Since August 2012 Liepajas RAS Ltd. have placed more than 150 sets of sorted waste bins at schools and kindergartens. It has been done within the project „Establishment of the recycable waste sorting”. The project has been realized in cooperation with the Liepaja city council and the waste collection companies EkoKurzeme Ltd. and Nordia Ltd.
Under this project both the waste bins were placed and a social questionnaire was done.
In cooperation with a student of Liepaja University a part of municipal institutions were visited in order to investigate the situation with waste sorting and learn about the first feedbacks. 2/3 of respondents are aware of waste sorting necessity and are happy to have such a possibility to sort the waste. The representatives of the institutions acknowledged that since introduction of the sorted waste bins the residual waste has been reduced significantly. The representatives said that one needs to get used to sort the waste correctly.
The questionnaire has shown that elder people over the age of 30 sort the waste more easily than youngsters. Elder people are also more conscientious, as 37% of them don’t mind to walk longer distances to the bins. 42% of respondents of the eldest group answered that the establishment of the bins has also encouraged them to sort waste also at home. According to criteria of the choice of the consumer goods young people mostly choose it at lower price (85% of youngsters), while for older people the price and the quality of a product plays similar role. Eco-friendliness of a packaging or a product still plays a small role as a criteria of product choice in Latvia.
During the meetings with the representatives of the institutions we got different suggestions which would improve operations of the waste management system.
One of the suggestions what we have got is that one residual waste bin should be placed nearby to prevent residual waste thrown into one of the recyclable waste bins.
Both staff and students of schools and kindergartens actively sort the waste. The same level of activity is seen also at other municipal institutions, although the different institutions differ regarding the activity of the sorting. 20% of respondents sort the waste also at home. Regarding waste reuse, people are mostly used to reuse plastic carrier-bags and PET bottles.
Alina Shvagere mentioned that such a project is a good way how to promote waste sorting at municipal institutions, as well as it is a good opportunity to involve in waste sorting those people who do not have such an opportunity at home or elsewhere. Such kind of projects should be implemented more often and to draw attention to what people get when sorting the waste, and then the waste sorting as a part of the waste management system will develop more successfully. The main benefits are natural resource savings, reduction of residual waste amount, promotion of waste recycling. Incomes from recyclable waste sales can reduce expenditures of waste management system.
Waste sorting at Liepaja Secondary School No. 15. Image D.Balse.
The research prepared by:
Māris Dubrovskis – LiepajasRAS Plastic Zero Technical manager
Alīna Shvagere – student of Liepaja University Environmental Management
Zane Siksna – „Liepajas RAS” Environmental specialist