About 115,000 tons of packaging are produced annually in Serbia

, News

The largest consumers of plastics in Europe are companies engaged in the production of packaging, and in Serbia, those companies produce about 115,000 tons of this material per year.
According to the report of the Environmental Protection Agency, a total of about 2.2 million tons of municipal waste is generated annually, and 185,000 tons is packaging waste, collected by the operator.
These data do not include about 20 percent of the generated municipal waste that ends up in illegal dumps, which means that other plastic products, including packaging, are left unattended, says Dragan Stevanovic, secretary of the Association for Chemical, Rubber and Non-Metal Industry of the Serbian Chamber of Commerce.
The amount of generated plastic packaging waste ranges from 11.8 to 13.4 kilograms per capita per year.
The public debate on the new Strategy of Serbia for solid waste management will begin next month, the Ministry of Environmental Protection told Tanjug, and it includes the construction of a new and rehabilitation of the existing Vinca landfill in Belgrade.
Plastic is a material that has a low share of CO2 and can be recycled 100 percent, so it is an ideal candidate for the circular economy, says Stevanovic, according to the PKS website.
Even before the pandemic, an initiative was launched in Serbia for the adoption of the Plastic Management Strategy until 2030 in the package of circular economy and the Rulebook on technical and other requirements for plastic carrying bags, which are in line with EU Directives.
Stevanovic adds that due to the numerous advantages of plastic, harmlessness and inertness of the material, more than 50 percent of the products are packaged in plastic.
“Wet products, meat, fish, fruits, vegetables, frozen program are also impossible to pack in other packaging. Research during the pandemic showed that both viruses and bacteria do not live long on plastic, that disposable plastic is practical for hospitals, and that it is important to pack infectious waste in plastic bags so that the disease does not spread “, explains Stevanovic.
In the midst of the pandemic, the demand for disposable packaging and for plastic packaging in general increased, so that manufacturers adapted to work with increased capacity.
The share of plastic packaging waste in the total amount of packaging waste is about 26 percent.
Within that 26 percent of plastic packaging waste, the share of PET is 13.2 percent, and other plastics 12.8 percent.
“The size of the share of plastic packaging in total waste is not a problem if it is separated, collected and recycled, and thus gained new value. The problem arises when there is no good waste management system, when there is no infrastructure, when the level of primary selection and low-level waste sorting. If there was a systemic solution with the right infrastructure, the percentages in favor of recycling over landfill would change significantly,” Stevanovic said.
The new Law on Packaging and Packaging Waste, which is being prepared, envisages the introduction of a deposit system for some types of packaging, which, according to Stevanovic, would be an excellent incentive for citizens to select waste.
“The best results would be achieved by investing in the recycling industry, because the plastic waste collected in this way would be mostly recycled and thus get new raw materials, new value, and the waste that cannot be recycled, due to certain additives, for example, would go to incineration for the purpose of energy utilization”, Stevanovic points out.
This system, he says, can drastically reduce plastic packaging in landfills, as well as emissions into the environment.
The Waste Management Strategy envisages the construction of 26 regional waste management centers with industrial composting plants in Serbia.
However, he says, the tendency in the world, especially in Europe, is the abolition of landfills.
Thus, there are no more landfills in Switzerland, Germany, Austria, and other countries, Stevanovic adds.
“In Serbia, about 60 percent of organic waste is currently disposed of in landfills, which is a huge amount (about 1.5 million tons per year) and thus CO2 emissions are high,” says Stevanovic.
He believes that the price of landfilling in Serbia will increase drastically in order to protect the environment and eliminate landfills, which, as he estimates, will be a great expense for citizens.
Primary selection of organic waste in households and storage in used biodegradable compostable bags is certainly the best way to preserve the environment and reduce the costs of organic waste management, Stevanovic said, Tanjug reports.