Skip to content
Meet our members –  Zelena Akcija (Green Action) / Zero Waste Croatia

Meet our members-Zelena Akcija (Green Action)/Croatia 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 Marko, can you give us a brief introduction to Zelena Akcija?

Green Action is an association of Croatian citizens aimed at protecting the environment and promoting sustainable development at the local, national and global levels. We have been actively working since 1990, and just a few days ago, we celebrated our 30th anniversary.

Green Action achieves its goals through non-violent direct actions, campaigns, projects, informing and educating civil society, cooperation with other organizations, and public participation. Although we are a professional team (16 employees), our volunteers play a very important role in our Activist group.

We are also a member of many European and international networks, such as Zero Waste Europe, Get Rid of Plastics, Friends of the Earth, European Environment Agency, Justice and Environment, Climate Action Network, IPEN, etc.

In Croatia, we lead a network of NGOs and citizens’ initiatives. As part of the Croatian Zero Waste Network, we are also the coordinating team of the Green Forum Network of environmental NGOs. We divide our work according to plan into sustainable waste management, climate and energy, transportation, nature protection, etc. In our sustainable waste management plan, we are working in many areas, such as zero-waste cities, single-use plastics, food waste, separate collection, DRS, reuse, restoration, home composting, etc. We have also organized many events for the citizens, such as the Environmental Film Festival, Solta Island Solar Academy, Autumn Ecological Seminar, Plastic Free Week and Bike Repair Cafe.

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

As a student, I joined the Green Initiative in 2010, engaged in student work and voluntary service. I was motivated by the successful work of Green Action, and I am familiar with environmental and waste management issues. After graduating from university in 2014, I applied for an assistant position in the Green Action Nature Conservation Program. Fortunately, I got this position at the beginning of my career in waste management.

I am very happy to be able to start dealing with the waste problem. I have met a lot of great people who have changed my professional and personal life and prompted me to do my best to influence more and more policies and people to reduce waste and protect our environment.

What is your current role in the organization?

Since 2015, I have been coordinating the work of a sustainable waste management plan, which includes implementing numerous EU and national projects with very diverse activities, coordinating the zero waste city network in the Republic of Croatia, making recommendations to municipalities, companies, restaurants , Cafes, festivals and other non-governmental organizations, participating in multiple international networks, educational and publicity campaigns (street actions, conferences, protests, etc.) working groups to prevent harmful projects such as incineration and waste collection.

I am also a member of the Green Action Steering Committee and the Advisory Committee of Break Free From Plastic Europe.

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

I am mainly working on a large-scale event "Zagreb-the European Union's Garbage Capital" to promote the improvement of the garbage management system in the capital Zagreb, where the mayor raises bills and privatizes garbage management, in short , Is creating this situation even worse.

Our activities are many, but perhaps the most notable is our recent protests on the main square in Zagreb. More than 20,000 people came to support, making it the largest protest in the history of the mayor of Zagreb during his tenure in Zagreb in the past 20 years, during which he was accused of many wrongdoings. The protests gave us the motivation to continue our campaign to build a better waste collection and disposal system and pay-per-use (PAYT) payment system.

Among our many projects, I would like to highlight a few projects that I have worked on recently:

We are about to complete a two-year project called "Food and Society", in which we introduced the best ways to reduce food waste to students from two universities. We have created tools for citizens and decision makers, such as this website, brochures, and various suggestions.

The "Future starts today" project organizes workshops (composting, garbage sorting, bicycle repair, etc.) in secondary schools.

Finally, I am preparing a round table on the implementation of the single-use plastics directive into national legislation, as well as several street actions on this topic for decision makers in the Republic of Croatia and the European Union, as Croatia’s presidency of the European Union is underway. I am also preparing a round table on the implementation of the revised EU Waste Directive into national legislation.

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

I am very proud of our recent campaign against the construction of a waste incineration plant in Zagreb, which was launched when I arrived at Operation Green. After several years of elections, the mayor was forced to give up building the factory, and we won! ! !

Similarly, another success story is the creation of some of the first zero-waste cities. In 2015, I put forward suggestions for improving the local waste system based on the zero waste strategy of 7 cities in northern Croatia, and they soon became a leader in waste separation collection and waste reduction. With this victory, we have proved that zero waste is possible and can persuade other cities to resist the harmful national policies and pressures created in the past few years.We are the correctors of every government, an incubator of good ideas and a promoter of positive change. We have proven that zero waste is not a utopia, but a reality, and now we are making it mainstream.

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

Croats are increasingly realizing that zero waste is not a utopia, but a reality. Many cities, cafes, restaurants and companies are contacting us for advice on how to reduce waste. Unfortunately, the national policy did not achieve this as efficiently as possible because it only supports the very slow implementation measures listed in the EU directives.

In addition, most municipalities are still too inert. This is why we still throw most of the garbage in landfills. However, good practices like our zero-waste city often appear in the media, as well as stories about personal zero-waste lifestyles and zero-waste festivals.

We also recently obtained our first plastic-free island and the first plastic-free hotel, and we hope these breakthroughs can continue. At Green Action, we are happy to coordinate a network of successful zero-waste cities and initiatives. We help them carry out various activities, such as repairing cafes, plastic-free weeks and numerous seminars. Through all these work, we are contributing to raising awareness across Croatia.

You can find more information about Zelena Akcija and his work here.

About the latest post

The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Ukraine’s waste management system and what issues have been identified in this area-26/04/2021 Meet our members-Special edition-Meet our scientific coordinator: Enzo Favoino! -On March 31, 2021, recycled plastics are balanced on a thin line through the "mass balance method"-March 23, 2021

Previous article Reuse the network