Arnika's new campaign “Don't Burn, Recycle!” is a direct reaction to the recent efforts to build numerous incinerators in the Czech Republic. These incinerators are going to get a substantial financial support from public financial resources. Arnika's campaign is a direct appeal to the public as well as to the politicians to actively step forward against this trend and to draw their attention to waste prevention, support of recycling, used product collection, deposit-refund system and composting.
As far as the waste management policy in the Czech Republic is concerned, a really good job has been done. It seems to have been more environment-friendly recently, and that fulfilling national targets has become a priority. However, a massive support of incineration hardly seems to be an appropriate decision. On the contrary, this could completely reverse the recent positive trend. Many European regions have successfully found another way than supporting of incinerators and landfills, and so they didn't waste the opportunity to further develop recycling in their region.
We believe it's the recycling, composting and waste prevention that should have priority over building incinerators and enlarging landfills, when it comes to support from public financial resources. The incinerators and landfills are destroying precious materials and throwing away the energy used for production of the objects, which ended up in dustbin and so became waste. It's crucial, that citizens get the necessary information, which is an important part of our campaign. In our opinion, politicians on local, national and international levels should follow these principles.
The aims of our campaign:
- Prevent financing of incinerators from public financial resources even if they are used to produce heat or electric energy. Waste is above all a precious secondary material and incinerators simply destroy it. If we burn it, we have to extract it again someplace else. Money from our taxes should be used for a real solution: more efficient recycling, simpler waste sorting and other similar programs.
Draw more attention to:
- Waste prevention and minimisation, which should be the first and crucial step in dealing with the waste management. The best waste is the one that isn't created at all.
- Composting of bio waste: Home composting, community composting, composting plants and subsequent use of compost as a source of important nutrients in agriculture and in land rehabilitation.
- More recycling. As it was seen in Flanders, if we combine recycling with composting waste, which is a third of the domestic waste weight, up to 70% of waste can be recycled. However, only about 20 % of waste is being recycled in the Czech Republic.
- Fight against restrictions of the citizens' and local authorities' right to take part in decision-making process, including those concerning incinerators or treating of products of waste incineration. (i.e. we don't approve the EIA process being reduced).
- No unlimited use of incineration outputs as a building material: the residue after burning consists of: slag, ash and fly ash from the flue gas cleaning, and contains numerous toxic substances, such as persistent organic pollutants or heavy metals. These may, if they are later used, be absorbed into water and soil and get into food chains. The Government should follow the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants, which they ratified and which ensures the protection of health of each one of us.
- More attention to waste from services and small business, which makes up more than 30 % of the communal waste. There is no sufficient legislation that would regulate the business waste, no national targets are specified.