Author: Svilena Velcheva
Published On: 30/01/2020

The “bag payment” system is one of the most efficient in order to reduce the household waste generated. It belongs to the so-called economic incentives and is part of the 10 steps to zero waste. The system follows the ‘polluter pays’ principle and includes free waste collection, for example, for the first two bags of household waste per month, and every subsequent one is paid. Along with the first step – waste separation at the source, it was named as one of the most successful during the workshop of municipal ecology experts from the Black Sea municipalities. The forum was organized by the Association of Bulgarian Black Sea Municipalities (ABCHO) under the CAPonLITTER project: Capitalizing on good practices and improving marine waste management policies. The aim is to develop a Regional Plan for Action against Marine Waste Pollution. Its recommendations will be taken into account in the preparation of the Varna Regional Development Strategy for the next programming period.

The Public Environmental Center for Sustainable Development (PECSD) supported the initiative by sharing the concept of Zero Waste as well as good practices and experience in this field. Ilian Iliev from PECSD helped the participants to identify the most effective as well as the most expensive waste reduction measures.

Waste reduction initiatives, such as ‘Green municipal procurement’, was defined as another very well-performing measure. Ireland was cited as a positive example in this regard. The fee introduced by the 15 euro cents on plastic bags reduces their use by 92 percent.

Municipalities play a decisive role in green initiatives, and the principles can be laid down in the requirements of public procurement, for example, believes Ilian Iliev. Local authorities may require the use of reusable or compostable utensils in municipal establishments. They also play a key role in the introduction of the so-called deposit systems during events, use of reusable cups by participants. Delivery of vending machines, which have the option of using their own cup, give the consumer the right to make an environmentally friendly choice and may also be required in the procurement notices, Iliev believes.

As the most costly and resource-intensive measures, participants in the meeting identified door-to-door garbage collection and improved industrial product design by industry.

Plastic waste in the form of bottles, caps and bottle rings is the most common on our coast, according to a three-year monitoring of the Black Sea Basin Directorate. At the same time, only 5 percent of the plastic used in our country is recycled, statistics show. About half of plastic products end their life at the landfill. 80% of plastic in the sea has been previously used and disposed of on land.

10 steps to Zero Waste

  1. Source separation;
  2. Garbage collection from door to door;
  3. Composting;
  4. Recycling;
  5. Municipal centers for the reuse, repair and dismantling of waste;
  6. Waste reduction initiatives;
  7. Economic incentives;
  8. Center for sorting and research of residual waste;
  9. Improved product design;
  10. Temporary depot.

Translator: Valentina Vagge