Sustainable waste management


Waste means any substance or object which the holder discards, intends or is required to discard. Any object and substance, the collection, transport and treatment of which is necessary for the protection of public interest shall also be regarded as waste.
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. waste prevention,
  2. preparation for reuse,
  3. other recovery operations, e.g. energy recovery, and
  4. waste disposal.

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 shall ensure compliance with the obligation to separately collect problematic waste, biodegradable waste, scrap metal, waste glass, plastics and textiles and bulky municipal waste, by ensuring the following:
  1. operation of one or more recycling yards or mobile units in their territory;
  2. installation of containers for separate collection of waste paper and cardboard, bio-waste, scrap metal, waste glass and plastics at the premises of the customer and, where appropriate, containers for separate collection of waste paper and cardboard, scrap metal, waste glass, plastics and textiles in a public area;
  3. informing households about the location and changing the location of the recycling yards, mobile units and containers for separate collection of problematic waste, waste paper and cardboard, scarp metal, waste glass, plastics and textiles; and
  4. transport of bulky municipal waste at the request of the customer.
The public service user shall hand over separately: 
  1. biodegradable municipal waste (paper and cardboard separate from bio-waste);
  2. recyclable municipal waste (scrap metal, waste plastics and glass and, where appropriate, other types of waste intended for recycling such as waste textiles, wood etc.);
  3. problematic waste
  4. bulky waste (a list of the type of objects and substances considered as bulky municipal waste shall be prescribed by the Guidance on bulky waste);
  5. mixed municipal waste.
In 2014, a total of 1,637,371 t of municipal waste was produced. The annual amount of municipal waste per capita was 382 kg, ie the daily amount of 1.04 kg of generated municipal waste per capita. The share of mixed municipal waste in the collected waste was 76%.
By joining the European Union, the Republic of Croatia has adopted certain restrictions on waste disposal (Article 24 of the Law on Sustainable Waste Management):
The maximum permissible mass of biodegradable municipal waste that may be disposed of annually at all landfills in the Republic of Croatia in relation to the mass of biodegradable municipal waste produced in 1997 is:
1. 75%, ie 567,131 tons as of December 31, 2013.
2. 50%, ie 378,088 tons until 31 December 2016.
3. 35% or 264,661 tonnes by 31 December 2020.
The maximum permissible mass of biodegradable municipal waste that may be disposed of annually in a calendar year is equal to the product of the total mass of biodegradable municipal waste that is allowed to be disposed of in the Republic of Croatia that year and the landfill coefficient for biodegradable waste.
In order to contribute to the improvement of the state of the environment and to meet the set goals, it is important to ensure separate waste collection, which would reduce the amount of waste intended for disposal, and at the same time use the valuable properties of separately collected 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 III 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.
Specific categories of waste
Bio-waste, waste textiles and footwear, waste packaging, waste tyres, waste oils, waste batteries and accumulators, end-of-life vehicles, waste containing asbestos, medical waste, waste electrical and electronic devices and equipment, end-of-life ships, marine litter, construction waste, residual sludge from wastewater treatment plants, titanium dioxide production waste and waste polychlorinated biphenyls and polychlorinated terphenyls are considered specific categories of waste.
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 – single trader may, after obtaining a permit for waste management, commence and carry out waste collection, recovery, disposal or other waste treatment activities.
A legal and natural person – single trader may, after registering in the relevant register, commence and carry out intermediation activities regarding waste management as well as waste trade, waste transport and waste collection activities in the recycling yard and also carry out a waste recovery operation which is exempt from the obligation to obtain a waste management permit.
To enter in the registers, it is necessary to submit documentation to the address of the Ministry by post office, in person or electronically to:
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 Economy and Sustainable Development
Radnička 80
10 000 Zagreb
Date of update: 15.02.2021.