Czech Republic swamped by plastic bottles as heat increases consumption


The Czech Republic has been hit by an unprecedented heat-wave in recent weeks with record temperatures across the country. Naturally, people have to drink more in this weather. Retailers report an increase in consumption of water and soft drinks, which very often come in non-returnable plastic bottles. So how is the country coping with so much discarded plastic? Katerina Dalesicka is a spokeswoman for EKO-KOM, which acts as a mediator between producers and distributors of goods with non-biodegradable packaging and individual communities.

"We can see that the bins are overflowing, their surroundings are littered with plastic bottles. The communities have to either collect the waste more often or increase the number of bins. They need to react now if they had not prepared in advance as they should have."

The bins are filled to the brim but many of the bottles have not been squeezed and therefore take up more space. What is EKO-KOM doing to inform people that more plastic bottles could fit in the can if they squashed them first?

"It is up to the consumer. The consumers should pay attention to the stickers we have put on the cans that show they should squeeze the bottles. Therefore more bottles would fit in and we would not have to face the current problems. I think it is great that people do sort their waste. According to our survey, 60 percent of the population sort their waste and of course, it would be great if they also did it in the right way, if they squeezed plastic bottles and so on."

A study on the recycling habits of Czechs conducted by Eko-kom suggests that last year every Czech recycled approximately twenty five kilograms of rubbish on average, which is three times more than three years before. But to match European Union standards, each Czech will have to recycle twenty-five per cent more rubbish by 2005. EKO-KOM's spokeswoman Katerina Dalesicka.

"We are the only company in this country that promotes recycling and waste sorting. During the five years of our existence, recycling has increased from zero to sixty percent. If so many people are willing to sort their garbage, they should have the right conditions for it. Which means they should always have a chance to place their sorted waste in the bins. Whereas now, the bins are overfilled, piles of bottles are lying around them and wasps are all over the place. It is necessary to encourage people to sort their rubbish and do it even more. Because otherwise we would be moving backwards and away from the trends in the European Union."