The local authorities are "the weak link" in the waste management in Romania, Romanian Environment minister Laszlo Borbely declared in an interview for According to him, there are big cities "where nothing is done". The Environment Ministry is preparing a normative act project for the local leaders, whereby performance criteria are going to be introduced. Local authorities will be compelled that from the total quantity of garbage collected in the county, only a maximum of 85% can be subject to complete destruction, while at least 15% of the collected garbage must be recycled.

Town councils will have to pay 100 lei per each tone that represents the difference between the annual target and the completed objective. The minister claimed he will "scold" those who handle the elaboration of the legislative project, pushing them to finalise it sooner.

The minister said he was impressed by the way in which waste was managed in the United States. During a recent visit to the US, Borbely saw that "90% of the selected garbage was used for energy and 10% to manufacture bricks".

Main statement the Environment minister made:

  • I keep going around this issue and I'm annoyed when something doesn't work. Here it works like in a third-world country. We collect more PET (plastic bottles, packages and wraps) than we pledge to, but this is because soft drinks' producers are forced to pay more if they do not prove they recycle.
  • I visited, in the US, a factory where they burn waste. New York does not have one single waste dump hole. They either transport it somewhere else, or they use it for two ecological plants, where they take selected rubbish. 90% of this waste is being used for energy and 10% to build bricks for constructions. I believe that three such plants would manage the entire rubbish in Romania. If you have to burn the rubbish, you can also produce energy.
  • I hope that in 2014 we can also have a modern system of selective collection.
  • Until then, we will manage in different ways. I will start an initiative in 3,000 schools this autumn. We will make available for free those PET pressing machines. We will discuss it with the chain stores next week to try the same thing.
  • One thing I don't understand: if, during communism, you could sell a [glass] bottle for 25 bani, why can't you do it now?
  • There are many reserves and lack of organisations. Local authorities are the weak link. They have been having the duty to solve this problem ever since 2005 and they get upset when we fine them. There are big cities that do nothing about it, like Taru-Mures for example.
  • Now we will toughen the legislation, we will have performance criteria. They need to understand this is nothing sophisticated. It is not true that people are not receptive. They are if they have the conditions.