Romanians are currently recycling only 3 percent of their aluminum waste, way below the European average of 70 percent, but the figure it set to increase via new recycling machines installed at large retailers. The country’s Environment and Forestry Ministry recently launched a project aiming at improving the collection rate of aluminum cans and PETs. Romania’s target for January 2014 is to collect 55 percent of its aluminum cans. Rubbish dumps currently receive 10 tonnes of aluminum cans a year, according to the Ministry.
The Ministry has brought new recycling equipment to Romania, which will be located in large shopping centers. People who bring their aluminum cans and plastic bottles there will receive vouchers of 5 bani per item. The vouchers, issued by the retailers, can only be used in the partner retailers’ networks.
One of new pieces of equipment costs EUR 20,000, while the maintenance fees bring its cost to EUR 30,000, which will be invested by recycling companies. Retailers will cover the cost of vouchers, while the Environment Ministry will cancel the 16 percent tax for the recyclers and the 3 percent tax on recycling aluminum cans.
A pilot project was set up two years ago, with five such machines in Pitesti. Green Group, the recycling company running the project, collected over 60,000 plastic bottles and over 21,000 aluminum cans in one month, according to its statistics. The Government agreed to partially subsidize local authorities for installing such machines too, according to PM Victor Ponta (in picture).
Recycling an aluminum can save the same amount of energy as a TV consumes in three hours, while a ton of recycled PETs, worth some EUR 700, provides the raw materials to make fibers for clothing.