Smart packaging waste collection system

Donor: Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit GmbH (GIZ) - Program develoPPP
Ball Packaging Europe, SEKOPAK, Solagro, Mercator S, Reverse Logistics Group, Recan foundation
Implementation period:
July 2020 - July 2023 

Smart Urban Packaging Waste Collection System (Smart DRS) is a project aimed at establishing a sustainable model of smart packaging waste collection in Serbia. Indikator uspešnosti projekta je da 30% pakovanja od ukupno 3.3 miliona serijalizovanih proizvoda sa posebnim kodom bude sakupljeno kroz pilotiran sistem pametne reciklaže, a teritorija na kojoj se projekat sprovodi je grad Zrenjanin. 

The project is implemented by German Development Cooperation GIZ, through its DeveloPPP partnership program with the private sector. Partner institutions on the project, along with NALED, are companies Ball Packaging Europe, packaging waste operator SEKOPAK, Solagro, Mercator S, as well as German company RLG (Reverse Logistics Group), and NGO Recan Foundation.

The project started in July 2020, as a project that was only about can recycling through smart can presses. The basic idea of the initial project was based on an innovative approach and IT solution developed by the domestic start-up company Solagro. By inserting a can into the smart press, users were able to track each individual can through a mobile phone application. Users would collect a certain number of points for each recycled can, which in total would bring discounts on the next purchase in selected retail stores, and thus would be motivated to continue collecting cans. The project was initially called "Smart Urban Can Collection System" and was tested at festivals and within smaller campaigns.

In order for the established system to function in the wider context of the smart packaging waste system which is being announced, in 2021 the project was expanded to include cans and other packaging materials and changed its name to "Smart Urban Packaging Waste Collection System".

To lean onto the smart IT solutions established for cans, the project was expanded so as to pilot the establishment of smart recycling for packaging waste in a limited territory, and the city of Zrenjanin was selected as the pilot location.

For this reason, the project involved another new partner, RLG - a company that has been implementing a smart recycling solution in Germany since 2003. Within the project, the knowledge and system they established there will be transferred to a concrete model in Serbia.

The smart recycling system offers a wider range of benefits compared to the traditional deposit system - serialization of packaging through unique coding, to limit possible fraud and to achieve efficiency in terms of time and operations with lower operational costs of collection.

The project is implemented through the following work packages:

  • Work package 1: Developing and testing the IT solution 
  • Work package 2: Launching the system with adequate infrastructure ensured (smart bins, hand scanners and RVM machines)
  • Work package 3: Piloting of smart recycling
  • Work package 4: Developing the business model based on the data collected through pilot activities
  • Work package 5: Business model dissemination 

The details regarding the infrastructure and concrete locations are being negotiated by the project partners and the City of Zrenjanin and are not known at the moment, but those considered are the retail facilities within the Mercator S group (Roda and Idea), as well as public locations to be determined by the City of Zrenjanin. The total number of locations will be 10-15 which, depending on the conditions, could include one of the infrastructure options - smart bins, hand scanners or RVM machines.

All work packages are accompanies with marketing and promotional activities, as well as the advocacy for introducing the smart recycling system with line institutions. NALED's focus will be these horizontal activities.

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