The Ministry of Environmental Protection has invited recyclers and reusable plastic bag producers to apply for the 2018 subsidies, to be earmarked under the 2019 state budget, which is to be prepared later this year.
The recycling subsidies are available to licensed operators of waste reuse and waste treatment facilities, including those using waste as secondary raw material and waste-to-energy facilities. The types of waste the subsidies refer to include scrap tires, waste oils other than waste cooking oil, industrial and other batteries, and electrical and electronic waste.
Producers of reusable plastic bags of over 20 microns in thickness stand to get subsidies of RSD 6,010 (about EUR 50) per metric ton, while manufacturers of such bags that also contain biodegradable additives are eligible to receive RSD 8,414 (approximately EUR 70) per metric ton.
The recycling industry has warned that Serbia has no predictable environmental financing framework and that the state sets aside insufficient funds for the purpose, including for recycling subsidies. There have been repeated calls for boosting the ministry’s budget, which the Fiscal Council believes should be at least doubled from some EUR 50 million annually, given that Serbia collects about EUR 100 million in environmental protection fees a year.
Subsidies for the production of biodegradable bags are part of Serbia’s fight against single-use plastics, with efforts under way to cut down on the use of plastic bags. These efforts have recently received a boost from Delhaize Serbia, the country’s top retailer, which has announced it will charge plastic bags at cash registers at all its outlets from July 16, Politika reported.
Delhaize Serbia registered a 60% drop in the use of plastic bags at its Shop&Go stores since the chain started charging them at cash registers three months ago.
All retailers in Serbia have been urged to start charging non-biodegradable plastic bags, Minister Goran Trivan has said. According to recent research, Delhaize holds a 21% share of Serbia’s retail market, followed by Croatia’s Agrokor, with 16%.