The first sorting plant has already been in operation at Pod šancemi Street in Jarov for nine years but the new one has been running for just two months in Chrášťany on the outskirts of the city past Zličín. “The Capital City of Prague pays for waste recycling for Prague citizens from its budget. This does not concern finances collected for the removal of communal waste, this concerns money collected by the city from taxes,” stated the Mayor of Prague Pavel Bém.

Waste recycling is free of charge

For Prague citizens who are not sure where to go with the waste there is a cheap and simple solution. The nearest recycling point to their home can be found on an interactive map of Prague on the following web pages: www.cistapraha.cz. Sorted waste (paper, glass, pet-bottles, tetra-packs, batteries etc.) can be thrown into appropriate recycling containers. In Prague there are more than three thousand of these. If you want to get rid of fridges, televisions, carpets, old three-piece-suites or debris then a collecting yard will collect these for free. “Therefore it is of no use to leave TV sets, or fridges, etc. next to the containers” said Prague Mayor Pavel Bém.  “Unfortunately, annually we have to remove ten tons of waste discarded next to the sorting containers when all this waste could have been brought to the collecting yard without any risks,” said the General Manager of Pražské služby Patrik Roman. Unfortunately, despite the fact that the area around the containers in the centre of the city is cleaned two or even more times a day, people still leave waste which does not belong in the containers on the street.

Comics can help

You will not find the wrong type of waste next to containers in Switzerland or Norway. If a bottle of oil is thrown into a container the contents are made worthless, and they have to go to a landfill or garbage incinerating plant. New labels which will be pasted on the Prague recycling containers throughout December will depict in comic style the route the waste takes from when it’s deposited in a collection bin to the recycling plant. The last picture will show the new product made from the recycled material. “The idea for the campaign for correct sorting has been based on my own experience; I was throwing paper into a container and I saw a plastic bag full of glass bottles in it. I realised how easily the sorted waste can be made worthless. Devaluation of the contents of one container costs an extra 62 CZK,” explained Pavel Bém.

The new sorting plant is worthwhile

Currently the new sorting plant is being operated in two shifts, but there are plans being made for three shifts including the weekends. It is assumed that the capacity will be filled in much the same way as with the old one in Jarov. “The development of the new sorting plant cost a hundred million crowns,” stated Patrik Roman.  “Initially we expected the economic return to be six or seven years, but then the price of waste commodities, in particular paper, plummeted and the returns appeared longer. Recently, the price of paper has started growing again so we are counting on the original returns as planned.” commented Patrik Roman.

How is it with recycling in Prague?

Waste was already being recycled in Prague during the first Republic; the sorting plant was open until the middle of sixties; then later on it was brought into operation again. “The waste was already beeing partially sorted prior to the revolution, Sběrné suroviny carried out that task,” revealed Petr Zvejška, the Director of Odvoz a recyklace odpadu Pražských služeb (Prague services for Garbage Removal and Recycling). With the approval of the Waste Act, the Capital City of Prague took over, and today the system consists of more than 3.200 recycling containers. Even underground containers are being put in place. The sorted waste is taken for additional processing. “In particular the economic crisis affected the market for recycled paper, its supply line to China had been interrupted, but this is already behind us, also thanks to the city,” said Petr Zvejška.