In Serbia, only 10% of waste is recycled, which means that the country is loosing profit worth EUR 50 million annually. Used paper, PET packaging waste, glass and metal mostly end up either on landfills or in the nature. Most of the collected waste is exported, while domestic facilities do not have enough raw material to process. Hazardous waste is also exported: even though it could be used, there are no treatment facilities. By establishing the waste exchange, this problem may be solved. Here is the story featured by RTS and its journalist Slavica Gligorović.
Waste exchange market should become operational in three months, and it will be managed by Serbian Environmental protection agency (SEPA).
Filip Radović, SEPA ‘s Director, said that every company which intends to export waste, is obliged to offer it on the website of SEPA to domestic companies. The ad will be valid for five days.
Radovic explains: “If within those five days nobody expresses interest, the exporter will get a receipt which will be sufficient for him to acquire export permit. This is a big step forward for the protection of the Serbian recycling industry.”
300,000 tons of secondary raw material is exported from Serbia annually, while 250,000 tons is imported for higher price because of transportation costs. Some 450,000 tons of steel waste is collected in Serbia per year. While one third of the steel is exported, processing plants are working with less than half of their capacity. PET processing plants are only using one third of the available capacity.
“The secondary raw material intended for foreign markets will be controlled during the procedure of permit issuing – by doing this way we will reduce import of paper and export of packaging glass, iron and other unprocessed material”, said Siniša Mitrović, director of Circular Economy Center in Serbian Chamber of Commerce.
Even the residual production waste, which can be processed again, is exported because investors that want to build such factories are failing to do so.
“Technology does exist in the world, facilities for hazardous waste treatment as well, including also zinc dust treatment facilities for it is a material with high market demand. We were not able to get appropriate location, because local governments do not want hazardous waste treatment plant to be built on their territories”, said Nikola Egić from BiS recycling Pančevo company. Egić added that they had to export waste, which was the reason why they gave up on this idea.
It is estimated that the Serbian secondary raw material market is worth EUR 350 million. There is also a calculation saying that EUR 1 invested in recycling industry can bring ten-fold return.