By: Sofie Kodner, Martina Kroa, Mihail Petrov, and Tereza Anna Štegmannová
A new recycling project that makes it easier for residents to pass on household items such as furniture and dishware launched in Prague, highlighting the city’s focus on waste reduction as part of its climate change strategy.
Reuse initiatives are a growing trend across Europe and the globe as countries emphasize climate change as a policy priority. The Czech Republic is already one of the lowest generators of waste in the European Union, according to the European Environment Agency.
Officials hope the Prague project, called Re-Use points and funded by the city, will further strengthen the country’s position among low-waste producing states.
“This is one way to change people’s behavior so that they don’t throw things away,” said Prague Deputy Mayor Petr Hlubuček. The project is part of The Prague Climate Plan to reduce CO2 emissions and achieve carbon neutrality.
There are currently three Re-Use points across Prague, located within existing trash and recycling collection yards, where residents can drop off used household items. The items are offered to charitable organizations and posted to the city-run website praho.nevyhazujto.cz, where other residents can claim them for free.
Hlubuček noted that the amount of waste produced in the city is increasing by about two percent each year. “Something needs to be done about it,” he said, calling the growing trash problem unsustainable.
While the project began as a pilot less than one year ago, Hlubuček said it is now permanent.
Nevyhazujto, the Czech company that created the software for the project, is also expanding. “We have a branch in Slovakia and now we are starting in Hungary, and I’ve been to Indonesia to discuss possibilities of running a similar project to save waste there as well,” company spokesman Matouš Pinkava said.
Pinkava sees waste management as essential to curbing human impact on the environment.
Nearly 2,000 used items, the equivalent of 14 tonnes, have been processed in Prague since the project began, according to an article published by the World Economic Forum.
“The topic of circular economy is actually quite booming in the Czech Republic,” said Pinkava. Nevyhazujto operates in nine areas throughout the country, including Prague. “It’s slowly getting more and more users.”
Prague resident Jiří arrived at the Prague 9 Re-Use point with printer toner from his work one Wednesday morning. He hoped that someone else would be able to reuse it.
Other residents were seen getting rid of items such as a blanket, a toaster, soil, cans, and metal. The objects will be evaluated by employees of Pražské služby (Prague services) to determine if they can be reused.
That morning, less than 100 items were stored at the Prague 9 Re-Use point.
The City hopes the project will reach more people in more neighborhoods over time, Hlubuček said.