Local government soon responsible for ensuring residents sort bio-waste

Bio-waste includes those unavoidable bits and pieces cut off in the process of cooking.
Bio-waste includes those unavoidable bits and pieces cut off in the process of cooking. Source: Ministry of the Environment.

From the end of this year, the 79 local municipalities in Estonia will be responsible for ensuring residents properly dispose of bio-waste, the Minsitry of the Environment says.

Bio-waste constitutes spoiled food, fruit and vegetable peels, meat and fish scraps, egg shells, nut shells, soft paper towels and paper napkins, coffee grounds, paper filters, cut flowers and houseplants, among other discarded items.

All of these can be utilized further, both to make compost and, via a lengthier process, biogas which can fuel vehicles, the Ministry of the Environment says.

The ministry says it wishes to dispel popular misconceptions about sorting bio-waste as being time-consuming, requiring additional space and also leading to unpleasant odors as the waste continues to merrily decompose away.

The ministry says if separated properly and in an adequately aerated container, of any type, and when discarded frequently, none of the above issues will arise.

Moreover, many local municipalities have been providing for the collection of bio-waste separately in any case, while now all local governments are obliged to create opportunities for residents to dispose of their bio-waste in a container – even in private houses and smaller apartment buildings.

Nonetheless, awareness of the need to, and how to, separate bio-waste remains; the ministry cited a 2020 survey which claimed that around a third of garbage in general municipal refuse dumpsters constituted bio-waste.

Municipal refuse collectors do not subsequently sort bio-waste from the rest of the garbage, however; it is up to private citizens to do this.

It is, however, up to local authorities to inform, the ministry adds, while residents of private houses or those living in rural areas have the option of composting in their own garden.

This, too, is subject to local government requirements - while garden waste can be composted openly, food waste requires a closed composter, to avoid attracting rodents and other scavenging wildlife.

Composters can be purchased at inexpensive prices, the ministry says, while overall the practice of separating bio-waste can potentially work out cheaper, the ministry adds, though doesn't elaborate on how.

The coming years will also see an increase in the production of biogas to fuel cars, heat homes and produce electricity, the ministry states.

The original environment ministry piece is here.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte

Source: Ministry of the Environment

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