Čistoća: the First System of Selective Waste Disposal in Montenegro
In order to maintain their town’s popularity as a tourist destination, the municipal officials of Herceg Novi realized that they needed to preserve natural resources by reducing waste and promoting recycling. As a result, the municipality decided to re-organize Čistoća, the public waste management company established in 1947, to enable it to start dealing with selective garbage disposal and recycling of aluminum, glass, iron, paper and plastic.
Citizens drop off garbage and recycling materials at recycling stations located all over the town and Čistoća’s employees collect the same. After collection, the items go through a cleaning and pretreatment process and are sorted for disposal or retreatment to become secondary raw materials. These materials are then sold to local SMEs in Montenegro and its neighboring countries. In order to increase the quality of the recycling facilities and invest in new equipment and vehicles, the municipality and Čistoća approached the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and International Relief and Development (IRD) for financial assistance in 2006. Anticipating that tourism would bring economic and ecological benefits to the local community and create new sustainable jobs, the donors supported Čistoća´s investment in new facilities as well as its efforts in promoting recycling among the public. In parallel, the company collaborated with donors and local SMEs to launch a public awareness campaign. The campaign brought about significant changes in the local community’s ecological awareness. Only a couple of months after its implementation, 95% of the solid waste that came to Čistoća’s recycling station was deposited in the correct bins and the total solid waste in Herceg Novi was reduced by 30%.