Creating jobs and improving the environment
Romania has the lowest recycling rate in the EU. Less than three per cent of the waste is recycled. Supported by Norway, waste collections points are now set up across the country.
The 25 waste collection points are being installed outside supermarkets in the largest cities in Romania. This will make it possible for people to easily deliver different types of recyclable waste such as glass and plastic bottles, aluminium cans, cardboard, PCs, microwaves and other electrical and electronic appliances. When delivering waste through the collection points, you get a discount voucher that can be used in the nearby supermarket. The goal is to collect more than 15 000 tons annually of package and electrical and electronic waste. In addition, the project also contributes to create jobs.
“Each collection point generates 2-5 jobs. So far we have created at least 50 new green jobs under this project. By the end of November 2015 this project will generate 120 new jobs. This might not have a huge impact on employment, but it is still important as we employ mostly from those cities in Romania where people often have problems finding a job,” said Constantin Cristea from the company Total Waste Management SRL who is carrying out the project.
The recycling centres make use of technology delivered by the Norwegian company Tomra, a global leader in waste collection solutions.
In addition, Green Business Norway – an organisation with much experience in organising public awareness campaigns on environmental issues – is a partner in the project.
“Through the cooperation with our Norwegian partner we have learnt a lot about how waste collection works in Norway,” Cristea said.
Norway is among the world leaders when it comes to collection, treatment and recycling of waste.
“This project is of great importance for the Norwegian suppliers of technological solutions (Tomra Systems ASA) and expertise (Mepex Consult AS). And it represents a first step towards sustainable modernisation of waste management in the beneficiary countries of the EEA and Norway Grants,” said programme manager in Innovation Norway Anne Lise Rognlidalen. Innovation Norway is the Norwegian’ Government most important instrument for innovation and development of Norwegian enterprise and industry. Innovation Norway is managing the green industry innovation programme in Romania under which this project is supported.
“The waste collection project has proved that it is possible to divert waste from landfills and collect it for recycling purposes. The Norwegian – Romanian partnership will look for new opportunities to replicate this innovative concept to other countries in Central Eastern Europe as well as worldwide," Rognlidalen explained.
Education and awareness raising
Today only 2.6 per cent of waste in Romania is recycled (Eurostat). EU require the member states to recycle at least 50 per cent of waste by 2020. That means that time is short both to invest in the infrastructure and to encourage people to recycle their waste.
“This project has a very strong educational component. The message we are trying to convey to the population is that waste is valuable and that the waste will be recycled for sure,” Cristea said.
The 25 collection points bear the name ‘Sigurec’, an acronym for the motto «for sure recycled, for sure economical».
The project receives €1.4 million in funding from Norway through the green industry innovation programme in Romania.