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Bio-waste containers are here, but where is the composting facility?

In January this year, the news spread that Čistoća Split had started placing bio-waste containers on public areas of the city of Split. Over the next three months, a total of 1,750 containers should be placed as a result of the project carried out in cooperation with The Environmental Protection and Energy Efficiency Fund and the City of Split.

We remind you that the Fund co-finances 85% of the costs of procurement of the containers for separate collection of paper and cardboard, plastic, glass and bio waste, to the cities and municipalities through EU grants. The remaining funds are provided by local governments and the Fund itself, and the total available EU funds are 370.631.802,09 HRK. These funds co-finance the purchase of containers for 412 municipalities and cities, including the City of Split. Eligible costs for the purchase of the containers for the City of Split amount to 13.541.250,00 HRK, while in accordance with the obligations under the Contract, the City of Split undertook to participate in eligible costs in the amount of 15% of funds, up to 2.031.187,50 HRK.

Bio-waste containers are here, but where is the composting facility?

Currently, all bio-waste collected in containers in public areas is disposed of at the Karepovac landfill. Čistoća Split received a permit from the Fund for disposal of a small quantity of bio-waste on a new area, to which mixed municipal waste arrives every day. This way, useful raw materials such as food, fruit and vegetable residues create greenhouse gas methane, CO2 and many other harmful ingredients. Čistoća notes that this is a period of adjustment, during which a application was announced for a concessionaire who would take over the collected bio-waste in the future.

What happened to construction of the composting facility in our county?

Let us remind you that, although the construction of a composting facility, sorting plant and the establishment of a system of separate waste collection in cities and municipalities is in The Waste Management Plan of the Split-Dalmatia County for the period from 2007 to 2015 (PGO SDŽ), Split still does not have a composting facility.

In addition, The Waste Management Plan of the City of Split for the period from 2017 to 2022 (PGO of the City of Split), as well as the previous one from 2008 to 2015, envisages the construction of a composting facility, but does not bring the necessary measures to meet legal provisions, deadlines and responsible persons / institutions / organizations, in order to achieve the set goal.

The Sunce Association has been warning for some time that the capacity of the composting facility of 10,000 tons per year is insufficient. Namely, the city of Split generates about 65,000 tons of mixed municipal waste per year, of which 30% is bio-waste. Therefore, the capacity of the composting facility just for the City of Split alone should be a minimum of 18,000 tons.

As before, most of those responsible rely on the planned Waste Management Center in Lećevica, ignoring the fact that the planned capacity of the composting facility in Lećevica is only 9,500 tons per year, which is not enough for bio-waste in Split, let alone Split-Dalmatia County.

It should be noted that now invalid PGO SDŽ foresaw 16 locations for small composting facility, namely for Vis, Hvar, Brač (Košer), Split (3), Sinj, Imotski and Vrgorac, Kaštela, Omiš, Solin, Supetar, Trilj, Trogir. Needless to say, these composting facility were never realized.

The Karepovac landfill has been remediate, containers for separate waste collection are being set up, but the percentage of waste separation is the worst among large cities and amounts to only 3.74 percent. That percentage is far from the 50 percent of separate waste we need to achieve to avoid EU penalties. At the same time, separately collected bio-waste is disposed of together with mixed municipal waste again in Karepovac. Disposal of this much quantities of garbage without adequate waste separation infrastructure could again lead to the filling of Karepovac to its maximum!

Why is the percentage of waste separation so low?

The main problem in municipal waste management stems from the fact that there is no “door-to-doo”r system in which the City would have to organize the separation of the useful part at the source, including the separate collection of biodegradable municipal waste. The waste management plan of the city of Split for the period from 2017 to 2022 envisages separate waste collection through a door-to-door system and through green islands and recycling yards. When adopting this Plan, we pointed out the fact that green islands are insufficiently efficient to achieve the goals set by the Law, precisely because of the poor quality of separately collected raw materials and the need to focus on the door-to-door system where responsibility for separately collected waste is transferred to individual / household and where the quality of separately collected waste is significantly higher.

The information we are already receiving from the citizens indicates that municipal waste is often found in bio-waste containers, which is to be expected, considering that the containers are located in public areas.

It is not clear why the City of Split does not respect its own Plan, as well as why it does not focus on the development of door-to-door waste collection systems and the construction of a composting facility. Or we are again, in another pilot project for which failure will be blamed on the citizens, because “they do not know how to behave”.

By mixing waste we create garbage, which is unecological, uncivilized, irresponsible and immoral.

In 2019, a total of 1,811,617 tons of municipal waste was generated in Croatia, which is an increase of two percent compared to the total amount from 2018. Bio-waste from municipal waste was collected separately in only 31% of local self-government units (172 local self-government units), and it is mostly waste from gardens and parks. The amount of separately collected bio-waste was 97,518 tons, or 19% of the total generated municipal bio-waste. These data show that the National Objective 1.3, from the Waste Management Plan of the Republic of Croatia related to separate collection of bio-waste, has not been reached.

There are ten active composting plants in Croatia, each of which is specific to the composting process itself. These are: Prelog, Imbriovec, Čakovec, Herešin in Koprivnica, Kloštar Ivanić, Ponikve island of Krk, Perušić, and in the city of Zagreb: Markuševac, Jankomir and Prudinec. Dalmatia still does not have a single composting plant!

In the Italian region of Veneto, which roughly corresponds to the Republic of Croatia in terms of population and local self-government units, more than 80% of waste is collected separately. This region is an ideal example of good practice, which is fully applicable to cities and municipalities in Croatia. In 2015, the Sunce Split Association organized a study trip as part of the EU project Responsible for Nature, and on that occasion the employees of the City of Split and Čistoća were introduced to good examples of waste management, including bio-waste.

As local elections are approaching, local politicians set out to race for as many votes as possible. In that race, unfortunately, they did not show that it is completely clear to them that waste management should be a priority topic of local governments in practice and it should not be (as before) only part of non-implemented plans and unsuccessful pilot projects that are done spontaneously and unplanned, without the necessary analysis of data and the situation on the ground. Because how else to interpret the installation of bio-waste containers, from which separately collected waste is taken back to Karepovac?