After the collapse of communism the countries of Central and Eastern Europe has experienced enormous economical changes. The attitudes towards the environment has changed in the region. Economic development in many transitional countries has lead to the destruction of some good practices developed in the socialist system of waste management/recycling. At the same time the amount of waste enormously increased due to the package industry development and massive imports from the West. This report on waste streams in Ukraine and Hungary will provide analysis of waste composition and volume as well as options used for reuse or recycle in both cases.
During the audit domestic waste was recorded for a period of one week at three locations in Ukraine and Hungary. These locations include Central European University dormitory (Hungary), Kyiv Shevchenko University dormitory (Ukraine) and a flat in Cherkasy (Ukraine). In each case the waste data was obtained for the different number of people: one in Hungary, four in Kyiv Shevchenko University dormitory, and a family of three people in Cherkasy. The final data, which is presented in this paper, is an average amount of waste per one person.
The waste was basically recorded each time anything was thrown into the waste bin. However, in the CEU dormitory some garbage is being collected through the dormitory canteen - this part of waste was recorded as well. However, the whole waste stream connected to food preparation at the CEU facilities cannot be recorded. This fact explains big discrepancy between the amount of waste in Hungary and in Ukraine.
The methodology of classification was developed according to the records of waste stream (see Annex 1). The categories include plastics - high-density polyethylene (HDPE), low-density polyethylene (LDPE) and polystyrene (PS). In cases when the package or product made of plastic was not labeled, it was recorded to the category 'other plastic'. The rest of categories include paper, glass, organic (food waste) and non-recyclable materials (products made of different materials in such way that reuse/recycle is impossible, e.g. teabags). To estimate the total mass and volume of the recorded waste, the common assumptions were developed for the entire working group (see Table 1).
Name Volume Mass
Plastic water bottle (HDPE) 1.5 l 70 g
Plastic bag (LDPE) 0.1 l 30 g
Canteen jam pack (PS+metal) 0.015 l 3 g
Canteen butter pack (PS+metal) 0.01 l 2 g
Yogurt pack (PS) 0.125 l 20 g
A napkin (paper) 0.02 l 2 g
Washing powder pack (paper) 0.5 l 100 g
A4 sheet (paper) 0.05 l 4 g
Wine bottle 0.7 l 400 g
‘Tetra pak’ 0.5 l 100 g
Tea bag 0.01 l 5 g
Table 1. Assumptions.
Using the assumptions all recorded waste was summed up for each category, including reused/recycled products.
Comparing waste streams in the dormitories in Ukraine and Hungary could be the most interesting result of the present study. Such comparison could highlight differences in consumption level in the same social group (students) in two countries. At the same time results for the dormitories will be compared to the waste data for a Ukrainian family.
The composition of three waste streams is presented in Figure 1. The diagrams were obtained from basic records data (Annex 1). Percentage in the diagrams presents the share in the total volume of total waste stream. This evaluating approach was chosen because at households the domestic waste is usually estimated by volume (e.g. by waste bins).
The biggest difference between the three charts is the huge share of HDPE in Kerepesi dormitory, which is much higher than in other two cases. This can be explained by the fact that no food is prepared by students in the CEU dormitory. It is very hard to estimate the amount of food waste generated by the university canteen. High amount of different plastics is a result of rather poor practices in the university restaurants. Most of the plastic is Figure 1. Waste composition.
coming from different packaging used to serve butter or jam. This waste could be easily avoided if the food was served in saucers/plates instead of single-use package.