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Meet our members – Zero Waste Montenegro

Meet our members-Montenegro Zero Waste

Zero Waste Europe is pleased to introduce the blog series "Meet Our Members". Through this series of monthly interviews, we hope to give you the opportunity to learn about our members and the work they do.

Hi Marina, can you give us a brief introduction to Zero Waste in Montenegro?

Montenegro Zero Waste was established in March 2015 with the goal of creating a national network willing to support the Montenegrin government to achieve the 2014-2020 goals of the current national waste management plan related to the zero waste strategy.

The vision of Zero Waste Montenegro (ZWMNE) is to promote cultural change within Montenegro, thereby significantly improving waste reduction, reuse and recycling. Our activities range from raising the awareness of citizens, municipalities, local NGOs, and government agencies on zero waste and circular economy, to providing guidance on how to optimize recycling operations to provide municipal utility companies with solid waste management plans. Suggested units.

Since its inception, several motivated volunteers have joined the team and devote their time to a cause they firmly believe in-some of them work part-time for the organization on a project basis.

How long have you worked in this field and what caused you to fall into (zero) waste?

I grew up in nature. Because of this, I also want to thank my mother. I have always had a high environmental awareness. When I heard about ZWMNE and the work they did in Montenegro, I wanted to be a part of it and make my own contribution to the challenging tasks they undertake. At the end of 2018, I joined the ZWMNE team under the guidance of strong motivation. I hope to see Montenegro change its relationship with the environment and nature, and first help my family, neighbors, friends, and then raise awareness of zero waste and circular economy. Compatriots of Montenegro.

What is your current role in the organization?

I started as a volunteer at ZWMNE, but with enough motivation and enthusiasm, I was promoted to my first position as a news and public relations officer. In addition, I have recently served as a project consultant for several projects. At the same time, I am also a member of the board of directors of the organization.

Tell us more about an activity/event you are doing?

My colleague Alexandra Aubertin is the founder of the organization. We are working to solve the problem of the use of single-use plastics in public institutions in Montenegro. The project is funded by the Regional Activity Center for Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP/RAC) and is The first such event in Montenegro. In addition, I am managing an awareness-raising campaign with the support of the British Embassy in Montenegro. The campaign is following up on our 2019 International Coastal Cleanup Day and waste audit results and data. This is where we are in Montenegro every September. Beaches, river beds and lakes. All of our projects focus on promoting the extent and severity of plastic pollution, while promoting a zero-waste lifestyle. At the same time, we are advocating for an effective waste management system, a deposit return program (DRS), and a nationwide ban on the use of plastic bags and single-use plastic products by public authorities in Montenegro.

If you want your organization to be known for one thing, what would it be?

I really want to see Montenegro's public institutions become plastic-free with our help! The SCP/RAC project we are currently working on provides a good opportunity for the Montenegrin authorities to apply all our expert advice on the prevention of single-use plastics in public institutions. We really hope that they will recognize the importance of setting an example in Montenegro by being plastic-free and eventually transitioning to zero waste public institutions.

How would you describe the development of the zero waste movement in your country?

In the beginning, the zero waste campaign was mainly carried out by foreigners living in the country, trying to introduce the standards of the more developed regions of the world into Montenegro. So when ZWMNE was established in 2015, a lot of work needs to be done to introduce zero waste, circular economy, DRS, SUP, oxidative degradation, composting, etc. to the public in Montenegro. We have come a long way and now have a solid foundation for work, but awareness-raising activities are still complementary to each of our projects. Today, the country’s zero waste campaign is carried out by conscious Montenegrin citizens, as evidenced by the recent petition to ban plastic bags. In September of this year, more than 5,000 people signed the petition and submitted it to the Montenegrin Ministry of Sustainable Development and Tourism. Two years ago, our organization initiated the same petition and collected more than 3.500 signatures. In recent years, Montenegro has become increasingly interested in the "green theme". More and more young people are receiving education about plastic pollution and sustainable living issues. We just hope that the Montenegrin authorities recognize the urgent need to resolve these issues, even before they are put on a higher political agenda in Europe or the world.

Sometimes, it is the small actions we take every day that can bring big results. If 7 billion people take an action every day, we will see a more sustainable future!

You can find more information about Zero Waste Montenegro and its work here.

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