Macedonia is drowning in garbage, recycling is in its infancy - everything that is thrown away can be reused!

Landfill / Photo: MIA

Waste is an opportunity for investment, and we are fighting both wild and legal landfills - said Kaja Shukova, Minister of Ecology at the Annual Conference of the Macedonian Association for Waste Management (MASVA)

Almost one hundred percent of the waste collected in the country ends up in landfills (99,8 percent in 2022 according to the SSO), and the most recycled waste is ferrous metal, non-ferrous metals, paper, cardboard and plastic. Mikhail Matevski, president of the Macedonian Association for Solid Waste, says that we are not so rich to scatter waste, because the leading premise in the last few years is that "everything that is thrown away can be reused".

– We should ask ourselves what we are doing and who will solve our waste problem? The circular economy is the future - emphasizes Matevski.

The statistics are inexorable and according to them, last year, the total amount of municipal waste collected in the country was over 605 thousand tons and compared to 2021, it has decreased by 4,2 percent. The most garbage is collected in the Skopje region - 28,4 percent, and households contribute as much as 84 percent of the total waste collected in the country.

- It is most difficult for me when I have to talk about waste, because over the years very little has been done to solve this problem. It's high time we pool our resources and do more. We have great laws, but we are late with implementation. Waste is an opportunity for investment, and we fight both wild and legal landfills - said Kaja Shukova, Minister of Ecology at the Annual Conference of the Macedonian Association for Waste Management (MASVA), which will deal with the "Implementation of the circular economy in the management with solid waste".

The way we're going, we're going to need two planets for resources!

If we continue at this rate of consumption, we will not be able to deplete two entire planets of resources, Carlos Silva Filho, president of the International Solid Waste Management Association, pointed out in his video message.

- According to the dimensions of consumer societies, we can say that we will need three planets of resources, if we have a standard like Germany's, while if we live like the Italians, then the need is reduced to 2,5 planets for resources! We are facing three planetary crises – loss of biodiversity, climate change and pollution, so it is no longer "5 to 12, but 12 and 5" to be aware of waste disposal. Figuratively – the exit window is closed and it is high time to move from the classic linear production process to a cyclical economy. And that means getting rid of landfills, stimulating recycling and introducing new technologies - said Silva Filho.

There are no returns on single-use plastic bags

There will be no cancellation or reversal of the process to reduce the use of single-use plastic bags, as these are obligations to comply with EU legislation, the Minister of Ecology told "Sloboden Pechat" Kaya Shukova.

Shukova added that there is no consideration of increasing or decreasing the prices of biodegradable bags and their price in trade remains 15 denars per piece.

But the bag manufacturers complain that the material for making the biodegradable bags, according to the biodegradability standard, is hardly available for the Macedonian market, and this causes them problems in the continuous production. They repeatedly point out that the legislation should be revised and greater efforts should be made to prevent unfair competition by offering free plastic bags.

In addition, industry representatives are proposing to reduce the fee for biodegradable plastic bags, which would be sold after July 1, 2023.

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