The study by the University of Agriculture and Environment in Vienna, Austria, was conducted at the end of last year in Varna. It aims to trace the path of used beverage cans and in particular whether, where and how they are disposed of after use. The focus of the project is on several countries from Eastern and Southern Europe, including Bulgaria.
Adriana Tsoneva, who returned after 8 years of teaching in Vienna, conducted a series of interviews on the project with people living and working in Varna. Looking for answers to questions such as: what happens to the cans; do we have a culture of recycling associated with them; is there any infrastructure for separate collection and recycling in the city at all. The project is not over yet, but Adriana shares her impressions of the conversations on the topic: “It was difficult for me to find people who recycle cans in their daily lives. In general, they are disposed of with the remaining garbage, bypassing the recycling bins. Whether this is due to insufficient information, personal disinterest or other reasons, I can not determine with precision, “said Adriana Tsoneva.
Most of our fellow citizens interviewed say that they rarely use cans because they do not find them practical. It is more profitable for them to buy drinks in a plastic or glass bottle because of the quantity, and many of the drinks offered in cans do not correspond to their idea of healthy consumption. However, in sporadic cases, the interviewees use cans – in bars, discos, when they are on the road, or if they are on promotion.
The stories of restaurant owners and staff in the industry are interesting. Collecting cans for recycling is not considered practical, but additional work, without much return. The reason – recycling points buy cans at a fairly low price, and they themselves are very light.
One of the major purchasing points in the city confirm this information. No more than 100 cans are delivered per month. They come from people who recycle heavier and more valuable material.
Much of the recycling is done by marginalized groups, people with very low or no real income, who benefit from the sale of materials found in garbage containers, says Adriana Tsoneva.
Why are cans of interest for the scientific community?
Globally, more and more large companies are relying on the idea of replacing plastic bottles with aluminum jugs. This is a new environmental trend among beverage producers. In a number of European countries, aluminum packaging now sells not only beer and carbonated beverages, but also mineral water. For example, Pepsi’s plan to reduce plastic waste involves replacing plastic bottles with cans, even water.
Why is it important to recycle?
The energy released during the recycling of 1 aluminum box is enough for 3 hours of TV time. And not only! From 1250 kg of aluminum secondary raw materials 1 ton of aluminum is obtained. Unlike plastic, aluminum is completely recyclable and the process can be endless.
Since the beginning of the year, PECSD has included aluminum packaging of deodorants, fragrances and soft drinks in the campaign “Return the bottle – get your book”. Do not throw away the aluminum cans! For every one brought to the office at 14 Sava Radulov Street in Varna, you can choose a book only for a lev. We are waiting for you immediately after the end of the state of emergency! Until then – take care of yourself and the environment!
Translator: Valentina Vagge