PRESS RELEASE: Zrenjana is the first city to receive a smart system for recycling packaging waste

In all IDEA stores, Roda mega markets and at 6 public locations in Zrenjanin, installation of smart devices for recycling packaging waste has begun. By disposing of products marked with the "Recycle" sticker, citizens will collect points, which they can use for discounts on purchases or other product rewards, it was announced today at the launch of the project, in the City Hall in Zrenjanin.

The smart devices will receive Tetra Pak, cans, glass and PET product packaging from the companies Coca Cola HBC, Knjaz Miloš, Carlsberg, Imlek, Rauch, Nektar and Red Bull, which have joined the "Smart Packaging Waste Collection System" project. The project is implemented under the slogan "Recycle Smartly", through the develoPPP program of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), and is jointly implemented by GIZ and Ball Packaging, Sekopak, Solagro Smart Recycling, Mercator-S and Reverse Logistics Group, in cooperation with NALED and the Recan Foundation.

- Zrenjanin constantly follows trends in the field of green energy and energy efficiency because we care about the environment. Together with the German organization for international cooperation GIZ, just twenty days ago, we announced the start of another environmental project, where the topic is the promotion of the use of solar energy. Also, two biomass power plants have been built in the vicinity of the city and the construction of a wind farm is planned - said the mayor of Simo Salapura.

On the occasion of the smart waste collection project, German Minister for European Affairs and Climate Affairs Anna Leerman visited Zrenjanin, who expressed the country's support for Serbia and the countries of the Western Balkans in implementing the green agenda. "A cleaner environment and better waste management in the context of climate change are key for all the countries of the region on their way to the EU, and especially for their citizens," stated Leerman.

- The introduction of a smart system benefits absolutely everyone, because it is an extremely efficient method that, according to a study by the renowned British company Eunomia, can help collect more than 90% of packaging waste in the first three years. Our goal is to collect 30% of the marketed products marked with the "Recycle" label in Zrenjanin in one year, which would show that this model is sustainable and can be applied in other cities and municipalities - said the executive director of NALED, Violeta Jovanović.

When inserting each product into smart devices, a unique barcode will appear on the screen, which must be entered into the Solagro application. Citizens will collect points on their personal account, which they can then exchange for vouchers in IDEA and Roda retail stores.

- The whole process, from product labeling to packaging waste collection, is completely new in Serbia and it is important for us to see how citizens will react to this type of packaging waste recycling. The system allows us to have information about the occupancy of smart machines, which will facilitate waste collection. All processes within the project will be monitored and optimized in accordance with the needs of citizens - said Sekopak director Violeta Belanović Kokir.

Jelena Petljanski Kiš, manager of sustainability and public affairs at the Ball Packaging company, pointed out that at the beginning the project was only focused on recycling cans through smart presses in Belgrade, so that today in Zrenjanin the first system that includes the remaining packaging waste was presented. "What makes this project different is an advanced IT solution that is based on the application of the concept of a unique code for each unit of packaging. In this way, greater efficiency and transparency are achieved in the recycling process," said Petljanski Kiš.

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