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

The collection of municipal waste will be invoiced according to the quantity and not on a flat rate as before. Households will pay for the service by buying “official bags” in which to 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 waste separated for recycling and composting, the mayor said while presenting the proposal for a new municipal waste management model.

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

Motivation for sorting household waste

The current system does not encourage citizens to sort waste. The mayor says it was based on a flat rate, where everyone paid according to the size of their house, whether or not they separate the waste. The new service will be billed based on the amount of mixed municipal waste collected.

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

According to the proposal, the mandatory 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 deposit their unselected mixed waste in “official bags”, which will be available in stores at the price of 53 euro cents per 20-litre bag, constituting the variable part of the waste collection fee.

“It’s a model like the Swiss and Belgian cities, and it’s a model that allows payments for services to be individualized according to the volume of waste mixed, to incentivize citizens to put more waste aside for recycling. and sorting”, explains the mayor.

Bins under control

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

Owners will need to control access to their dumpsters

There are currently around 200,000 dumpsters in public spaces, the mayor said. The biggest problem is how to lock them to prevent access by third parties, explains the mayor.

The new model proposal also provides discounts for families with young children who use nappies and people who use recycling parks, while poor households would not pay the fixed part. The proposal is in process and is currently under public review. The new model is expected to be introduced on July 1, Tomašević said.

City calls 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 will use waste and resell it as raw material. A city without garbage cans in the streets. A city without the Jakuševac landfill,” she said.

Zagreb is ours! (Zagreb je naš!), who leads the We Can! coalition in the Croatian capital, noted that several years ago the city was in last place among the 28 EU capitals in terms of waste sorting and recycling. In 2020, the local authority paid 1.2 million euros in fines to the European Union for non-compliance with the obligation to reduce the amount of waste sent to landfill, specifies the group.

Citizens are on the verge of finding the best solutions for waste in their buildings

The city of Zagreb also aims to strengthen communities. The new model forces citizens to find the best solutions in their buildings, in collaboration with neighbors and co-owners. But also to warn those who do not respect the rules, said Dolenec. She pointed out that the model encourages citizens to sort waste and therefore directly reduce pollution.


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Melissa C. Keyes