Croatia among the worst EU countries in waste management”

The Zero Waste Croatia Coalition, comprised of 44 environmental NGOs gathered in the Green Forum, and 18 other associations and citizens’ initiatives, has sent today a joint suggestion for a new proposal for the Waste Management Plan 2015-2021.

The Associations welcome the announcement of the new Minister of Environmental Protection on the abandonment of harmful incineration and the construction of regional mixed waste centers and demand that the new proposal of the Plan incorporates quality measures for reducing, re-utilizing, separating and recycling waste. These are measures based on the zero-waste concept that respect the waste management hierarchy, protect the environment and not endanger the health of citizens.

The waste management plan is an implementing document that will determine the method of collecting, processing and disposing of waste in the Republic of Croatia for the period up to 2021. The previous plan was in force by 2015 and urgently needs to be introduced to improve the Croatian waste management system that has been one of the worst in the EU for years. In Croatia, only 15% of the total amount of waste is separated, by 2020 we are obliged to separate 50%, along with numerous other obligations regarding the reuse, recycling and reduction of waste disposal at landfills.

The proposal of the Plan, which was sent to the public debate last September, was based on the continuation of a backward system in which large quantities of mixed waste would be produced, which would be transported across the country to expensive megalomaniac regional centers where they would be burned and then further incinerated in cement and waste incinerators. The Zero Waste Croatia Association coalition warned that such a system would not meet its obligations and that citizens would be brought into the situation of having to pay high criminal case charges for the EU and live alongside the environment which harms the environment and endangers their health.

The Coalition of Associations expects from the Ministry to establish a quality system that takes care of the public interest and environmental protection. There is a need for a thorough system transformation based on compliance with the priority steps in waste management. That includes:

– Withdrawal from the concept of regional mixed waste centers, construction of waste incinerators and incineration in cement tanks, proved to be the most expensive and harmful waste treatment system.
– a quality system of measures to be incorporated into the new Waste Management Plan:

opening of the re-use centers,
supplying citizens with a waste separation infrastructure at home,
introduction of billing according to the actual amount of mixed waste
construction of infrastructure for sorting, composting and recycling at the local level,
a quality waste prevention plan with measures such as the ban on free plastic bags, the establishment of an effective national food delivery system, and a variety of educational campaigns that will stimulate citizens to reduce the amount of waste generated.

We urge the Ministry to take in considerations the comments of citizens and to make a proposal based on these recommendations. Additionally, to create a new Strategic Study on the Impact of the Environmental Action Plan, which will argue for conclusions. The aforementioned documents will then need to have a new public consultation and include online counseling and public exhibitions in the major cities of Croatia, to better present the proposal of the Plan and the Environmental Impact Study for the interested public.