More than half a billion euros invested in waste management improvement


A meeting of the Group of companies responsible for street cleaning services and municipal waste management was held in Osijek, organized by the Croatian Chamber of Economy, where participants discussed current affairs related to the improvement and upgrading of the municipal services system.

The director of the Fund Luka Balen pointed out that in the last few years the Croatian Government, through the relevant ministry and the Fund, provided more than half a billion euros in grants for the remediation of landfills, and for the construction of civic amenity sites, composting plants, sorting plants, and the waste recycling plant. 1.5 million bins and containers for separate waste collection were purchased, four waste management centres were built, while the rest are in the construction or design phase. “There is not a single town or municipality that has not received funding from the Environmental Protection and Energy Efficiency Fund or the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development for developing their municipal infrastructure,” highlighted Balen, adding that through the Fund, the Government also started resolving the issue of the waste bales in Varaždin that have been burdening this town for almost 18 years.   

He announced that the Town of Šibenik plans to extend the Waste Management Centre Bikarac to include a power plant where waste and sludge will be converted into heat and electricity. "It will be the first integrated waste management centre to include all components of circular management since waste will become a new source of energy. The Fund is financing in full the preparation of project documentation with 3 million euros and it is certain that once this project is realised, it will be a roadmap for other WMCs to turn residual waste into energy, instead of paying for costly disposal,” said Balen.

At the conference, which gathered more than 250 participants, the director of the Sector for Industry and Sustainable Development Marija Šćulac pointed out that the Croatian Chamber of Economy systematically promotes the dialogue between utility companies and competent institutions, and she thanked the Fund for its constructive contribution thus far.

Along with the director of the Fund, his deputy Mirko Budiša, head of the Environmental Protection Sector Aleksandra Čilić, and head of the Sector for Special Categories of Waste Zvonimir Majić also participated in the meeting. To the representatives of utility companies Čilić outlined the public calls that the Fund was planning this year, while Majić presented the proposal for the calculation methodology as the basis for the tariffs for collecting recyclable municipal waste and its take back at civic amenity sites. "The goal of all these activities is to further encourage the circular economy, i.e. the use of waste as a valuable resource," said deputy Mirko Budiša.

Deputy mayor of Osijek Dragan Vulin commented on the progress that the town had made in waste management, making it one of the best large Croatian cities in terms of separate waste collection having closed 2022 with 52% of separately collected waste. Such good results, he believes, are the result of responsibility and environmental awareness of citizens of Osijek, educational activities aimed at all age groups, as well as providing the necessary infrastructure.

After the meeting, the director of the Fund and his colleagues visited the Osijek composting plant, where the modern biowaste treatment technology rounds off the entire circular waste management cycle - from biowaste to first-class natural organic fertiliser, i.e. compost.