There are no platforms for collecting large waste items, but throwing of such waste is punished

Such large waste items as old furniture and electrical and electronic waste are thrown in an unauthorized way because there is no special place designated by the local public authorities (LPAs) for the purpose. The central authorities consider the restoration of old furniture or its donation can be a solution. The discarded electrical and electronic devices, given their specific features, are treated with increased attention. Even if there are small initiatives to collect and sort such types of waste, these are based on enthusiasm and on the attempt to keep the environment clean, without being supported by the authorities. IPN tried to find out where large waste items can be taken so that we are sure that we do it in an authorized way and do not pollute the environment.

Beds are thrown everywhere, in an unauthorized way

Ina Coșeru, who heads the National Environmental Center , said the local authorities do not offer them a solution concerning large waste items. There are no platforms for collecting such waste. These items are thrown randomly, at waste dumps, at solid waste collection platforms or elsewhere. Beds, for example, are thrown everywhere, in an unauthorized way, all over Moldova, including in Chisinau. In the EU member state, the large waste items are collected on a special authorized platform provided by the LPAs and the population knows about i. In Moldova, there is no such a practice, even in Chisinau.

Under the law, the LPAs must organize the waste management system so that the waste is collected separately and a large part of this could be recycled, composted and only 3% of the waste goes to the landfill, as in Germany, said Ina Coșeru. The LPAs should organize separate waste collection platforms for the population and should introduce constraining mechanisms in case of violations. The waste should be thrown only on the platform and only separately. The LPAs should also provide assistance to business entities so as to allocate spaces, if there is the extended producer responsibility. The LPAs should inform the population about such platforms, if they exist. The law on waste, which regulates also large waste items, is not applied.

Small initiatives based on enthusiasm

In Moldova, especially in Chisinau, there are many, usually nongovernmental organizations that collect electronic and electrical waste. The representatives of these organizations provide spaces where large waste items can be taken or even come home to collect them at symbolical charges. Sergiu Guzun, who heads the Association “Green Planet Moldova” that coordinates e-Recycling, deals with the collection of large electronic waste items that are later taken to companies that transport them abroad, to European countries, for recycling. The e-Recycling campaign was launched in 2015, being initially a partnership with the Chisinau City Hall. Later, the initiative was taken over by Sergiu Guzun, who decided to take a first step towards the consumers and to go to their homes to collect old domestic appliances. Sergiu Guzun said the service is free of charge, but some of the persons can pay symbolic sums “in gratitude”. The service is also available in the country’s distrusts. During a week, they have about 20 calls from private individuals and five calls from business entities on average.

For the purpose, the private individual or legal entity leaves an application on the company’s website and is then phoned to agree the day and hour when the waste can be collected. A contract is signed with legal entities and a document is later issued to show what equipment was collected so that there is evidence that this wasn’t thrown in case of inspections by the responsible authorities. For cellphones, batteries, chargers, small items, e-Recycling has a project that is implemented together with an electrical appliances company. Containers were placed inside the company’s stores where the people can leave these.

Sergiu Guzun noted that after the electrical and electronic waste items are discarded, they are stored and are then weighed and taken to a company. The association cannot export them as there are legal provisions by which the collection of such waste is made the task of importers of equipment. “We can turn into recyclers and disassemble this waste. This would be easier for importers too. Solid investments are yet needed and we do not have such money. The given law runs counter to other laws.“ The initiative is maintained based on the developed activity and the proceeds cover the costs.

Without subsidies or assistance from LPAs

ABS Recycling Moldova is a company that processes 40% of the waste in the municipality of Chisinau. The company’s manager Irina Balica said anyone can bring old furniture and any other large items to them free of charge. For some types of waste, those with positive economic value, money will be even paid. The manager refused to give an example of waste with positive economic value and with negative economic value, arguing the company struggles not to pay for the collected and recycled waste in general. Irina Balica noted the company does not get subsidies or assistance from LPAs for continuing to sort municipal waste.

When this is taken to the company, the waste is transported to the recycling plant by categories. “The waste is not a problem. On the contrary, it is a solution for not consuming natural resources. By waste sorting and recycling, we can implement a circular economy,” stated Irina Balica.

About 500 tonnes of waste is daily taken to the plant of ABS Recycling from the cleanup company “Autosalubritate” and from other responsible business entities. Other waste, organic and that cannot be recycled, such as plastic bags, diapers and disposable tableware, is taken to the waste dump in Țânțăreni, as is medical waste.

Platforms for separate collection of waste weren’t built because of shortage of funds

Vasile Efros, head of the Territorial Development and Cleanup Section of the Public Amenities Division, said there are no platforms for collecting particular types of waste, such as large waste items, in Chisinau. There is yet a storehouse situated on Calea Ghidighici St, where construction waste and, occasionally, large waste items, are taken. It’s not clear what’s happening to this type of waste further, but the construction waste is buried.

Even if the municipality does not offer a solution for large waste items, it informs the people that such items should not be thrown at solid waste collection platforms. The bio-waste, construction waste and large waste items should not be left at such platforms.

The functionary said things will move on soon as the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) commissioned a project to build five collection centers for particle types of waste, such as construction waste, vegetal waste, old electrical and electronic equipment and large waste items. These will be situated in the five districts of Chisinau. Each person will be able to take the waste by private transport or by transport rented from the municipality to the centers that will be outfitted with separate waste collection units that will include chopping mechanisms. No such centers have been built so far because there were no funds.

“Such a business is not within the Ministry’s remit”

The old furniture cannot be considered waste and this can be taken to furniture stores that restore it and sell it. The old furniture can be taken to relatives in villages and can be disassembled to use its parts for other purposes or it can be donated, said Svetlana Bolocan, head of the Waste and Chemical Substances Management Policy Division of the Ministry of Agriculture, Regional Development and Environment. According to her, a big problem in Moldova is the fact that there are no authorized business entities interested in large waste items. “The LPAs should think up a method for collecting large waste items and should open collection points and arouse the people’s interest. Such a business is not within the Ministry’s remit”.

Svetlana Bolocan noted the Moldovans are not active consumers now and do not throw furniture. They more often take it to villages where they reuse it or sell it to persons in need. “We haven’t yet reached Europeans’ mentality to use equipment during three years and throw it. The Ministry of Economy should develop this aspect as an economic aspect,” she stated, adding there is no interest probably because there are no considerable volumes of large waste items.

The functionary considers the LPAs should mobilize the population and companies that would build storehouses and would collect and recycle waste in coordination with the environmental bodies. From such stores, the items can be given to persons in need, for example. The producers and possessors of waste actually organize the own waste treatment and disposal system.

Aspects of legislation

In a response to IPN, the Ministry of Agriculture, Regional Development and Environment said that under the law on environmental protection, it is banned storing and throwing production and household waste outside specially outfitted places. Such actions are punished. The law on waste provides the manufacturers of products that fall under the regulations concerning extended producer responsibility (including of electrical and electronic equipment) are obliged to ensure the labeling and marking of products and use symbols showing that the product should be collected separately and cannot be thrown. It is banned disposing of discarded electrical and electronic devices stored separately. These should be taken to authorized installations for recycling.

If the large waste items, including domestic appliances, cannot be used, they are classed as waste regardless of their size. The law on waste stipulates that the responsibility for the management of waste is borne by the initial producer or another possessor of waste that are obliged to ensure the treatment of waste by own means or by transferring waste for such operations to be performed by an agent, unit or enterprise that performs waste treatment activities or to a public or private waste collection unit, by obeying the methods and procedures that do not pollute the environment and do not endanger people’s health. The producers and possessors of waste organize the own waste treatment and disposal system if the waste cannot taken to specialized units of the system organized for the purpose without causing damage to the environment and population’s health.

The Ministry also said that additional investments are not needed for collecting and transporting large waste items. Such waste is collected based on a program agreed at the start of the year by the cleanup operator and this program should be communicated to household and non-household users. The dwellers will take the waste out of the house and will leave it in front of the house or, in case of apartment buildings, will take it to large waste items collection points, in accordance with the collection program. The cleanup operator will transport the collected large waste items to the special spaces using existing units of transport. The LPAs are responsible for the working out of local waste management programs.

In 2020, 29 environmental authorizations for waste management were issued to businesses.

According to the Police, during the first six months of 2020 they made 901 reports on the violation of the rules of ensuring cleanness in urban and rural areas and sent them to the administrative commissions of the mayor’s offices that examine the cases and impose the penalty.

Sabina Rebeja, IPN

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