City of Belgrade joins

After the installation of the first 600 containers in Sombor, Nis, Kragujevac and Varvarin, the citizens of Belgrade will also be able to dispose of their glass packaging at another 150 locations. Together with the citizens of Skopje and Sarajevo, but also other cities and municipalities across the region, they will have the opportunity to show high awareness about the importance of recycling, it was said at the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding between the City of Belgrade, German Development Cooperation (GIZ), NALED and Sekopak on the project "Management of glass packaging in the Western Balkans".

The regional project is being implemented in Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Northern Macedonia. It was initiated by the German Development Cooperation GIZ with packaging operators from three countries - Sekopak, Pakomak and Ekopak, while NALED in Serbia, REDAH in Bosnia and ZELS in Northern Macedonia are in charge of implementing the project. The project envisages the establishment of an economically efficient glass collection and recycling chain, by placing containers for the disposal of glass packaging waste in the cities and municipalities involved in the project.

After Nis, Sombor, Kragujevac and Varvarin, today the city of Belgrade officially joined the realization of the common goal, and the Mayor Radojicic pointed out that the signing of this document sends a clear message that a healthy environment is our common goal.

- The daily amount of waste produced in Belgrade is about 1500 tons, and a significant part of that waste is glass. Glass is a material that can be endlessly recycled and does not lose quality with each recycling. On the other hand, glass in landfills takes up to 5,000 years to decompose. Therefore, with this important work of glass recycling, we save significant amounts of both raw materials and energy. My personal vision is focused on improving the environment and the quality of life in Belgrade. Environmental projects are extremely important for all of us and it is best when we work on them as a team, with representatives of the international community, the private sector and people from local governments - said Radojicic.

 The director of GIZ Serbia, Daniela Funke, stated that this project is an excellent example of efficient multi-sectoral and regional cooperation and that it addresses the most urgent challenges in packaging waste management as one of the fastest growing waste streams in the world.

- German development cooperation supports partners in establishing an economically efficient value chain for glass recycling, as well as increasing the amount of collected glass packaging at the local level. We are very happy to have the City of Belgrade as a partner in this joint venture and we are very happy with the results of this cooperation - said Funke.

NALED Executive Director Violeta Jovanović emphasized that according to NALED's analysis of the existing waste management system, glass is the fourth most common material on the Serbian market, after paper, cardboard and plastic, and makes up a fifth of the total packaging.

87,000 tons of glass are placed on the Serbian market annually, of which less than 50% ends up in recycling. At the moment, investments in the development of collection infrastructure are also a priority, because increased quantities form the basis for more cost-effective treatment. We also see the solution in the development of business potentials and capacities of the Serbian glass factory in Paracin, to accept all that waste and solve it adequately - said Jovanović.

Director of Sekopak Violeta Belanović Kokir stressed that the amount of collected glass packaging has increased by an average of 85% in the first six months of the project, depending on the local government.

– The results are very good and we are glad that the project goals are already being achieved. We are taking major steps to improve the glass packaging management system and it is important for us to have the City of Belgrade joining the project. We believe that our experience so far will help us achieve even better results and influence Belgraders to recycle glass packaging – said the Director of Sekopak.

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