A total of 831 thousand tons of municipal plastic waste was produced in the Republic of Serbia from 2017 to 2019. Of this amount of waste, 14 thousand tons, or 2 percent of this type of waste, were collected and recycled separately. Given that the separate collection of municipal plastic waste is not systematically organized, large amounts end up in unsanitary landfills or in the soil and riverbeds, the Performance Audit Report on "Management of Plastic Waste" showed. As the audit conducted by the State Audit Institution in 2020 showed, 897 thousand tons of plastic waste were produced in Serbia from 2017 to 2019.
Plastic takes up to a thousand years to decompose and in the meantime it causes great damage to the environment and, indirectly, to human health. On the other hand, the current way of using plastic and disposing of plastic waste does not achieve the economic benefits that a circular approach would bring, so plastic, as a valuable material for the economy, is lost after it has become waste, Points out Dr Dusko Pejovic, President of the State Audit Institution of the Republic of Serbia and the Auditor General.
This audit showed that the regulations in Serbia in the area of waste management are mostly harmonized with the European Union regulations, but that mechanisms for their full implementation have not been created.
Not all goals defined by the strategic and planning framework have been realized. Instead of the planned 26 regional waste management centres, 10 were established. Fifteen local self-government units did not adopt local waste management plans.
Separate waste collection was established by 43 percent of local self-government units, while the share of separately collected waste in total municipal waste is 5 percent.
In order to improve the system of collecting recyclable waste, it is necessary to include informal collectors in the existing system of waste collection. The methodology for calculating the municipal waste recycling rate from 2017 to 2019 was not established, which may affect the reliability of data on the recycling rate. The auditors call for decisive and concerted action if Serbia wants to increase the amount of plastic packaging waste it recycles by 2030.