The Croatian Government adopted the Waste Management Plan for the 2017-2022 period which, according to officials, should enable the development of the recycling industry and the creation of new jobs.
The Plan regulates the collection and recycling of municipal waste. Its integral part is the Waste Prevention Plan, reads the press release published on the Croatian Ministry of Environmental Protection and Energy website. It introduces measures for separate waste collection at its source, waste separation and incentives for composting of waste at the household and local level.
The backbone of the Waste Management Plan consists of recycling yards and recycling centres with sorting and composting in which the waste will be prepared for recycling. The capacities and facilities of the waste management centres which are to be built will have to be in line with the goals of the Plan. A feasibility study will be required for each waste management centre.
Some of the most important measures are the incentives for separating paper, cardboard, metal, glass, plastic and biodegradable waste. The Plan also envisages incentives for home and municipal composting, IT support to waste streams monitoring and a series of educational and informative measures.
The Croatian minister of Environmental Protection and Energy Slaven Dobrović stressed that the Waste Management Plan for the period from 2017 to 2022 will enable the development of the recycling industry, creating new “green” jobs, as well as the fulfilment of the commitments of Croatia as a member of the European Union (EU) in terms of recycling.
“Waste prevention, reuse, recycling and composting are the most important measures of the Plan. Other important measures include a separate collection of waste at the doorstep, the introduction of incentives in the collection of public waste management services according to the composition and quantity, as well as the introduction of municipal waste disposal fees,” said minister Slaven Dobrović.
During the last year, the Plan was the subject of public debate twice. After the negative reactions that came from the Croatian Association for Waste Management (HUGO) and the Group of Waste Management Centres at the Croatian Chamber of Commerce (HGK), as well as the European Commission itself, the first version of the plan was returned for revision. The final version was presented to the public in November last year.
Plan as prerequisite for EU funds access
The critics of the first version of the document claimed that if the Plan was adopted, Croatia would be faced with the loss of EUR 475 million from EU funds, but also with “multimillion fines to be paid by the citizens due to non-compliance with the waste disposal regulations”. The new version of the Plan is in accordance with the EU’s Waste Framework Directive, the officials claim.
Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenković argues that the adoption of the Plan is an important prerequisite for the use of the funds from the Operational Programme Competitiveness and Cohesion, which provides about EUR 475 million to finance the waste management sector.
“We are creating the preconditions to keep pace with the circular economy, a new concept that takes into account the development of industry and economy, but also takes care of environmental protection at the EU level thus creating new jobs,” said Plenković.
According to the EU’s Waste Framework Directive, Croatia is expected to reach a separate waste collection rate of 50% by 2020, including glass, plastic, paper and metal.