The Ministry of the Environment of the Czech Republic is preparing specific legislation that will regulate this area and introduce the principles of mandatory advance payment into the Act on Packaging. Cities and municipalities across the country do not like this. Municipalities, which have been building waste separation systems for many years, have long disagreed with the intended change.
“In countries where backup of PET bottles has been introduced, they do not have as perfect a system for collecting separated waste as we do. PET from yellow bins is high quality and clean. We therefore call on the government to maintain the current system of separate waste collection and not to introduce this mandatory advance collection,” said Olomouc’s deputy mayor Otakar Štěpán Bačák.
The existing collection system shows high efficiency. People hand over eight out of ten used bottles to the yellow containers, which is more than 42 thousand tons in the whole of the Czech Republic. To meet the European goal of collecting ninety percent, it is enough to increase the performance of the system by only five thousand tons, i.e. by an imaginary ninth bottle.
Other shareholders of the Service company Odpady Olomoucký kraje, which wants to build a new large-capacity automatic sorting line in Olomouc, have a similar attitude to Olomouc. The project has already received an environmental permit (EIA). The document confirmed that the construction of the line does not have a negative impact on the environment.
“The line is counting on sorting PET and beverage cans from municipal waste, with the fact that the profits from the sale of this material would remain with the municipalities. Their diversion from waste could mean a loss of over fifty million crowns a year,” said Lukáš Václavík, project manager of the Service Company.
The line can also handle cans and tetrapaks
In addition to unions and associations of cities and municipalities, the Association of Regions also rejects the introduction of mandatory backup. “The introduction of mandatory back-up of PET bottles would damage our project, as well as municipal waste management in general. At the same time, however, it would mean that mechanical sorting of plastics would become the only option for sorting plastics, because manual sorting lines today are unable to sort the remaining plastics to the purity required for recycling into new packaging and other products,” explained Martin Šmída, councilor of the Olomouc Region, who is also the chairman of the Association Odpady Olomouc Region.
In addition to Olomouc, the upcoming sorting line in Chválkovice will also serve other cities and municipalities that are involved in the project. The line will process mixed municipal waste as well as the contents of yellow bins, which, in the framework of multi-commodity collection, should focus not only on plastics but also on metals and tetrapak packaging.