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Incinerators at the expense of the circular economy, only 17% of waste is recycled

Incinerators at the expense of the circular economy, only 17% of waste is


In Albania, the separation of municipal waste at source is almost non-existent, despite the legal obligation to carry out this process, while the Albanian government has concentrated financial resources on the construction of incinerators at the expense of the recycling industry, says an analysis by the Organization for Cooperation and Economic Development (OECD) on Albania's possibilities for adopting the circular economy.

The study notes that only about 17% of municipal waste (for which estimates exist) is recycled (compared to 48% in the European Union) and the main method of waste management is landfilling.

"The first incineration plant in Albania started operating in 2019 in Elbasan, which treated around 2% of waste for energy purposes in 2021. The other two incinerators in Fier and Tirana have not yet been commissioned.

However, investments in waste incineration plants should not be made at the expense of the recycling industry in Albania and should not move the country away from aligning with the EU acquis waste hierarchy principle, waste recycling in the circular economy model ” says the OECD study,

In Albania, there are about 30 private recycling companies, which have invested about 230 million euros. The combined processing capacity of these companies is about 500,000 tons/year, which is more than enough to process all the recyclable waste generated in the country's economy.

However, due to the lack of raw material, companies have reported that they work with about 25% of their production capacity and recycle about 10% of the total municipal waste generated.

The OECD said that Albania is not properly managing industrial waste, which is a major polluter of groundwater, while organic waste can be reused as a source for organic soil fertilizers or as a source of biomass to generate biofuels, thus reducing the cost. of purchasing raw materials.

Mining tailings can be used as a solution to fill mine voids, for embankments, roads, and building construction. the cement industry, with its high-temperature kilns, has the capacity to utilize waste, such as used oils, tires and plastic waste, as alternative sources of energy.

Moreover, in addition to banning some types of single-use plastic bags in 2022, recycling and circulation is still very necessary to further reduce plastic pollution, created by its unsustainable use, as it brings several risks to the sector. Albanian tourism, ecosystems and human health, OECD advised./ Monitor

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