NALED, GIZ, and Esotron have collected 1,300 tons of food waste

The response of large caterers to the challenge of collecting 1,000 tons of food waste exceeded the expectations, with almost 1,300 tons collected, as was announced today at the promotion of the project "Towards better food waste management in Serbia".

"About two million tons of organic waste are generated in Serbia annually, which is a great burden for landfills, with more than 300 fires recorded causing great damage to the environment." We are extremely proud that our call was met with great response among caterers and that the challenge was completed, and a step in the right direction towards preserving our environment made" said Slobodan Krstović, Director of Sustainable Development at NALED.

Although generations from our country have been educated not to throw away food, Serbia is above the world average in terms of the amount of organic waste generated in households. When the remains from restaurants, student canteens, hospitals, and similar institutions are added to that, it is a huge amount of waste that represents an environmental problem at landfills, that could become a valuable resource.

To further raise awareness among citizens, NALED, together with the company Esotron and with the support of the German Development Cooperation conducted by GIZ, organized a workshop at the Kabinet brewery in Kosmaj, where the benefits of separate food scrap collection and challenge results were presented.

The famous chef Nenad Gladić, better known as Lepi Brka, found himself in the double role of a chef and a guide through the proper separation of organic waste. it often happens that citizens throw away completely edible food because the expiration date is approaching.

He was joined by Bojan Gligić, regional manager of the company Esotron, who pointed out that around 1,700 tons of waste are disposed of on a daily bases in Belgrade alone, the vast majority of which is organic waste from which methane is released the main cause of frequent fires.

"With proper waste management, we can eliminate this problem. Waste that is separated into bins serviced by Esotron will not contribute to environmental pollution, but rather obtain clean green energy. "Nutrient slurry obtained from waste goes through anaerobic treatment, which eliminates methane, and then uses it for energy production," said Gligić, adding that the company covers 4,000 locations a week that generate large amounts of organic waste.

According to the data from the United Nations Environmental Protection Program, 83 kilograms of food are thrown away per capita in Serbia every year, which is nine kilograms more than the world average.

" Carters are one of the large generators of organic waste. It is estimated that hotels and restaurants in Serbia produce 40,000 tons of waste annually, with 99% of it ending up in landfills, emitting harmful gases equal to seven thousand motor vehicles. However, 13% of them hand over waste to authorized operators by themselves due to a lack of awareness of the importance of proper disposal and the lack of profitability" said Zorica Bilic, national coordinator of GIZ ORF MMS.

According to her, in addition to harmonizing domestic and European regulations, the key recommendation of the project is the introduction of obligatory separation of waste for those who make or serve more than 50 meals a day.

The circular economy is the backbone of NALED's Alliance for the Environment, which is currently implementing projects to better manage glass waste, batteries, and light bulbs. The workshop also announced the introduction of a smart deposit system for packaging collection in the pilot municipality in Zrenjanin.

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