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Plastics in the Circular Economy – Generational Green Challenge

22.05.2019. HUGO and Hanza Media organised the conference entitled “Plastics in the Circular Economy – Generational Green Challenge”, at which it was pointed out that environmental protection in Croatia has no alternative, and recycling of plastics and other materials is a priority. One of the participants at the conference was the director of the Fund, Dubravko Ponoš, who underlined the role of the deposit system in increasing the rate of separation and recycling of waste.

As it was pointed out at the conference “Plastics in the Circular Economy – Generational Green Challenge” organised by the Croatian Waste Management Association (HUGO) and Hanza Media, environmental protection in Croatia has no alternative, and recycling of plastics and other materials is a priority.

EU Member States will have to reduce the use of plastic cutlery, plates and cups by 50% until 2025. In addition, from that year it will be mandatory to separately collect 90% of plastic beverage bottles and ensure they consist of 35% of recycled material.

Croatia has had the deposit system including glass, PET and AL/FE packaging in place for over 12 years, and which Europe is now promoting in the new directives on plastic waste. Packaging included in the deposit system can be returned by the citizens at the shops and get a deposit fee of 0.50 kn per bottle. During the panel discussion, the director of the Fund, Dubravko Ponoš, said the analyses showed that type of system yielded the best results as it ensures a high collection rate, and quality raw material that can be used in further production. However, in order to be even more successful, it is necessary to adjust some aspects of the system: to automatize it to the greatest possible extent and set up a quality collection network.

Minister Tomislav Ćorić, who gave the opening speech, announced the reinstitution into the deposit system of dairy and liquid dairy products packaging, as well as of the 0.2 l volume packaging, which will increase the rate of recycling of municipal waste, especially of plastic packaging.

In order to establish a consolidated packaging waste management system, it is necessary to stimulate innovations and use of new technologies that facilitate recycling and recovery of plastics and create value after its original use. A good example is set by IKEA, which has been operating on the basis of sustainable development for the last 10 years. They currently use roughly 92% of the waste they generate, while only a smaller portion is landfilled. Also, IKEA uses around 60% of recycled materials in their production process, and the plan is to reach 100% by 2030, said Hrvoje Dragušica, sustainable development expert at IKEA Hrvatska.

Science and technology are not debatable – anything can be recycled, but some technological solutions do not come cheap; on the other hand, whatever we take from the environment has to be paid, and this premise should not be called into question – stated Aleksandra Anić Vučinić, associate professor at the Geotechnical Faculty in Varaždin. The solutions should be found for all stages – from production, through sustainable consumption, recycling, and finally handling of this waste.