In the City of Skopje there is almost no organized system for collection of packaging waste, which is municipal waste, especially from households. This is an obligation of the Mayor of the City of Skopje and the Mayors of the Municipalities (Article 26 of the Law on Management of Packaging and Packaging waste Official Gazette of RM No. 161/2009). PE Communal Hygiene is responsible for the collection of municipal waste in Skopje, however there is almost no primary selection of packaging waste in the households.
The so-called “major players” who collect packaging waste from the municipal waste, are the so-called “Informal waste pickers”, predominantly from the Roma population. Most often it is the poor marginalized groups that collect waste from the containers, leaving behind clutter (garbage bags), plus unaware of the dangers they face in carrying out those activities. In the process of collection and transportation, improvised waste collection centers are established, where the waste is used for trade and the rest is burned for heating or cooking, thus contributing significantly to air pollution.
All public institutions concerned, national and local, have a positive will to tackle the problem of “informal waste collectors”, formalize the sector and unleash the potential for employment, increased GDP, and a healthier environment. One of the fears of the informal waste pickers being included in the project is that they would lose their social security benefits. Due to the positive will of all the institutions concerned, and in particular the Ministry of Labor and Social Policy, there was a decision on keeping social security if they receive an income within 1 to 2 years.
The project aimed households and informal waste pickers that would be integrated into a formal packaging waste collection system. In particular, a collaboration with 384 households that selected two waste fractions, PET and solid plastic. With “home service”, the pickers collected the plastic waste from households every Tuesday.
The development idea of the project is to extend this concept to the City of Skopje, to establish a social enterprise that will be cost-effective and employ waste collectors through the establishment of a household packaging waste selection system.
Also contributing to the sustainability of the project is the fact that the “waste picker and handler” occupation is part of the new waste management law, thus enabling the recognition of the profession of waste pickers and enabling them employment. To be qualified, there is a developed verified training programs (2-3 months) followed by employment in the social enterprise (or other entities with an interest in it).
Activity 1: Targeting and analyzing 400 households;
Activity 2: Targeting and selecting 10 informal waste pickers;
Activity 3: Selection of 2 facilitators
;Activity 4: Training of waste pickers and facilitators;
Activity 5: Establishing contact and cooperation with 400 households;
Activity 6: Procurement of appropriate equipment and materials;
Activity 7: Promotional campaign;
Activity 8: Collection of household waste and transport to authorized
Activity 9: Brochure with project results and experiences
The project was funded by the City of Skopje.