Cora Romania Launches Smart Recycling Station

by George Kiernan

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Supermarket giant Cora has launched the pilot for their Green Group smart recycling station project in their Pantelimon store in Bucharest. This is a waste recovery solution they have undertaken in partnership with FEPRA, a packaging waste recovery company, and Envipco, who make bespoke Deposit Return Scheme (DRS) solutions, as well as the Romanian Ministry of Environment, Water and Forests.


Commercial Smart Station


Over €100,000 has been invested into this initial commercial recycling station as part of a wider effort to get the Romanian population interested and actively participating in recycling. When people visit the Cora supermarket, they will have the opportunity before they enter to visit the station to deposit their household recyclable waste. This will cover several materials, such as plastics, metals, glass, batteries and even household electrical appliances.


The incentives for them to do this is that after depositing their recyclables, they will receive a voucher to spend in store. Emanuel Parvulescu, Head of Environment Issues at Cora Romania, said, “Cora encourages the population to be actively involved in recycling. The recycling station makes this process very accessible… The process is in its infancy, but people are starting to recycle, which is gratifying.


“In addition, we have launched a process of educating employees and, as part of it, they recycle their own waste. For the population, the reward is relevant, definitely this is an advantage, but we hope that in time recycling will become habit.”


Ionut Georgescu, the General Director of FEPRA, said, “This pilot project includes, in addition to the latest technologies, an educational space designed to encourage the interaction of citizens and to tell the story of recycling for everyone to understand. Separate collection should be part of your daily routine, just like shopping at the supermarket.”


To help make recycling a normal part of everyday life in Romania, the incentives people are receiving to deposit their recyclables are 5 Bani per item of recyclable waste, and 40 Bani per kilogram for electrical appliances. The acceptance of household electrical appliances is what sets these smart recycling stations apart from other waste recovery solutions. The project will also soon be extended to include other materials, such as textiles and reusable packaging.


Tanczos Barna, Romania’s Minister of Environment, Water and Forests, stated that this is the first nationwide DRS solution for household recyclable waste in Romania that the ministry will be undertaking. He said, “We have €400 million through… European funds, and one of the projects is to create a national network of recycling stations. This national infrastructure is a solution for reaching recycling targets and also for increasing the reuse of all the waste.”


Recycling Waste


The initial goal for the smart recycling station pilot project is to collect 12 tonnes of waste per month. Once the waste is collected it will be handed over to official waste handling centres, from where it will then be sent onto specialist processing facilities for recycling. This will allow the material to be put back into manufacturing and help to bring about the shift towards circularity in the Romanian and EU economies.


At Pakire Polymers, we are thrilled to see cooperation on such a large scale between major corporations and the government with a shared goal of increasing the rates of recycling waste across Romania. We are pleased that the Minister for Environment, Water and Forests is prepared to work alongside businesses and to commit money towards achieving greater recovery of household recyclable waste and the national recycling infrastructure.


What those of us here at Pakire Polymers want to see now is for this momentum to be used to further progress the recycling efforts across Romania. We see that the Ministry for Environment, Water and Forests is committed to bringing about change and that they are willing to work with businesses. But we also want to see the Minister using his platform in government to help this pilot project be a success and to roll the smart stations out across Romania. We also want to see him using his voice to bring about legislative change from government that mandates recycling at all levels of Romanian society, from private residents to big business.


The continued collaboration between Romanian government and businesses in increasing the rates of recycling in Romania is paramount in continuing the shift towards circularity. If the smart recycling stations can succeed in also getting the population actively involved in recycling, then Romania will be in an incredibly strong position to really begin to tackle its problems with waste pollution and to move towards economic circularity.

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