Four containers stacked side by side – the two grey, the others coloured. Each with a role to play in ridding the city of the waste its inhabitants generate. A common sight in many places in Varna is the confused function of the containers – the grey ones are empty, and full bags roll around them, the coloured ones – overflowing, with piles of bulky packaging in between.
The European Commission foresees that by 2030 the recycling of municipal waste should increase to at least 65% and at least 75% of packaging should be recycled, with landfilling of municipal waste limited to 10%.
The picture now
The coloured containers are not taken out regularly, there are not enough awareness campaigns by the municipality and the company operating in Varna. This was shown by a survey of Varna residents that our team did on the subject. Many people would like to start collecting waste separately from their households, but they need some guidance, some incentive, a good example and the conviction that it will make a difference. For some households this creates an additional inconvenience because of the small free space in the house, others give up because they do not have the right containers in front of the block, others are convinced that the collected packaging goes to the same place as household waste and do not see the point in changing their habits.
The number of separate collection containers is determined by law and their location by the mayor of the municipality. A pair of coloured containers are placed at 690 locations in the municipality. The total volume of the containers is 2.376 million litres. Two coloured containers should serve an average of 500 citizens of Varna. The collection of these containers is carried out according to the schedule announced on the website of Eco Partners. For the whole of last year, 1,463 tonnes of waste were collected in the coloured containers on the territory of the municipality, of which 1,220 tonnes or 83% were recyclable. During the summer months, the servicing of the yellow containers in the Odessos and Primorsky districts is increased, with servicing and rounding of the containers in the busier areas being carried out 4 times a week, including weekends, the contractor said.
Myths and legends
Many people in Varna believe that waste from the coloured containers is mixed and taken away together, or even that it is mixed with the rubbish from the grey containers. That they are not recycled. These claims are not true for several reasons. We are assured of this by Eco Partners, the company that has a contract with the Municipality of Varna for the separate waste collection activities. They claim that the containers are of different types and that lifting them from the same truck is not possible. The waste from the two types of containers is separated differently and mixing them would not be profitable and would complicate the system.
What is collected from the coloured bins is taken to the separation plant where the recyclables are sorted according to material, from there they go to processing plants where the individual materials are recycled. The companies involved in the collection process have an interest in its conservation and precise treatment, as the processing plants have strict quality requirements.