To understand the real impact that innovative policy measures have on the effectiveness and sustainability of waste management procedures, the five  partners of the SMART WASTE project chose one policy instrument to be assessed and improved. The result of this activity for Bulgaria, conducted by BAMEE (Bulgarian Association of Municipal Environmental Experts), is now available. This report details the evaluation process, which was based on the shared methodology developed by the SMART WASTE partners, that has been implemented to analyse the contribution of the Bulgarian "Operational Programme Environment (OPE) 2014-2020, Priority Axis 2 - Waste" to innovation in waste management taking into consideration the waste hierarchy set out by Waste Framework Directive.

The main findings of the evaluation highlight the positive impact of the OPE support to the development of pilot demonstrations projects for implementing new non-traditional waste management interventions such as increase of recycling and reuse capacity at municipal level or awareness raising and information campaigns targeting citizens. Those pilot projects pave the ground for future improvement mainly in the new programming period 2021 – 2027. In total, 19 projects have been approved in 2020 by OPE under Priority Axis 2. However, the evaluation led to the identification of several failures, specifically in supporting the innovation of waste management system. The report reveals that the funds awarded to investments in waste management infrastructure and aimed towards ensuring the improvement of separate source waste collection systems are not sufficient to achieve the stated goal of increasing waste recycling.

Among the next steps listed in the report, BAMEE plans to change the method of determining the municipal waste charge, towards one that should be cost-oriented and based on the “pay as you throw” principle. Other necessary changes would be to improve the current system for the collection of mixed municipal waste and invest in small scale recycling facilities. Furthermore, BAMEE recommends providing stronger support and additional efforts to conduct awareness and motivation campaigns for citizens to ensure their active participation in separate collection systems. Nevertheless, implementation of all measures suggested in the report in a synchronized manner is of the utmost importance.

Read the full version of the report prepared by BAMEE here.

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