Industrialization, the development of science and new technologies, accelerated urbanization and population growth are factors influencing the generation of increasing amounts of waste. At the same time, modern consumption causes the accumulation of waste, especially disposable plastic waste. Disposable plastic is a growing environmental problem in our seas and oceans. Improper disposal of waste in nature and the environment increases the risk of pollution and endangers the health of humans and other living beings on the planet. Therefore, waste, ie its disposal, is one of the key environmental problems of today.
Plastic is all around us, not only in our kitchen cabinets and clothes, but also in our waters, in the sea and on the beaches. Despite the efforts made so far by the Republic of Croatia to reduce plastics, a stronger engagement is needed at all levels of government, as well as the contribution of all of us as individuals whose environmental responsibility also plays a key role in solving this problem.
Much of Sunce’s work is focused on the systematic and continuous advocacy of sustainable and responsible waste management systems in local communities in Dalmatia. It is based on modern professional and scientific knowledge, with special emphasis on the need to respect the order of precedence in waste management. Special laws and international directives and conventions, such as the Barcelona Convention, the EU Waste Directive, the EU Directive on Reduction of the Impact of Certain Plastic Products on the Environment, the Waste Management Act, the Environmental Protection Act and others, are the basis of Sunce’s advocacy and project efforts.
Therefore, Sunce Association stands for:
1. consistent adherence to the order of priority in waste management and the application of extended responsibility for producers
Waste management has its steps, and the first three, also the most important, are: (1) waste reduction, (2) reuse and (3) recycling. Local self-government units, as well as the legislator, must determine clear measures to prevent waste generation. Some of these measures are limiting the use of disposable products, finding environmentally friendly alternatives and setting up a system that would allow re-use (such as re-use centers), and easier use of reusable products.
Sunce is actively advocating for limiting the use of disposable plastics and other disposable products and ensuring the possibility of reuse wherever possible. However, modern industry has a role to play in efforts to reduce waste generation. As primary producers of preventable packaging, plastic and other waste, they should also be financially responsible for the damage caused to the community and the environment. Extended producer responsibility policies need to be more strongly implemented in international and EU policies, as well as national policies and legislation.
2. implementation of a door-to-door separate waste collection system in all appropriate environments
Sunce is committed to the urgent establishment of a door-to-door separate waste collection system wherever possible. This system enables control of waste generation and its appropriate disposal and recycling, ensures the quality of separately collected waste, encourages households to properly and regularly separate waste and reduce waste generation in general, as well as reduce the amount of waste in landfills.
3. local self-sustainability in waste management
The backbone of Sunce’s work in this area is advocating for the self-sufficiency of local communities in waste management. Examples of good practice and current scientific knowledge can help local communities to establish a waste management system that will not depend on their county or regional waste management centers. Such systems actively prevent waste generation, encourage reuse, ie separate waste collection, and sorting, which will enable efficient and fast shipment of collected raw materials to recycling companies. At the same time, they provide citizens with lower prices for municipal waste disposal and a cleaner environment.
4. timely and transparent information and education of all stakeholders
In its work, Sunce invests special efforts in timely information and education on waste management. Special emphasis is placed on the possibilities of reducing waste generation, collective and individual reuse, and the importance of proper waste separation and disposal. For many years, Sunce has been creating educational programs and projects aimed at effectively educating all stakeholders on waste management, from citizens themselves, educators, students to public servants, private individuals and other associations. It also continuously and strongly advocates the active involvement of all stakeholders in decision-making related to waste management.