Current Affairs New legislation to require all municipalities to provide option of organic waste recycling

10-06-2014 14:41 | Jan Velinger

Around one thousand municipalities already offer so-called ‘brown bins’ for the recycling of organic waste so that is material which is biodegradable doesn’t end up needlessly in landfills. But many still lag behind, particularly bigger towns or cities. The Environment Ministry is preparing legislation (to be discussed in Parliament this week) which would require organic recycling to be implemented across the board.

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Vojtěch Kotecký, photo: Ondřej VrtiškaVojtěch Kotecký, photo: Ondřej Vrtiška I spoke to Vojtěch Kotecký, the head of the NGO Friends of the Earth, asking him how he saw the planned change.

“This is definitely a decision which would make sure all Czech families and households would have the opportunity to recycle organic waste. Not everyone has the chance now. Organic waste is an important resource and as it stands now much of it ends up unused in landfills, which is a shame. Organic waste can be used to create compost which can replace artificial fertilizers in agriculture, it can be used to make biogas as an alternative to natural gas which is a fossil fuel and last but not least if we keep organic waste out of landfills we can lower the amount of methane which of course contributes to greenhouse gases. So this is an opportunity.”

All the same, when one travels outside the cities, it seems many already do dispose of organic waste properly…

“It’s true that there are probably millions across the country who compost organic waste in their gardens. The problem is that the same chance is not afforded to many people in the cities. This legislation would make sure that town and city councils would provide them with the opportunity to recycle organic waste.”

If the legislation goes ahead are some of the municipalities that haven’t gotten on board yet, technically speaking, ready?

Photo: ŠJů, CC BY-SA 3.0Photo: ŠJů, CC BY-SA 3.0 “As always, there will be a period before the legislation takes effect. Secondly, there are no technological hurdles – we have experience with this of course. The only problem that municipalities might face is money for investment in necessary technology and in this case the government is ready to provide some money from European funds.”

Czechs are used to bringing items for recycling to special bins set up around town. But it seems it might be more pleasant, given the nature of organic waste, if you can do it right from your door...

“There are various solutions: you can have door-to-door collection or larger bins and perhaps most importantly you can have household or community composting schemes where people do not even give the waste away but use it themselves. This works at the apartment block level, there are various ways of dealing with that. But in general, we need to increase door-to-door when it comes to recycling and this is not the case with organics waste alone but also paper, plastic and glass recycling schemes as well.”

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