Separate waste collection „From door to door“ in Split- How to make it successful?

From 01.10.2014. for the second time, the pilot project of separate waste collection “From door to door” started in the city district of Varoš. Namely every 1st and 15th of the month, citizens of this district can leave their bags in front of their home doors or communal waste bin, paper in blue bags and plastic in the yellow for that purpose. From 01.04.2015. this kind of plastic and paper collection system is also applied in the district of Grad.

This way of collecting waste has proved to be extremely successful in many cities in securing a high percentage of well-differentiated waste from households; paper, plastic, glass, bio-waste etc. (for example, the city of Treviso with 85% of the separately collected waste or the municipality of Ponte nelle Alpi with 91.3%). The benefits of such a method of collecting waste are a high degree of citizens’ involvement and responsibility for proper waste disposal, as well as collection speed and possible quality control. Customizing the customer to the service in relation to the distance from the tank is excellent because the waste is disposed of in front of the household. The possibility of improper delays is low because control of the collected material is instantaneous.

On the other hand, according to the employee of the utility company Čistoća d.o.o., Split Mrs. Ljubica Vrdoljak, the amount of separately collected paper and plastic is very low. Since Mrs. Vrdoljak participated in this project in 2008 when it was completely abolished, it is not clear why experience and knowledge in the previous first pilot implementation are not used to attract citizens to participate in the project.

Since the results of the first pilot project implementation, although we were looking for them, were never delivered, we decided to follow the implementation of the second attempt. Along with Sunce employees, a trainee of the Natural Science Technical School joined the program of socially useful learning as well as a volunteer. 1st and 15th of the month, the district of Varoš was visited and the noted plastic and paper bags were recorded and photographed. The largest number of bags noted was 77. It is important to point out that the same location in the Varoš district was not always observed and that no address was observed at each monitoring site, so the number of bags is probably higher than the observed one.

The results showed that the response of the citizens was not as low as Mrs. Vrdoljak claims, adding that plastics and paper were almost 100% pure, as confirmed by the director of Čistoća, Miroslav Delić. This latter fact is important because the raw materials are better separated to ensure their further placement in recycling.

And what are the conclusions, what’s missing in this system to be more successful:

  • The collection of residual mixed municipal waste by volume, which is a legal obligation, unfortunately still unfulfilled, would encourage citizens to separate waste collection
  • The plastic bag size needs to be tailored to the needs of citizens, namely plastic bags are oversized.
  • Education, education and information-education was reduced to delivering a leaflet along with bags prior to the start of the project. It is interesting to note that no plastic bags or paper bags were found in front of any kind of educational institution in the neighborhood (kindergarten Tamarin and Madalina, the kindergarten Marjan and the elementary school Marjan)
  • Collaboration with the citizens, system adaptation, failure to notify, a variety of irregularities were observed during the monitoring, for example, bags in some districts were not collected the same day, sacks opened by bottle collectors in search of packaging for which they could get a refund, citizens never informed quantities separately collected.
  • Communal Orders and Charges – Some citizens used these sacks for disposing of other types of waste, for example, construction waste and in front of their doors. In successful cities in the separate collection of waste, for such acts, citizens are warned about and are subject to financial penalties

We believe that there is a solution for each of the above conclusions and how the utility company Čistoća d.o.o. needs to persevere in the implementation of this system.

Therefore, through this route, we invite all residents of Varoš and City to respond and participate in the separate collection of plastic and paper in the way that is provided by the system “From door to door” of utility company Čistoća d.o.o. We hope this pilot project will expand in other parts of the city of Split and achieve the results of the cities mentioned at the beginning of the article. The city of Split and its future generations deserve the recognition of the importance of environmental protection and preservation of natural resources.