Vitebsk hosted a discussion "Waste Collection and Recycling, or Responsible Consumption: Reuse, Reduce, Recycle, Repeat - Modern Trends in Belarus and the World". The discussion was organized by ODB Brussels in cooperation with the Center for Environmental Solutions (Minsk). Participants discussed the problems related to collecting, treating and recycling secondary materials in Belarus, and they were introduced to global practices in this area.
In particular, participants of the discussion noted that Belarus has no established medical waste collection system in place, and deliberated how people or companies collecting secondary material resources (plastic, glass, etc.) can sort the waste and then recycle it more efficiently.
Darya Chumakova (on the right), Deputy Head of the Centre for Environmental Solutions (Minsk)
Experts emphasized that product manufacturers should take into account not just how good their package design is but also how easy it is to recycle the package. Darya Chumakova, Deputy Head of the Centre of Environmental Solutions, said that if the package combines PVC film with plastic, it becomes impossible to recycle it.
Volha Volkava, waste recycling expert (Belarus)
Participants of the discussion considered ways to encourage secondary resource collection and learnt about the deposit system, which allows customers to refund the "deposit" included in the price of product packaging if they bring it back to specialized collection points (reverse vending machines, or "fondomats"). Introduction of a deposit system in Belarus is currently discussed at the governmental level.
Participants also focused on practical problems of waste collection and requirements to modern waste containers.
The discussion also raised a number of economy-related points: tariffs on secondary raw materials, state procurement contracts and waste collection planning in Belarus. Participants learnt about the experience of other countries, e.g. work of private and state companies in the market.
The event brought together representatives of communal service structures, educational institutions and local non-governmental organizations from Vitebsk.