart comparing Zagreb to Ljubljana, which has been called the first EU Zero Waste Capital because it separates and recycles more than 60 percent of waste produced. Ratios of waste separation during the last 10 years have been displayed on a timeline, showing Zagreb in stagnation at 1 percent and Ljubljana growing from 8 to 65 percent.

During today’s City hall meeting, waste was a major topic. Analysis of the waste management system in Ljubljana have been given out to the representatives as they were arriving to the meeting, and it was demanded they argue in favour of a Waste management plan which would introduce a similar system.

Activists have vividly highlighted key steps which were needed for the introduction of a high-quality system in Ljubljana, which included dismissing the idea of waste incineration, introducing waste separation at the doorstep, opening a reuse centre and developing a high-quality and systematic educational campaign. Simultaneously, Zagreb has been trying to push the construction of a waste incinerator, while systematically ignoring waste separation and recycling by giving out inefficient and far-off containers and by charging unfairly for mixed waste removal, so the current state doesn’t surprise.

City utility company Čistoća, whose work report will be debated at the meeting, has been offering a low-quality service and illegally charging for waste removal for years. Citizens can neither choose the size of their containers, nor they can choose how often waste will be transported away, so usually it’s mostly empty bins that are emptied several times a week in order to charge them as much as possible. At the same time, waste cannot be easily separated because containers for separate household waste disposal are both too small and too far away, while recycling yards often overflow and there is fewer of them than it’s required by law. By the lack of containers for separate waste collection and by producing large amounts of mixed waste, which is accumulated on landfills, harm is caused to the environment, while such negligence might soon result in a price increase for citizens because targets for waste separation and reduction of disposal at the landfill are not met.

Even though there are countless examples of high-quality systems set up in cities bigger than Zagreb, such as Berlin, London, Milano, Prague, Dublin, Treviso etc., the city government, while adopting the Waste management plan in 2014, lacked political will and even abolished the water protection zone in order to build a waste incinerator. Since the said Waste management plan is no longer in effect, we demand the city government drops the idea of the incinerator and opts for a waste management plan which will secure containers for separate collection of recyclable and biodegradable waste at the doorstep, and which will allow citizens to choose the volume of the containers which is suitable for them and also choose the frequency of waste collection. That would establish a fair charging system and allow citizens to form the amount on their own bills, while also improving the amounts of separately collected waste.


The report by European commission on separate waste collection in the EU:

23.02.16. 18:14