Integrated solid waste management

Project description

Title: Climate-friendly integrated solid waste management and circular economy in Albania
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: Albania
Lead executing agency: Ministry of Tourism and Environment
Overall term: 2016 to 2019

The old dumpsite of Himara

Context

Having attained candidate status in 2014, Albania's aspiration to achieve EU membership is now the driving force behind the country’s current development efforts. Accordingly, Albania’s National Waste Management Strategy for 2010–2025 is oriented toward EU standards. Several laws and directives have already converted that strategic orientation into a legal framework, including a law on the integrated management of waste (2011) and a law to promote the separation of waste (2014). However, a large discrepancy remains between these legal steps on the one hand, and reality on the other. The wide gap is caused by shortcomings in resources, capacities, technical knowledge and environmental education. Organic waste is deposited in poorly managed landfills as part of the overall solid waste. There it generates landfill gases and leachate that pollute water, soil and even the climate. The polluter-pays principle is not enforced and cost-recovering services are a reality in just a very few municipalities. This inadequate waste management system has negative impacts on people’s health and the environment. Because of their lack of resources, most municipalities feel over-burdened by the need to modernise their services.

Objective

The solid waste management system in Albania has improved. There is a greater focus on climate-related aspects of waste management, with the introduction of composting of organic matter, and increased waste separation and recycling in the municipalities of Himara, Peqin and Rrogozhina.

Waste sorting in a German supermarket

Approach

Improving the management of solid waste requires the active support of the wider population and of private businesses. For this reason, the project underscores the importance of a participatory approach with broad-based civic involvement, especially including the marginalised groups engaged in the informal collection of recyclable waste.

The project operates at national level, where it cooperates in particular with the Ministry of Tourism and Environment, and in three partner municipalities (Himara, Peqin and Rrogozhina). At the national level, it contributes to a review of the National Waste Management Strategy as well as the strengthening of sector regulations, and it carries out general capacity development activities.

In the partner municipalities, the project supports the drafting and implementation of waste management plans. It is also working with both national and local actors to develop a financing plan to cover the costs of waste management operations.

In a third area of activity, the project assists the three partner municipalities in mobilising their residents to get them more involved in the new concepts of integrated solid waste management. This entails information campaigns to encourage waste separation and composting, and the acceptance of fee payments.

Since 2017, the project has also been contributing to Germany’s position as the lead donor in this sector. It cooperates very closely with KfW development bank, which is responsible for delivering German financial assistance for solid waste management, and it works with other international development partners. 

Results

The first draft of the revised National Strategy on Integrated Solid Waste Management was submitted in November 2017. In December of the same year, a draft municipal solid waste management plan was submitted for Himara, with further plans submitted for Peqin and Rrogozhina in January 2018.

In January 2018, municipal action plans were submitted to all the partner municipalities. Among other steps, the plans foresee the safer depositing of waste and the rehabilitation of old dump sites.

Eight awareness raising campaigns were conducted in our partner municipalities in 2017, one example being the campaign to encourage people to switch from using plastic bags to cotton bags when shopping.

Tailor-made training courses were provided for the project’s Albanian partners in 2017.