Sustainable waste management


Waste means any substance or object which its holder discards, intends to discard or is required to discard.

Principles of waste management
Waste management is based on the observance of environmental protection principles laid down by law which governs the protection of the environment, and the EU acquis, the principles of international environmental law and scientific knowledge, the world’s best practices and professional rules, and in particular the following principles:
  1. ‘the polluter pays principle’ — the waste producer, the former waste holder or the waste holder bears the costs of waste management measures and is financially responsible for enforcing resolution actions because of the damage caused or likely to be caused by waste;
  2. ‘the proximity principle’ — the treatment of waste must take place in the appropriate facility or plant located as close as possible to the place of origin of the waste, taking account of economic efficiency and environmental acceptability;
  3. ‘the principle of self-sufficiency’ — waste management shall be carried out in a self-sufficient manner by enabling independent achievement of statutory targets at state level, taking into account geographical circumstances or the need for specific facilities for specific categories of waste; and
  4. ‘traceability principle’ — determination of the origin of waste by product, packaging and producer of the product, as well as the possession of that waste including treatment.
The producer of the product from which the waste is generated or the producer of the waste shall bear the costs of managing that waste.
In order to prevent the generation of waste and to implement waste management regulations and policies, priority ranking for waste management shall be applied, namely:

1. prevention of waste generation
2. preparation for re-use
3. recycling
4. other recovery operations, e.g. energy recovery and
5. disposal of waste.

Reuse is a waste prevention measure and refers to procedures that allow the reuse of products or parts thereof which have not yet entered waste streams, for the same purpose for which they were originally designed.
We call upon all interested parties with project proposals for reuse to send an e-mail to:
Guidelines for reuse in the Republic of Croatia (pdf)

Separate collection means waste collection in such a way that waste is separated by type and nature in order to facilitate its treatment and to preserve valuable properties of the waste.
The executive body of a local self-government unit or the City of Zagreb is responsible for ensuring the provision of a quality, regular and economically efficient public municipal waste collection service in its territory while avoiding unjustifiably high expenses, pursuant to the principles of sustainable development and environmental protection, and in doing so, ensuring the publicity of operations so as to ensure the separate collection of mixed municipal waste from households and other sources, household bio-waste, recyclable municipal waste, hazardous municipal waste and bulky household waste.
The public service user shall hand over hazardous municipal waste to a recycling centre or mobile recycling centre, that is to comply with the regulation governing the management of special categories of waste, excluding the users who are not considered household user, hand over the mixed municipal waste, recyclable municipal waste, hazardous municipal waste and bulky waste separately and hand over the bio-waste separately or compost the bio-waste at the site of its generation.
In order to contribute to the circular economy of the European Union, the Republic of Croatia should achieve the following objectives:
1. at least 50% of the total mass of the waste generated in households and the waste from other sources whose waste streams are similar to household waste streams, which includes at least paper, metal, plastics and glass, shall be recovered through recycling and preparation for re-use
2. at least 55% of the mass of municipal waste must be recovered by recycling and preparation for re-use by 2025
3. at least 60% of the mass of municipal waste must be recovered by recycling and preparation for re-use by 2030 and
4. at least 65% of the mass of municipal waste must be recovered by recycling and preparation for re-use by 2035.

The maximum allowed mass of biodegradable municipal waste that may be landfilled in a calendar year, for all waste management licenses in the Republic of Croatia is 264.661 tons, which is 35% of the mass of biodegradable municipal waste produced in 1997.
By 2035 the maximal amount of municipal waste landfilled may only be 10% of the total mass of generated municipal waste.

What to do with waste?
Depending on its type, waste can be discarded in containers for separate waste collection.
A person operating a recycling yard shall take waste as required under Annex II to the Ordinance on Waste Management and waste laid down by a special regulation governing the management of specific categories of waste. For the location of recycling yards, check with the service provider for the collection of mixed municipal waste or the local self-government unit.
It is possible to organise the collection of certain types of waste.
Waste can be handed over by means of organised management systems for specific categories of waste (packaging waste, electric and electronic waste, waste batteries and accumulators, end-of-life vehicles, waste tyres, waste containing asbestos, construction waste, waste textiles and footwear, waste medicines and medical waste).
A database on issued waste management permits and certificates is available on the Register of Waste Management Permits and Certificates webpage.
The special categories of waste are waste streams for which specific management requirements are prescribed, specifically:
1. waste textiles and footwear, packaging waste, waste rubber, waste oils, waste batteries and accumulators, end-of life vehicles, construction waste and waste containing asbestos, medical waste, waste electrical and electronic equipment, titanium dioxide production waste, waste polychlorinated biphenyls and polychlorinated terphenyls, single-use plastics and fishing gear containing plastic.
2. certain waste determined by the Ordinance of the Minister, referred to in paragraph 3 of this Article, as waste for which special waste management methods should be established and
3. certain waste streams, for which the waste management methods have been stipulated by European Union regulations.

Consumer’s right to refund when returning beverage packaging to stores and recycling yards

The consumer (customer) is entitled to HRK 0.50 for each beverage packaging unit (a PET bottle, a glass bottle and an Al-Fe can) in the deposit refund system which they returned to a store or handed over to a recycling yard. Packaging that is returned by the consumer to a store or handed over to a recycling yard must be emptied of its contents, must not be crushed or destroyed and the barcode and the deposit refund system mark must be clearly visible and legible. In the case of packaging not complying with the above-mentioned conditions, as well as returnable packaging, the consumer shall not be entitled to the said refund.
Sellers (stores) of beverages and whose sales area is larger than 200 square metres and persons operating recycling yards shall, throughout the working hours, take from the consumer beverage packaging, up to a maximum of 80 waste packaging units per day per individual consumer, and shall:
indicate clearly and visibly the place of taking the beverage packaging and inform the consumer about the method of taking over the said packaging (manually or via a reverse vending machine);
facilitate the taking over of packaging and compensate the consumer for the packaging they handed over.

A seller which carries out wholesale trade and which offers beverages shall ensure the taking over of beverage packaging from its customers (bars, restaurants, hotels, etc.).

NOTE: The seller (store) whose sales area is less than 200 square metres is not required to, but may take packaging from consumers independently within their own sales area or in cooperation with a collector outside their own sales area.
Waste packaging which is hazardous waste means waste packaging containing a product with hazardous substances or containing residues of these substances (e.g. paint packaging, varnish packaging, diluent packaging, cleaning, etc.).
Natural persons (citizens) shall separate waste packaging which is hazardous waste from mixed municipal waste and other types of waste and hand it over separately to recycling yards or sellers (store) of the products from which this waste packaging is generated, or to waste packaging collectors.
Registered persons (companies, trades, institutions, organisations, etc.) shall hand over the packaging which is hazardous waste to a waste packaging collector.
A seller of products in packaging that generates waste packaging which is hazardous waste is required to take the hazardous waste from natural persons. The seller is required to install a visible container to collect waste packaging which is hazardous waste, at the consumer entrance to the store. The seller must inform consumers about options for handing over waste, and the obligation to take waste packaging which is hazardous in their sales area throughout the working hours of the sales outlet.
More information Environmental Protection and Energy Efficiency Fund

A legal and natural person - the craftsman may, commence performing the waste recovery and disposal activities for which the permit has been issued, after the permit has been issued.
Registers / Records
A legal and natural person - craftsman, after being registered in the Register of collectors and recovery operators may:
1. as a waste collector, start to perform waste collection activities through waste collecting processes within the territory of the Republic of Croatia and
2. as a recovery operator, start to perform waste recovery activities through operations for which no waste management permit is being issued.

 A legal and natural person - a craftsman after being registered in the Record of waste brokers, carriers, dealers and recycling centres may:
1. as a broker in waste management, start to perform waste management brokerage activities
2. as a waste carrier, start to perform waste transport activities
3. as a waste dealer, start to perform waste trading activities and
4. as a recycling centre, start to perform waste collection activities through waste collection operations in the recycling centre.

Transboundary movement of waste
Waste can be  exported,imported and transit through. Depending on the type of waste, there are prescribed procedures that are important to follow.

Regulations and international agreements
Competent authority
Ministry of environmental protection and green transition
Radnička 80
10 000 Zagreb
Date of update: 9.11.2022.