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Frequently asked questions (FAQ)

How did the project start at Ponikve company?

The local municipalities on the island are responsible for decisions made by utility service company Ponikve. They are its owners and establishers. They authorize Ponikve company to collect waste according to the European Union’s standards. The island’s municipalities represent the interests of their inhabitants whose will is respected in the legitimate way.

Isn’t the new waste collection system brought rashly without any consultation with the inhabitants/ users and without the previous preparations? 

Door-to-Door waste collection system was previously approved by the company’s Assembly. After this, the information leaflets were sent to all the users. A detailed text was published in Novi list papers, and there have been long talks about the topic on the social networks for more than a month. The preparation was detailed: the best proof is a low number of users who weren’t informed about the new bins distribution. 

The new system would not be applied if we hadn’t been in touch with positive experiences from developed European countries where the same system was beeing applied for many years. 

Instead of former dumpsters on the street, now we have one 23 litre dumpster for the organic-waste and one 35 litre dumpster for residual waste in each household. This means that now we have to dispose the waste in our yards, garages, apartments and to bring the bins to the public surfaces for emptying. Isn’t this too complicated?

The implemented Door-to-Door system is not new. It is the most rational way of waste collection because every household is responsible for content and for hygiene of the bins. Many towns in Croatia have introduced the separate bins system (eg. Crikvenica, Novi Vinodolski and almost every smaller town in hinterland). In the past (by the end of 80s) there was a similar system on the island of Krk but was related only to residual waste collection. Because of the abrupt increase of number of tourists and a lack of ecological awareness, we were forced to change the way of waste disposal for common dumpsters on the streets. Times are changing, so in 2005 a primary waste selection was introduced. After Croatia became a member of the European Union, we were obliged to apply separate waste collection, so the Door-to-Door system is a logical development of all our activities.

How will this system function in summer when there are cars parked along the edges of public surfaces, often along the both sides of streets? How will the tourists pass through if the streets will be crowded by parked cars and by our bins? 

Door-to-Door system bins will not occupy so much space. They could be put discretly on the edge of the yard, so they would not obstruct neither traffic, neither passers-by. Properly parked cars (in the parking lots!) do not occupy streets or spaces in front of the private yards. Each irregulary parked car owner can expect an intervention of a policeman.

Besides, in the old-town nucleuses the old separate waste collection system is kept, which means that sets of dumpsters will still be there on different locations. (In future, we plan to put sets of semi-underground dumpsters in the old-town nucleuses. The aim is rarer emptyng and unpleasant smells avoiding, particulary in summer.) So, Door-to-Door system will not be introduced in the old-town nucleuses. Other users will accustom to put bins discretly by the entrance in their yards, according to the timetable and to remove them after emptying.

How will the tourists from the private accommodation know about the waste collection system and timetable? Should we, as their hosts, separate their waste? 

Information leaflets for tourists have already been published and distributed. Each household which rents accommodation is obliged to do the following: 

  1. Provide necessary bins for accommodation rented (each accommodation renter can get as much bins as needed)
  2. Introduce the waste collection system to tourists – tell them to separate waste (glass, plastic, metal, paper) in their accommodation and to dipose it properly in the dumpsters by the street
  3. The renter is obliged to take care about separate waste collection timetable and to put all the bins in front of the yard for emptying.

Why change system which probably isn’t ideal, but satisfies our needs?

The system we abandoned was in function for 30 years and it was necessary to bring it to a higher level. In summer, from time to time, people complained because of unpleasant smells from the street dumpsters although we washed them regulary. This happened because dumpsters were on the public area and a part of users were irresponsible because they knew that somebody will take their waste even if they dispose it irregulary. The other users had every reason to complain, particulary those users who lived close to the dumpsters. With the step we took, each user will be oblighed to take care about the proper waste disposal and bins will not be exposed to the sun the whole day. The progress will soon be shown.

You claim there won’t be unpleasant smells from the street dumpsters any more. But there will be unpleasant smells in front of our houses. 

The rule is to put organic-waste into the house bin tied in a bag. It is because of hygienc and unpleasant smells prevention. The organic-waste bin itself closes hermetically what prevents unpleasant smells spreading around. (The same couldn’t be achieved with former street dumpsters. Sometimes, they were left open or some irresponsible users would throw a bag which wasn’t tied, so all the content fell out and unpleasant smells spread arround for metres.) In summer, when the smell issue is emphasized, the waste removal is organized every two days. So, we belive that Door-to-Door system is the best solution for unpleasant smell prevention. 

What can we do to stop cats, seagulls and other animals from dragging waste along the streets?

The bins have a blocade which prevents animals from opening and also the waste from falling out. Because of the same reason, bins can not be opened neither overturned because of certain weather conditions (eg. strog wind).

What if the wind blows the bins far away?

Every household can find a suitable corner in its yard protected from the wind.

On days when, according the timetable, organic-waste or residual waste won’t be removed, people might throw it on the streets, in somebody’s yard, in sewerage etc.

We live on the island where people are accustomed to separate waste collection, so we think that something like that won’t happen. People are aware about the waste selection importance and they will positively influence the others who possibly still did not acquire the same habit. We believe it is easier to have a bin in the yard and prepare it for emptying than bring the waste somewhere in the street dumpster. On the other hand, plastic, glass and small metal which can be collected at home in the same bag and than selected in proper street dumpsters, can not cause any unpleasant smell troubles.

What has the seasonal population do with the waste before they leave the island? What have we do before we leave our homes for a longer period?

There are separate dumpsters for organic-waste and for residual waste on the recycling points. Everyone can use them to dispose waste.

What if our bins get stolen? What if they break?

There is no reason for stealing bins because everyone will have the same bins. If a bin disappears or demolishes, it can be replaced as usual.

What will happen with former street dumpsters and refuse vans?

They will keep their function because Door-to-door system is related only to family houses. The old-town nuceuses and tenenment houses with more than 6 appartments will keep the former system. In two years Door-to-door system will be introduced in the entire island and the waste will be removed with the same refuse vans which will be restored if necessary, but there won’t be purchasing of any new refuse vans. When a need for new veichles arises, we will choose smaller and quieter ones.

Do tenenment houses keep the old waste collection system?

In order to avoid accumulation of the little bins in front of the tenenment houses, we decided to leave sets for separate waste collection in front of each tenenment house as they were.

Why do you think this system will positively impact tourism? Do tourists think the same way?

Waste managing is a developing process. A lot has been changed from time when people kept things and used them many times, to the time of thoughtless consumption when people were used to throw things easily.
Today we live in a transition time when production changes from linear (new goods’ production and rejection of the old ones) to circular (new goods’ production by using the resources of the old ones).
Therefore, the awareness of waste selection is a significant advantage for this island and for this region from every point of view, including tourist one. Regions which select the waste in a sophisticated way, which guarantees maximal effects, are particulary appreciated. We talk about a change that demands just a slight adjustment from the resident population. But, this step forward acquires a lot of appreciation for the area they live in. Did you know that these days there is a debate holding in the European Parliament about the new aim on the European level which is an increase of selected waste collection from 50% to 75% to the year 2020?

Why does this system increase a share of selected waste? Wouldn’t it be possible to increase efficiency of the previous system by a higher level of control?

Applying Door-to-Door system demands of each household to take care of cleanness of its bins and about what do they put in which bin. In turn, this is the opportunity for the conscience growth. The highest efficiency level of the previous system was at best 45%. There wasn’t an easy applicable and efficient system of control in the past system, because all the dumpsters were on the public area, so it was easy to avoid every individual responsibility. For example, putting up surveillance cameras by the each set of street dumpsters would cost much more than the introduction of our new system. And there is more: a camera can record a person who breaks the rule but sanctioning would be hardly possible. So, it is clear that new system we decided to apply raises the waste selection efficiency, reduces residual waste quantity and, what is of great importance for the future, reduces costs of waste removal to the regional waste managing centre. 

The booklet we got with the new bins mentiones costs reduction. Would this costs reduction impact the price we pay for waste removal? Would Ponikve company increase the profit by selling selected raw-materials?

If there would be a thing or a raw-material worth enough to get wealthy by selling it, you would not think about throwing it to the waste, but you would try to gain wealth through it. 

Generally, there are some expenses for each kind of waste managing. The most expensive one is managing residual waste, which means that waste selection as such reduces costs, particularly because less waste is removed to the regional waste managing centre (which is, according the EU regulations, the only place where residual waste can be removed), the less price would be payed. By selling the raw-material got from selected waste collection, we raise a symbolic amount of money which covers a part of expenses for waste removal to the regional centre.

Everyone has to know that we prepare ourselves for the future situation when we will be forced to remove all residual waste to the regional centre Marinšćina. A cost of residual waste disposal would be paid per tonne. At the moment, we collect 10 000 tonnes of such waste, and according the European experiences, the expected price is 100 € per tonne which is a total of 1 million € or 7,6 millions of kunas. At the moment, this means a price increase of 50%.

Things are very clear here: less residual waste removed to the regional centre means less price increase. This is the way our users will be protected from paying expensive bills. If we would reach the level of 80% of selected waste by the year 2020, the price for our users would not be increased significantly. 

Finally, when the benefits of the system we decided to apply start to show and when the savings will be calculated, we will introduce certain reductions for our users to motivate them to make more progress in their ecological orientation and behaviour. 

Aren’t these bins too small for an average family?

According to the numbers, a family of four produces and selects 40 – 45 % of waste daily, so there is no reason for bigger bins, particulary because of the fact we want to achieve a share of 80% of selection. If some households produce more then an average amount of waste, this might indicate their waste isn’t separated correctly but is put all in one bag without selection.

When there is an exceptional case of more waste (eg. because of a celebration in the family etc.), excess waste can always be brought to the recycling points (in the town of Krk it is situated on the exit of the town in direction towards Vrh).

According what scedule is the project applied?

The test-project started on Saturday, October 17th 2014 in Krk and Vrh, and from November 3rd 2014, the new modality of waste removal started.

From November 15th 2014, old dumpsters were removed from the streets. Distribution of the bins for households in Punat started in February 2015, and immidiately after this, the new modality of waste removal for the town of Punat started.

The same was completed for all the other towns on the island during the year 2015.