p 6862-2018 280Romania has not registered any significant progress in the recycling system last year and waste management is still a very problematic and challenging area, according to Andrei Orban, the president of Environ, another important organization which aims to take over and fulfil the obligations of producers of electrical and electronic equipment. According to him, the implementation of selective collection in four streams of waste has been postponed, there are no municipal collection points available for the population, the absorption of European funds is low, while legislative inconsistency, lack of enforcement, low level of awareness and interest for environmental issues represent aspects Romania needs to reconsider. However, the picture might change and the achievement of the recycling targets could be accomplished, he says, but only if there will be cooperation and support from both authorities and industry.

"It's time for people to understand their obligations as citizens of this country and to protect the environment by safely disposing of the quantities of waste generated, without receiving any incentives in return," Orban tells The Diplomat - Bucharest. "Reaching high performances in recycling is not possible without a conjugate approach of all actors involved: starting with central authorities in charge with legislation transposal, law enforcement, local authorities' involvement in creating municipal collection centres, sanitation operators, EPR [extended producer responsibility] schemes, businesses that take over their environmental obligations and civil society active participation. We have to be aware that we need to start immediately the selective collection at the source and stop landfilling every kind of waste, otherwise it will be almost impossible to reach the targets."

Orban goes on to add that one of the most important changes in the WEEE recycling market in 2015 was the transposal of the European Directive 2012/19/EU into national legislation by Emergency Ordinance no 5/2015, over a year later than expected. According to him, the adoption of Emergency Ordinance opens a new page in the application of the acquis communautaire in the environment area in the country, introducing new targets for electronic waste, established by a calculation formula. Nevertheless, Orban emphasizes that the implementation of any national economic instruments based on the extended producer responsibility has to be done according to the European stipulations and Romania's obligations as foreseen in the Partnership Agreement.

"One of the major problems in the waste area is that the legislation is not compliant with the obligations our country has assumed in the Treaty of Accession regarding the Common Environmental Policy, whereas the 2012 European Commission Roadmap for Romania was and is still being disregarded," says the president of Environ. "E-waste management requires equal involvement of central and local authorities as they are being held responsible, according to the law, for ensuring waste collection through fixed or mobile collection centres or at least every three months. We have expressed several times our interest and willingness to cooperate with the representatives of central authorities for the development of a public awareness strategy and action plan in order to increase the population information level regarding selective collection and recycling," he adds.

Environ launched in summer of 2015 the first interactive recycling map, an intelligent program that uses up-to-the-minute technology and after detecting the location of an online visitor, it can guide him towards the closest point of collection with the aim of encouraging a recycling habit. Moreover, the organization continued last year to develop the project "Reduce your carbon footprint - First steps in the battle against climate change" initiated in 2014 with the support of the German Embassy, the activities being mainly online-focused, by providing permanently updated information regarding global warming. The organization also continued to invest in education, organizing the fifth consecutive edition of the school campaign "Baterel and the Non E World", an ecological education program for students all ages and that is currently being implemented in more than 1,000 education units.

Another project initiated last autumn called "Raising energy efficiency in education units" is being developed in collaboration with the Independent Institute for Environment Issues from Germany. The pilot edition is being implemented in four schools and it aims to generate a change of mentality by involving both students and professors in applying a set of practical measures in order to reduce carbon footprint and increase energy efficiency. Since 2007, when it started its activity in the WEEE management area, Environ has collected almost 50,000 tonnes of WEEE, of which over 95 per cent has been treated and recycled within the plants of Remat Holding and GreenWEEE, part of Green Group.

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