What Waste Management Program for 2022-2031 Entails

Source: eKapija Sunday, 06.02.2022. 11:32
Illustration (Photo: franz12/shutterstock.com)Illustration
The Government of Serbia has adopted the Waste Management Program for 2022-2031. As part of the negotiations about the accession to the EU, through Chapter 27, the country started the process of establishing a system of waste management and its harmonization with the objectives and acquis of the EU.

The main problems and challenges related to waste management are an insufficient coverage with services of municipal waste collection (86.4%), an inadequately implemented collection of recyclable waste, the disposal of waste at unsanitary landfills, the fact that a system of facilities for the treatment of hazardous waste has not been established, that construction and demolition waste recycling is not developed and so on.

– By not harmonizing the national legislation with the EU acquis, the Republic of Serbia risks for the trend of lagging behind the countries in the region and the EU in waste management to continue and for environmental pollution, as well as the degradation of the space, to continue. There would also be a danger of the existing markets’ being closed and new ones’ being inaccessible due to the failure to use the proscribed measures and standards, that is, due to the lowered competitiveness of the economy on an international, but also local, scale – it is said.

Considering that the disposal of one ton of untreated waste at a landfill contributes to an emission of 0.83 t CO2 eq, if the practice continued, the total amount of waste that would be disposed of at landfills in 2030 would be 29,188,330. That would contribute to a CO2 eq emission of 24,226,314 t.

In the upcoming period, priority measures pertain to the selection of waste at the source, the increasing of the degree of waste recycling and the construction of the missing infrastructure, in order to create the conditions for the meeting of the set goals, cited in the key EU directives pertaining to the waste sector.

Polluter pays

The “polluter pays principle” is defined too. In order to ensure a financially sustainable activity in waste management, the “polluter pays principle” will be implemented. Polluters need to shoulder the full costs of the consequences of their activities. The costs of the collection, treatment and disposal of waste therefore need to be included in the product price. The principle of a full recovery of the costs of the services of waste collection and disposal should be implemented, and instruments of financial stimulation for the reuse and recycling of waste should be introduced.

What should be built?

Among other things, the construction of a facility for the incineration of municipal waste in Belgrade with an incineration capacity of 340,000 tons per year, installed production power of 25 MW and production of heating energy of 56 MW and the construction of facilities for the thermal treatment (thermal valorization) of non-recyclable waste in Nis and Kragujevac, with the production of electrical and heating energy, have been recognized as the necessary infrastructure for utility waste management.

– New investment in the field of waste will be more focused on separating the waste at the source and the recycling of waste, that is, a more efficient use of resources. Before any kind of decision on the construction of new landfills is made, care should be taken for the efforts to the end of reducing waste through prevention, separation and recycling of waste to be increased – it is said.

In the upcoming period, the forming of regions for waste management, which are established through cooperation of local self-government units, and the construction of a regional waste management infrastructure will continue.

The approach of creating a network of centers for the collection of waste throughout the country is proposed. The construction of centers for waste collection must begin in 2022 in all municipalities within Phase One. Waste collection centers are currently established in some municipalities, and by 2032, all municipalities should have established and functional waste collection centers.

It is necessary to establish transfer stations for waste reloading.

The reaching of the goals regarding the recycling of municipal waste is planned in the following time periods: by the end of 2025, the rate of recycling municipal waste will increase to a total of 25% per weight, and by the end of 2030, to 35% per weight.

A separate collection and the construction of one location per municipality for the outdoor composting of green waste is planned within Phase One. On a municipal level, the capacities of the composting facility will range from 500 to 5,000 tons per year (small facilities for biological treatment).

Facilities for getting fuel from waste provide an option for the production of fuel derived from waste (RDF), combined with biological treatment in the biggest waste management regions (for example, Novi Sad), where they can be afforded.

The construction of infrastructure for the treatment of large amounts of biodegradable waste is planned for Phase Two. Facilities of a total capacity of 380,000 tons per year are necessary for ensuring a proper implementation of the EU directives. Beginning from 2022, the regions which collect more than 85,000 tons of municipal waste need to prepare feasibility studies for the treatment of separately collected biowaste in large facilities for biological treatment. The necessary capacity must be installed by 2037. The capacities of large facilities for biological treatment should range between 50,000 and 100,000 tons a year. In order to realize a greater economic benefit, equipment for the utilization of biogas and its use for own or public needs should be secured.

The component of “home composting” is a package of support to local authorities and citizens for the treatment of biodegradable waste in home conditions and the reduction of the amount of waste that enters the waste collection system from the households, which reduces the taking of free space at the landfill and the disposal fees. This measure focuses of rural areas, where more room for home composting is available and where the benefit from the reduction of separate collection and transportation costs is the biggest. All households in rural areas will be supplied with home composters and use their own compost. Home composting must begin from 2022 in all municipalities within Phase One.

It is not necessary for all regions to have regional landfills. Some regions will use regional landfills which are located in neighboring regions.

The second phase of the infrastructure will be fully built and operational by the end of 2039.

Phase Three is planned for a later period and includes the recultivation of old landfills and the taking of environmental protection measures, the covering of landfills and the securing of conditions for the growth of vegetation harmonized with the surrounding nature. The recultivation also includes the removal of waste from smaller landfills and disposal sites to larger landfills. Following the recultivation, the former landfills and disposal sites can be used for other purposes.

The infrastructure for the management of hazardous waste will be developed through investments of primarily the private sector. These investments must be carried out in line with the “polluter pays principle”.

When it comes to hazardous waste, among other things, the plan is to build two facilities for physical-chemical treatment, with a capacity of 50,000 tons per year. When it comes to the establishment of capacities for the incineration of organic industrial and medical waste (incinerators), combined with the capacities for the preparation of fuel from waste (RDF); a facility with a capacity of around 30,000 tons per year and the construction of a landfill for the disposal of non-organic industrial hazardous waste, combined with capacities for the solidification of the sludges from hazardous waste flows, with a capacity of 28,000-38,000 tons per year, are planned.

Central regional hazardous waste storage sites are planned in the following districts: City of Belgrade, Central Banat, Danube, Macva and Nisava.

The construction of facilities for physical-chemical treatment of hazardous waste and sludges and facilities for the storage of liquid flows of industrial waste (solvents, acids, bases) and sludges, is planned in the districts of Raska, Rasina, Bor and Zajecar.

At the moment, there are no approved locations for a landfill of hazardous waste in the Republic of Serbia. When the locations are identified and approved, new facilities will be built in line with the EU requests.

For the purpose of establishing a system of the collection of spent batteries, the following is necessary:

1) one mobile center for waste collection in each waste management region, 26 in total;
2) one regional storage site in each waste management region, 26 in total;

For the purpose of the management of construction and demolition waste, the following is necessary:

1) mobile facilities for the treatment of construction and demolition waste; one mobile facility is planned in each waste management region; 26 in total;
2) a facility for the treatment of construction and demolition waste; at least one facility in Belgrade, with a capacity of 200,000 tons per year;
3) the securing of adequate locations for the treatment of construction and demolition waste and the storage of this waste following the treatment in each local self-government.

For the purpose of establishing a system of collection of waste vehicles, it is necessary to build stations for the collection of waste vehicles established in bigger cities (Uzice, Kraljevo, Novi Sad, Valjevo and Nis), five collection stations in Belgrade and two in each of the other waste management regions.

Tariffs increase, deposit, waste fee

The current tariffs for households for the services of waste management reflect a generally very low, non-harmonized infrastructure, it is said. The tariffs differ greatly, mostly hovering around 0.5% of the household’s income. They will inevitably have to increase with the construction of infrastructure. The availability threshold is considered to be 1.5% of the household’s income. Targeted tariffs (such as the “pay-as-you-throw” scheme) will be implemented in order to enable the further development of the basic infrastructure and administrative systems.

The system of deposit recovery will most likely contribute to an increase in the collected and recycled amounts of packaging waste, the document reads.

“Pay-as-you-throw” fees are an implementation of the “polluter pays principle”. The purpose of this fee is for households and legal entities to be able to influence the amount of money paid for the services of moving out municipal waste proportional to the amount of waste they create. If they separate waste in the location it is created in, if they compost and so on, they can request a small portion of waste fees. Although this kind of waste fees is more easily implemented in areas with family houses, for the time being, it is more frequently implemented in urban areas.

A. K.

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