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Bratislava eyes recycling independence and smart waste management

Bratislava eyes recycling independence and smart waste management

Acquisition of a sorting line and waste digitalization fit into the city’s strategy for a circular economy

The City of Bratislava and the municipal waste management company Odvoz a likvidácia odpadu (OLO) have purchased a modern automated sorting line and successfully negotiated the premature termination of contract with Bratislava Recycling Company (formerly known as Vassal EKO). In a press release, the local government hailed this move as “a groundbreaking step that leads to Bratislava's independence in the sorting and subsequent recovery of plastics and paper.”

Regaining control of waste sorting

Bratislava has the ambition to increase the rate of sorting and especially recycling of sorted plastics in the short term to 45 percent from the current 10-15 percent. This increase is considered important not only for Bratislava as a city, but also for the environment, as more thorough sorting of waste for recycling before recovery saves primary fossil resources and forests, which has a direct impact on decarbonisation and the mitigation of climate change.

Bratislava says it has regained control of waste sorting and will no longer be dependent on a partner whose commercial interests often run contrary to those of the city. The municipality hopes that this move will reassure Bratislava residents that sorting actually pays off, so that they can approach it responsibly in their households.

Emphasis on ecological benefits  

Bratislava Recycling has annual sales of 5 million euros and has built its empire around waste sorting. The city wants to gradually transfer a substantial part of this value to the OLO, with the proviso that in addition to the economic benefits, emphasis will be placed on the environment.

The sorting of plastics and paper by Bratislava Recycling alone have cost OLO almost EUR 1,5 million a year. By transferring waste sorting to OLO, the city will have the entire chain under control.

Waste digitalization project

The acquisition of a sorting line fits into the municipal Strategy for Waste Management for the years 2021 – 2026, aimed at transitioning to a circular economy.

Earlier this year, the Slovak capital, in cooperation with Sensoneo, provider of smart waste management solutions for cities and businesses, embarked on a project to digitalize waste collection and make it cost-effective and environmentally friendly.

The project, supported by a grant from the European Innovation Council, includes installing Sensoneo sensors to glass waste containers and underground bins across Bratislava, placing devices on garbage trucks to automatically verify pick-ups and optimize their route. During the project which will last until next April, Senseo will also test prototypes for introduction of “Pay as you sort” models and detecting fill-levels of containers during pick-ups, Recycling Magazine reports.

With this project, the city expects to save on waste collection- related mileage and emissions and improve its ability to intervene quickly in the case of overfilled containers.

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