How to protect our environment and its resources?

For our environment and country, we should avoid and reduce the waste amounts and if generated to reuse or to recycle it. Here, we give you some tips how to minimise the waste quantities to be disposed.

Reducing waste helps to conserve our natural resources, landfill space and energy, avoid emissions such as leachate and landfill gas, and reduce costs. But how can we avoid waste? In a highly consuming world, where life paces at the rhythm of high production rates, we sometimes are not aware of our consumption habits. So before buying an item, let’s stop for a while and ask:

“Do I really need this?”

“Is it of good quality and will it last for a long time?”

“Can I get it second-hand or borrow it?“

Globally, one third of the food supply ends up as food waste. Despite being an ethical issue for the unsatisfied demand of many developing countries for food, wasting food has a direct economic impact on our household budget and increases the quantity of food waste in the landfills – a source of methane gas and risk to climate change. So,

  • Next time you go shopping, do not buy more food than you need
  • Freeze the food that you cannot consume
  • Get creative and prepare another meal with leftover food
  • If you have cooked an extra portion, consider giving it to somebody in need

This way, you can save money, efforts and the environment.

Single-use plastics has become a quick and practical solution any time we gather outdoors, have parties or go shopping. But this increases the quantities of plastic waste and causes pollution in the rivers, fields and seas, affecting the ecosystem and polluting the food chain. Therefore, EU has banned certain types of single-use plastics from 3 July 2021. Over 1 million marine animals (including mammals, fish, sharks, turtles, and birds) are killed each year due to plastic debris in the ocean (UNESCO Facts & Figures on Marine Pollution). Furthermore, human health is at risk when microplastics is accidentally eaten by animals at the bottom of the food chain, since it is accumulated and ingested by the larger animals. Thus, it is really important to:

  • Avoid or refuse plastic bags, plastic cutlery and containers, bottles and cups.
  • Use cloth shopping bags
  • Use jars and glass containers for best preserving your food
  • Buy fruit, vegetables and food in bulk, avoiding packages

If the generation of waste cannot be avoided, then the waste materials shall be reused, recycled or composted.

When we reuse items, we extend their time of serving a purpose. How can this be done?

  • Repair

Repairing your stuff (rather than throwing away and buying something new) saves natural resources, prevents waste and saves energy and money. You can repair clothes and shoes, as well as household appliances, computers and mobiles. Next time, something at home is broken, consider fixing it to help the environment and be thankful to the service and repair shops.

  • Repurpose

Use your old items for another purpose. Those old boots can be nice for potting some flowers in the garden. Use that old ladder as a rack for hanging clothes or turn it into a bookshelf. Make a lampshade out of those glass beads. An old tire is perfect for making a tree swing. Repurposing is as old as human civilization, just be creative.

  • Renovate

If your furniture is looking a bit tired, perhaps putting some new paint or remodeling will revive it. It is still good and functional, and yes, that looks great with the new varnish and accessories.

When we recycle, we save our raw materials, reduce the usage of our energy, cut down on air and water pollution and have the opportunity to lower greenhouse gas emissions.

There are various types of recycling by material:

Waste Paper and Cardboard

Recycling paper and cardboard is important because it can save our trees. For every ton of paper and cardboard recycled, up to 17 trees can be saved. Furthermore, it takes 70% less energy to make new paper from recycled material than beginning with fresh pulp.

Plastic Recycling

There are many different types of plastics, so it may be hard to know which ones are recyclable.

  • PET (Polyethylene Terephthalate) – soda bottles, water bottles, and common food packages. These items are recyclable.
  • HDPE (High-density Polyethylene) – Detergent packages, bleach, milk containers, hair care products, and motor oil. This material is recyclable.
  • PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride) – pipes, toys, furniture, packaging. More difficult to recycle.
  • LDPE (Low-density Polyethylene) – wrapping, grocery bags, and sandwich bags. These items are recyclable.
  • PP (Polypropylene) – Clothing, bottles, tubs, and ropes. It can be recycled into fibers.
  • PS (Polystyrene) – known as Styrofoam and tends to be very bulky making it hard to recycle.

E-Waste (Electronic Devices)

Computers, mobile phones, TVs, stereos, copiers, printers, fax machines can be recycled through professional services. In addition, you can resell or repurpose your electronic devices to help keep them out of landfills.

Wood Recycling

Most wood waste can be reused as a building material, recycled into mulch for landscaping or pulp for paper production, and used profitably as a fuel. Reusing and recycling wood reduces the need to cut down trees. Products generated from scrap wood recycling are used in such sectors as paper production, panel board production, wood pellets, energy production, etc.

Glass Recycling

Glass is something we want to keep out of landfills because it does not fully decompose. On the other hand, glass is 100% recyclable. This means every part of the glass can be reused. It is a material that will never lose its purity or quality.

Bricks and Inert Waste Recycling

Inert demolition waste such as bricks, blocks, soil and sand can all be recycled to help minimize the impact we have on the environment. They can be repurposed for other building projects.

Composting is a method of decomposing organic solid waste in the presence of air. It involves decomposition of organic material into a humus-like material, known as compost, which is a good fertilizer for plants.

How to compost at home in 5 steps?

  1. Select your food scraps and other green wasteWhat can be composted?
  • Grass clippings
    (after drying in a thin layer or mixed with structure rich material)
  • Leaves
  • Tree and hedge trimmings
  • Kitchen scraps
    (Fruit and vegetable waste, coffee and tea filters, eggshells, small quantities of tropical fruit waste)
  • Newspaper or kitchen paper used as wrapping for kitchen waste
    (in small quantities)
  • Untreated wood ash
    (in small quantities and well-mixed)

What cannot be composted?

  • Cooked leftover meals
  • Dog and cat manure
  • Meat, bone, fish and animal fat
  • Treated wood
  • Glass, metal, plastic, diapers
  • Oil and paint
  • Coal ash and gutter sludge
  • Diseased and invasive plant parts:
    Cabbages with club root
    Tomatoes and potatoes with blight
    Dead branches with coral spot
    Branches of apple, pear, cotoneaster, as well as red and white hawthorn, mountain ash, etc., with fire blight
    Plants like asters, strawberries, and tomatoes that died quickly and suddenly of wilt disease during the growing season
  1. Store the food scraps and organic waste to use them in layers
  2. Choose a place to make your compost

If you have a yard or garden, you can practice composting the traditional way, making a compost pile inside a wooden box. But don’t be discouraged, if you live in an apartment. There are still composting options using sealed containers, which you can keep indoors.

  1. Make the compost mix

The two main ingredients for the mix are “the greens” and “the browns”. “Greens” are typically wet, food scraps, like fruit and vegetable peelings, coffee grounds, or grass clippings, which add nitrogen — a crucial element for microbial growth. “Browns” are typically dry and more carbon rich, like dried leaves, pine needles egg cartons, newspapers. Woody components need to be shredded in about 5 cm long pieces and be mixed evenly with soft organic waste.

When you’re layering, the dry browns are put on the bottom with the wet greens on the top. The dry content will let water and air flow through the mass. The number of layers depends on your space and your amount of food scraps, but try to keep the layers to 3-5 cm. You can also put a little bit of browns on the very top to keep away flies and odors.

  1. Wait, water and aerate

How long do you have to wait for decomposition?

It may take about six months in cold weather and up to 1 year for all components to break down, so you need to be patient.

You should turn or rotate the pile, perhaps with a stick or spade to make sure the air is flowing. In the beginning, turning can be done every 10 days. If it smells bad, it probably means it is not decomposing; your pile might be too wet or you might need to readjust your ratios of greens and browns. Watering may be necessary in extended dry periods.

The smell of the finished compost is woody and earthy. When you have the final product, put it in your garden or in your flower pots.

You can download our Home Composting Guide here.

When was the landfill constructed?
In 2017.

What area does the landfill cover?
The total landfill area including buildings and facilities is about 15 ha, while the area for waste disposal is 7.4 ha.

What is the landfill capacity?
About 1,000,000 m3, enough to dispose the waste from Korca region over a period of 20 years.

What will happen once the landfill is full?
Similar to the bottom of the landfill, the entire surface of the landfill will be sealed with a multi-layer barrier so that all emissions can be captured and controlled. The location will be rehabilitated and might then be used for other purposes. According to legal regulations, the landfill and its emissions will be monitored for a period of 30 years after closure.

Does the landfill have negative impacts on the environment?
Maliq sanitary landfill was constructed and is operated in compliance with the high environmental standards applicable in the EU to avoid negative impacts on the soil, ground and surface water, air, flora, fauna as well as humans.

What are the expected main environmental impacts of the landfill?
The leachate is the water generated in the waste body and might contain hazardous substances that are also present in our waste. To prevent the leachate from seeping into the ground, the landfill was sealed from the bottom. Thus, the leachate can be collected through a pipe system and is treated using the advanced Reverse Osmosis technology. The treated water is clean and can be safely discharged in the environment.

  • The landfill gas is produced due to the biological activity in the waste body. The landfill gas contains methane which is a greenhouse gas. Once sufficient gas is produced by the landfill, it will be collected via a pipe system and treated with a high temperature flare. Thus, the greenhouse gas emissions of the landfill will be reduced.
  • Due to the biological activity also odor is generated by the landfill. Depending on the air pressure and wind direction, this odor may be smelled in the nearby areas, but our staff is constantly working to cover the waste and avoid landfill odors.

Can I bring my own waste directly to the landfill?
KRWM has service contracts with the municipalities that deliver municipal waste at the landfill. They have to pay a gate fee for each ton of waste delivered, according to a joint decision. At the present, KRWM does not apply individual service contracts.

Is hazardous waste disposed at the landfill?
No, hazardous waste is not accepted at the landfill.

Is it safe to use water from the Devoll river downstream from the landfill?
The landfill does not affect the quality of water in the Devoll river. Thus, its quality downstream from the landfill is the same as in the upper stream.

Can I visit the landfill?
Yes, site visits can be occasionally organized with pupils and students, and the general public can visit the site on the annual Open Days. Please follow our news to learn about the date of the Open Day in 2021 and contact us to express your interest.

Are there people living on and picking waste from the landfill?
No, there are no people living on Maliq landfill site and there are no scavenging activities. The landfill area is fenced and unauthorized people do not have access.

Is the waste burned at the landfill?
No, there is no waste burning. The waste is placed on the sealed ground surface and is covered.

Which municipalities can use the landfill?
Maliq sanitary landfill serves to all six shareholder municipalities of KRWM: Devoll, Kolonjë, Korçë, Maliq, Pogradec and Pustec

Is a transfer station similar to a small landfill?
No, the transfer station is a structure for the temporary deposition of waste prior to loading it to larger shipping vehicles.

Does environmental monitoring take place at the landfill?
Yes, in accordance with legal requirements, environmental monitoring of water, noises and air takes place every quarter. 5 types of water analyses are carried out with samples from the leachate pond, treated water pond, canal that discharges to the Devoll river and ground water from two wells. The air analysis considers the levels of particulate matter, methane, carbon dioxide, and nitrogen. An annual monitoring report is submitted to the Ministry of Tourism and Environment.

Is it not better to recycle the waste instead of landfilling it?
Yes, definitely recycling is a better option, but the avoidance of waste is the best option. Regardless of the treatment technologies available, a landfill is indispensable and thus an essential element of an integrated waste management system. As the sanitary landfill in Maliq is the first of its kind in Albania, it is important to gain initial experience with the sustainable operation of the landfill. While we are doing this, we are also working on the development of the future waste treatment system in our region. Also, in accordance with the strategical targets of Albania, advanced recycling activities will be available in Korca region soon.