Is Waste Sorting in Zagreb Feasible?

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There are only 607 “green islands” in the city.

As we reported a few days ago here, waste sorting will become mandatory in Croatia in February, but, as Jutarnji list reports on November 7, 2017, things might get a bit complicated for collecting waste in the biggest Croatian city.

They interviewed several residents of one of the biggest building complexes in the city, Mamutica.
One of the residents, Lana Bunijevac, started separating waste four years ago. It was challenging at first, but she refused to give up because the recycling bins (known as zeleni otok, “green island,” in Croatia) was located right in front of her building. She still separates her waste and she has taught her daughters to do the same.

It was here that the waste-sorting pilot-project was first implemented six years ago. Groups of recycling bins were installed in front of each building entrance, residents were educated and levels of sorted waste were measured. Only 17% of Mamutica residents separated their waste in the first three months, but the number grew to 20.6% in the fourth, and the residents have continued separating their waste.

Now that the City must come up with a system of collecting and sorting waste until January 31, Mamutica should definitely set an example of how it can be done.
However, Zagreb Holding Waste Management unit (Čistoća) has rated the pilot-project unsuccessful, although, as we have mentioned, residents still separate their waste.

Activist Svjetlana Lugar says that the cooperation with Čistoća was great at the beginning – they organised panels and educated citizens and gave out biodegradable waste bins to residents.
“Čistoća workers then started delivering bins late, changing dates of picking up the sorted waste, and the paper bin in my building was full all the time because they only picked it up on Mondays,” Ms Lugar says.
The project ended up being declared unsuccessful, which would not be the case today.

Residents of nearby buildings that don’t have their own recycling bins use any bins that they can find nearby, which goes to say that residents are willing to recycle, but there aren’t enough bins.

There are currently 607 “green islands” in the city, which, if we consider the fact that Zagreb has 790,000 inhabitants, means that there is one “green island” per 1,300 inhabitants, which is definitely too much – a single person creates one kilogram of waste in one day.
Croatian Agency for the Environment and Nature – AZO has calculated that only 7.8 decagrams out of the 1 kilo is mixed waste, meaning that we are putting a lot of recyclable materials – pun intended – to waste.

Translated from Jutarnji list.

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