The development of the circular economy is a priority for the Croatian government, and the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Energy is cooperating with local governments on the construction of separate waste collection infrastructure, which would be backed by EU grants, to ensure at least 50% is collected for reuse or recycling by 2020, unnamed ministry officials told state news agency Hina, local media reported.
The statement was in response to the European Commission’s recent report according to which 14 EU member states have been identified as at risk of missing the 2020 target of 50% recycling for municipal waste.
In 2016, Europeans generated on average 480 kg of municipal waste per person, 46% of which was recycled or composted, while a quarter was landfilled, according to the report. Municipal waste represents only around 10% of the total waste generated in the EU, but it is one of the most complex streams to manage due to its diverse composition, the large number of producers, and fragmentation of responsibilities, the report notes.
Croatia’s rate of municipal waste of landfilling among highest in EU
According to the commission’s early warning report on Croatia, the country’s recycling rate (including composting) reported to Eurostat was 21% in 2016. The rate of municipal waste landfilling was 77%, making it among the highest in the EU. Based on an analysis of existing and firmly planned policies in the area of waste management, Croatia is considered at risk of failing to meet the 2020 target of 50% preparation for re-use/recycling for municipal waste.
The assessment that underpins the early warning report concludes that: the separate collection of recyclables, including bio-waste, is not yet being carried out effectively; economic incentives for citizens and municipalities are yet to be implemented; the extended producer responsibility schemes in Croatia do not fully cover the costs of separate collection; and more investment is needed in projects higher up the waste hierarchy that go beyond the treatment of residual waste.
The European Commission has proposed actions for each of the 14 EU member states at risk of missing the 2020 recycling target. The other 13 member states are Bulgaria, Romania, Greece, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, Hungary, Latvia, Malta, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, and Spain.