Although the concept of zero waste cities sounds like something that is possible only in the developed European countries, successful examples that can serve as motivation for cities in Bosnia and Herzegovina are in our neighborhood. For this reason, representatives of Center for Environment visited two towns in northern Croatia, Prelog and Koprivnica, that have the highest rate of separate waste collection.
Prelog, together with the surrounding towns, is the leading city in Croatia by the percentage of selectively collected waste. It is part of the Zero Waste Cities network. Prelog significantly improved the percentage of separately collected waste through a door-to-door collection system, and separate collection of biodegradable waste from households. So today, the percentage of selectively collected waste for the city of Prelog is close to 70%. Good results can be also seen in the prevention of waste – the average resident of Prelog in 2020 generated only 70 kg of mixed waste, while the average for Croatia is 245 kg per resident in a year.
Within the municipal utility department Pre-kom, next to the recycling yard and sorting platform for recyclable waste (paper, cardboard, glass, metal, plastic, rubber, electrical waste, hazardous waste, etc.), there is also a composting capacity of 7200 tons per year. First Reuse center in Croatia is also part of their complex, where old items are sold at a symbolic price, which covers the cost of their repair. Citizens, in addition to education, are also financially encouraged to reduce waste generation and separate generated waste, by charging for the amount of mixed waste generated – the more you throw, the more you pay.
After Prelog, the neighboring city of Koprivnica, although not yet officially in the Zero Waste Cities network, is a shining example of rapid progress in the amount of selectively collected waste with 55.75% of separately collected waste. Koprivnica also owes such good results to the selective collection of recyclable and biodegradable waste “door to door”, and the system of charging for the amount of mixed waste generated, but also encouraging residents to compost in their households, if they have the conditions. How well waste management in Koprivnica works was seen by visiting two recycling yards, and the modernized Herešin composting plant, with a capacity of 9,000 tons of biowaste per year. Our hostess in Koprivnica, Sonja Markić, from the City Utility Company Komunalac, expressed satisfaction with the exchange of experiences in waste management with representatives of the Center for Environment and hopes that the experiences and ideas from Koprivnica will serve as an example.
The example of Prelog and Koprivnica shows how much can be achieved in improving waste management with good will and a common goal of the city and utilities. Representatives of these cities and their utility companies are ready to share their experiences, and we hope that the cities of Bosnia and Herzegovina will be ready to learn from them and apply the knowledge.