The state is helping to recycle bio-wast

30. November 2020 | 10:23

The Environmental Investment Centre (EIC) has opened a call for applications to help organise the recycling of biodegradable waste. More specifically, this concerns waste water sediment, kitchen and canteen waste, and garden and landscaping waste.

“Considering the obligation to collect more and more bio-waste at the source where the waste is generated, there is a growing need to recycle it,” explains Minister of the Environment Rain Epler. “There are also new ways to reuse waste water sediment. This is why we decided to support investment in such solutions.”

Deputy secretary general of the Ministry of the Environment Kaupo Heinma adds that biodegradable waste treatment centres are already in place or under construction in several counties, where certified high-quality compost or digestate is produced. According to Heinma, the specificity of bio-waste is that its recycling should occur as close as possible to the place where it is generated. “Now, during waste reduction week, we are opening an application round together with EIC, during which we will focus on areas where biodegradable waste is not yet used for production,” he adds.

“Currently, we are reviewing applications from local governments to help residents purchase garden compost bins that would allow bio-waste to be recycled in home gardens. We also support the creation of a comprehensive waste collection system, incl. the installation of separate collection containers and the construction of waste collection buildings, which with the use of this support measure, create the preconditions for the better recycling of biodegradable waste,” said Antti Tooming, the head of the EIC’s department of grants and services, who connects the various waste subsidies into one whole. “To increase the recycling of waste in Estonia, it is necessary to find innovative solutions. Even small changes in the traditional approach can be the basis for major developments in the whole field.”  

The application round opened today will allow local governments or their agencies, joint institutions and associations, but also legal persons governed by private law to apply for support that would allow the recycling of waste water sediment, kitchen and canteen waste, as well as garden and landscaping waste. Preparations for recycling are also supported, but only if recycling will then follow the procedure in a provable manner. The support measure necessitates a waste recycling solution to be established in the Saare, Hiiu, Lääne, Pärnu, Viljandi, Rapla, Jõgeva, Valga, Põlva, Võru or Ida-Viru county. Recyclable waste may also be generated in other counties. The contribution will be in a range from 200,001 euros to 1,500,000 euros per project. The budget in this round for applications is 3,000,000 euros.

Applications can be submitted via the e-support environment from 26 November and the application round will close on 31 March 2021 at 5 pm. The information day will take place on 12 January 2021 at 10 am online. More information can be found on the EIC website.

The support is distributed from the European Regional Development Fund and the measure was developed by the Ministry of the Environment.

Background information

The results of the mixed municipal waste sorting survey (2020) conducted by the Tallinn Centre of the Stockholm Environmental Institute indicate that the share of bio-waste in mixed municipal waste has essentially remained at the same level when compared to the results of the 2013 survey. Bio-waste forms an average of 32% of mixed municipal waste. Kitchen and food waste accounted for 73% of the bio-waste contained in mixed municipal waste. However, the samples from all areas of analysis contained a relatively large amount of garden and landscaping waste. This is especially true in areas with private houses. In summary, it can be said that the separate collection of this type of waste is not organised to a sufficient level and thus this waste continues to be left in mixed municipal waste containers. Both the separate collection and management of bio-waste need to be improved.

The European Union, in line with new, more ambitious waste-related targets, plans to reduce the volume of landfilled municipal waste by 10% by 2035, to recycle at least 55% of municipal waste and 65% of packaging waste by 2025, but also to collect bio-waste on a site-by-source basis by the end of 2023 at the latest.