Slovakia’s recycling numbers allegedly overrated, fraudulent

Various sources have claimed that, in reality, some of the plastic waste reported as recycled go to incineration plants or landfills. [shutterstock/ITTIGallery]

While Eurostat figures state Slovakia recycles 38.5% of its municipal waste, the numbers could well be deliberately inflated, Denník N media outlet has reported.

Various sources have claimed that, in reality, some of the plastic waste reported as recycled go to incineration plants or landfills. This means the real recycling rate would be much lower.

It’s alleged that the figures are artificially inflated because of a trick that relies on the paper confirmation obtained every time a load of industrial waste is recycled. Industrial waste is often cleaner and is considered more valuable for recycling plants. The paper confirmation is later used to report household waste, mainly plastic, as recycled, despite this not being the case.

Plastic waste from households, which is still dirty and needs to go through a sorting line, is less profitable as it costs more to process.

The plastic reported as recycled is sent to incineration plants, which is illegal. Other reports suggest that recyclable plastic can also be buried in landfills.

Three unrelated sources back the claims made by Denník N: a high-level manager of a recycling and waste-shipping company, a businessman working with waste and an environment ministry official.

The Slovak environmental inspectorate has told Denník N that it had received this information but said it was beyond its scope to verify it.

(Michal Hudec | EURACTIV.sk)

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