Zagreb to roll out municipal waste model that motivates citizens to sort waste

Zagreb is introducing new municipal waste model that motivates citizens to sort waste

Photo: Zagreb je Naš! / Facebook


January 25, 2022






January 25, 2022





Municipal waste collection will be charged according to quantity, and not at a fixed rate as before. Households will pay for the service by buying “official bags” in which they will put their waste. Mayor Tomislav Tomašević presented a new “fairer, greener, and more responsible” system for municipal waste management in Zagreb.

The new model will reduce the total amount of mixed waste in Zagreb, and increase the amount of separated waste for recycling and composting, the mayor said as he presented the proposal for a new model for managing municipal waste.

Citizens will separate and sort waste, and city services will adequately dispose of it and recycle it. “What is crucial for us is a partnership with citizens. For all this to happen, it will be necessary for us to change our habits and for the citizens to help us in this transformation of the waste management system,” says the mayor.

Motivation for sorting household waste

The current system did not motivate citizens to separate waste. Mayor says it was based on a fixed rate, where everyone paid according to the size of their home, regardless of whether they separate waste. The new service will be charged by the collected amount of mixed municipal waste.

The price will depend on the amount of mixed municipal waste instead of the size of a home

According to the proposal, the obligatory collection fee, the fixed part, will amount to EUR 6 per month. It includes the disposal of sorted waste (paper, plastic, metal, glass, bio-waste). Households will dispose of their mixed, unselected waste in “official bags”, which will be available in stores at a price of 53 euro cents for a 20-liter bag, making up the variable part of the waste collection charge.

“It’s a model like the Swiss and Belgian cities have, and it’s a model that allows individualization of service payments according to the volume of mixed waste, to stimulate citizens to set aside more waste for recycling and sorting,” the mayor says.

Garbage bins under control

Zagreb will no longer be a “city of dumpsters”, and waste containers will no longer be in public areas, Tomašević said. Citizens will be obliged to control access to them and keep them in separate closed spaces or inner courtyards. Improper waste disposal will be fined.

Homeowners will have to control access to their dumpsters

There are currently about 200,000 dumpsters in public areas, the mayor said. The biggest issue is how to lock them prevent access to third parties, says the mayor.

The proposal for the new model also envisages discounts for families with small children who use diapers and people who use recycling yards, while poor households wouldn’t pay the fixed part. The proposal is in procedure and is currently in public review. The new model should be introduced on July 1, Tomašević said.

The city is calling for joint action

Deputy Mayor Danijela Dolenec points out that “with a little education and effort” Zagreb would recycle at least half of household waste and at least 65% of mixed municipal waste. “It will be a city that uses waste and sells it as raw material. A city without bins on the streets. A city without the landfill in Jakuševac,” she said.

The Zagreb is Ours! (Zagreb je naš!) movement, which leads the ruling We Can! coalition in the Croatian capital, noted that that several years ago the city was in the last place among all 28 EU capitals in terms of waste separation and recycling. In 2020, the local authority paid EUR 1.2 million in penalties to the European Union for failing to meet the obligation to reduce the amount of waste that goes to landfills, the group said.

Citizens are about to find the best solutions for waste in their buildings

The City of Zagreb also aims to strengthen communities. The new model requires citizens to find the best solutions in their buildings, together with neighbors and co-owners. But also to warn those who do not respect the rules, said Dolenec. She stressed the model motivates citizens to separate waste and thus directly reduce pollution.

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