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The Story of Sălacea: Going from 0 to 40% recycling rate within 3 months

Sălacea's story: Increase the recovery rate from 0% to 40% in 3 months

For immediate release: Brussels 06/09/2019

Zero Waste Europe today released its latest case study on the Romanian city of Sălacea, which establishes itself as a best practice that can be replicated throughout European rural communities. This case study is part of a collection of best practices in which Zero Waste Europe showcases city and community-led change initiatives that are challenging and transforming current waste management and prevention models to inspire change throughout Europe and beyond.

Romania’s recycling rate is one of the lowest in the EU-13%-most of the waste goes to landfill. Therefore, the country may not be able to achieve the EU's 2020 recycling target stated in the early warning report issued by the European Commission [1].

The publication reported how the city of Sălacea, located in northwest Romania, quickly increased its recycling rate from almost no garbage to 40% within 3 months, and how the community reduced its overall waste generation by 55%. In fact, by cooperating with Zero Waste Europe and Zero Waste Romania, the Celasian authorities started their zero waste journey by implementing an efficient separation and door-to-door collection system. The case study also demonstrates that political will, the commitment of local waste operators and community involvement are the keys to the success of this strategy.

According to Pierre Condamine, the European Zero Waste Policy Officer:

"Sălacea's case shows that even in a very short period of time, if all stakeholders are involved in the planning, very good results can be achieved."

The publication also highlighted some of the challenges facing the city. Among them, it needs the full participation of local residents to make it work.

"The use of financial incentives and soft measures, such as education and training and multilingual communication, is essential to get citizens to actively participate in the project."

Download the case study

Press contact: Jack McQuibban, European Zero Waste City Project Coordinator,, +32 (0) 2 73 62 091


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