Waste (Czech Republic)
Why should we care about this issue
Waste management in the Czech Republic is associated with nearly all types of production, especially industrial production and civil engineering, which produce the most waste. In the Czech Republic, the public sector makes an important contribution to waste management through municipal waste.
During the period 2002–2008, total waste production in the Czech Republic fell by 19.2 %. However, the trend came to an end in 2006 when, due to economic development, total waste production increased by 4 % annually (see Fig.).
In 2008, 6.4 % of all waste handling was related to waste recovery. Of the total waste recovered, 96% was related to materials and 4 % to energy. Additional information: http://issar.cenia.cz/issar/page.php?id=1844.
The state and impacts
Unlike other types of waste, municipal waste is mainly treated using one method of waste disposal. In 2008, 80 % of the total municipal waste produced was processed by means of waste disposal. However, due to a lack of materials and energy waste recovery facilities, most of the mixed municipal waste is being placed in landfill sites. By contrast, most of the sorted municipal waste is being recycled (glass, plastics, paper). Additional information: http://issar.cenia.cz/issar/page.php?id=1645.
During the reference period 2002–08, the tendency in waste management was towards increasing the share of treated waste and material recovery in particular. Continuous development in production and the waste management business contributed to an increase in material recovery and in 2008, 68 % of the total waste produced was recycled. According to the Figure, between 2002 and 2008, 63–72 % of the total waste produced was reported as recyclable waste – increasing the share by up to 6.4 %. Additional information: http://issar.cenia.cz/issar/page.php?id=1647.
As the walking distance to containers has been reduced and the number of containers has increased the total amount of recycled packaging waste has grown significantly. During the reference period 1999–2008, the total amount of packaging waste recycled has increased 29-fold (see Fig.). At the same time, the yield of sorted waste also increased rapidly (by 570 %) which meant that by 2008, every Czech citizen was sorting 53.1 kg of waste per year (see Fig.). If we focus on the structure of disposable packaging, the most common packaging is paper (39 %), followed by plastic (23 %). The share of glass packaging is 21 % (see Fig.).
In terms of recycling rates, paper is the most successful commodity, with a material recovery rate of 96 %. This is followed by glass (68 %), metals (54 %) and plastics (52 %). The problem with the recycling of plastics is that there is such a large variety that it makes further processing more difficult and less efficient (see Fig.). Additional information: http://issar.cenia.cz/issar/page.php?id=1648.
One of the basic principles of Czech waste management is the importance of minimising the impacts of waste on human health and the natural environment by pretreating hazardous and non-hazardous waste ahead of recovery or disposal. The most common pre-treatment is biological and physico-chemical treatment. The share of pre-treated waste out of the total waste handled is 11 % (see Fig.).
The key drivers and pressures
There are several main drivers for waste generation: domestic material consumption (see Fig.), material dependence on imports resp. material intensity of GDP or for the decoupling of the environmental impact curve and the economic performance curve (see Fig.). So far, no specific numerical targets have been set for these drivers. Documents such as the State Environmental Policy of the Czech Republic, the Raw Material Policy in the Field of Mineral Materials and their Resources, the State Energy Policy of the Czech Republic, the Economic Growth Strategy of the Czech Republic and the Sustainable Development Strategy of the Czech Republic identify the need to reduce material consumption, maintain a certain level of material dependence and finally the need to use resources efficiently. Additional information: http://issar.cenia.cz/issar/page.php?id=1842 and http://issar.cenia.cz/issar/page.php?id=1843.
The main rules and regulations on waste management are set out in Act No. 185/2001 Coll. on waste and in amendments to existing legislation which came into force on 1 January 2002. Since the accession of the Czech Republic to the EU this law has been updated several times. It stipulates the obligations of individuals and legal persons when handling waste as well as conditions for waste prevention. It also details conditions for the treatment of hazardous and non-hazardous waste, electronic waste, end-of-life vehicles, waste oils, etc. Legislation governing the collection and handling of packaging waste is presented in Act No. 477/20051 Coll. In addition, Government Decree No. 197/2003 Coll. stipulates the objectives and measures for waste management in the Czech Republic in accordance with the principles of sustainable development.
The 2020 outlook
The outlook for 2020 will be influenced by a new waste management plan. The main targets of the current waste management plan are:
- to minimise the volume and weight of products while retaining their functional properties;
- to create conditions to support returnable, reusable packaging;
- to provide for the recovery of 38 % wt of the annual amount of oil sold by 2006 and 50 % of the annual amount of oil sold by 2012 and increase the amount of waste oil collected for recycling;
- by 2012, to provide for the collection and material recovery of 95 % wt of the total amount of lead storage batteries sold;
- by 1 January 2015 at the latest, to reuse and recover at least 95 % of the average weight of all discarded vehicles accepted for the calendar year and to reuse and recover materials equivalent to at least 85 % of the average weight of all discarded vehicles accepted for the calendar year.
Existing and planned responses
- to stipulate the objectives and measures for waste management in the Czech Republic, in accordance with the principles of sustainable development;
- commit to the management of all types of waste, with the exception of those set out in Paragraph 2(1)(a)-(h) of Act No 185/2001 Coll. on Waste and amendments to other legislation (the Waste Act);
- to act as a basis for the drawing up of regional waste management plans and for decision-making and other activities by the competent administrative bodies, regions and municipalities (paragraph 42(5) of the Waste Act);
- to cover a period of 10 years (2003-2012), being amended immediately after any fundamental change in the conditions according to which it was drawn up.
Consequently, waste management plans are drawn up at regional and local level and by waste producers themselves (production up to 1 000 tonnes of non-hazardous waste or up to 10 tonnes of hazardous waste). The English version of the National Waste Management Plan 2003–13 is also available here.