site.btaDeputy Environment Minister: Waste Is a Resource That Should Continue Its Cycle
"It is time to realize, and for citizens to be made aware, that the place of waste is not in the bin or in the landfill. It is a resource that should continue its cycle - to be recovered and recycled, not landfilled," said Deputy Minister of Environment and Water Reneta Koleva during the forum "Green Solutions for Municipalities" within the annual meeting of local authorities, organized by the National Association of Municipalities in the Republic of Bulgaria (NAMRB).
This requires awareness campaigns with the right messages and incentives to all users, Koleva said, pointing out that municipalities can require the waste recovery organisations to conduct broader campaigns for citizens. "Not just handing out a brochure, which unfortunately is not enough, but also looking for other types of approaches to reach a larger group of the population," Koleva explained.
The Deputy Minister noted that the "polluter pays" principle should have been introduced five years ago. According to the Minister, the principle will have to come into force by the end of 2024 at the latest.
The new OP "Environment" promotes the transition to a circular economy based on resource efficiency. More than BGN 600 million have been earmarked for separate collection and recycling systems for biodegradable waste, which according to analyses accounts for more than 50% of the total flow, Koleva added. Funding has also been earmarked for systems and centres for separate collection and preparation for reuse and repair. "This is a measure that is visibly yielding results in a number of member states and which we would be happy to see adopted by local authorities," she said.
Among the novelties under the operational programme is the construction of installations for biogas production from biodegradable municipal waste, as there is no restriction for municipalities where to build these installations, Koleva added. According to her, in the conditions of energy crisis this is a tool that can significantly optimize the costs of municipalities. Local authorities will also have access to funding to buy composters to provide to households free of charge, in order to reduce waste generation already at the source level.
The task to reduce the amount of landfilled municipal waste to 10% by 2035 and to exceed 65% of recycled waste "requires a fundamental change in our thinking and behaviour, which should happen in parallel with a change in national legislation", Koleva said. It is important to look at the economic aspects, the socio-environmental efficiency and through dialogue to help solve all environmental problems, because they "are not municipal, but national; they are our responsibility as citizens of this planet - to preserve, protect and give the next generation better living conditions and standards," the deputy minister said in conclusion.