Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Plastic Bottles across Caucasus Landscapes | Recycling?

One of the items I have been wondering about for a long time is how some of the recycling is working. You do hear the cries ("Butelki! Butelki!") of people that collect bottles, and we do see haggard men with outsized bags rifling through garbage containers, looking for PET bottles.

At the same time, these PET plastic bottles lie all around the countryside. Does anyone have any clue how much a recycler receives for a bottle? Are the prices staggered, depending on whether the bottle is intact and with a cap? And who is buying, ultimately? Is this an international market? Why are there no known collection points across the city, if anyone is interested in getting these bottles back?

The reason why this matters is because potentially a small nudge in terms of pricing would make it much more attractive to collect bottles, and take them out of the landscape, out of the rivers and landfill garbage dumps.

Any leads, anyone?


WOMblog said...

Hi there--good observations. I don't think bottle caps are especially needed but recycle uses can include wine making this time of year especially, and also are used for such products as tkhemali. You might ask the person once, they will tell you gladly. We used to give back bottles in the shops but I think most don't take them now, esp for tetri...PET is harder. Recycling etc has been considered by EU and other projects but have never seen it coming. You might contact the NGO Elkana who will have a good take on it, or CENN, the environmental network.

HansG said...

comments, from an email group


I've never heard of plastic recycling or anyone collecting plastic bottles, but people do collect glass bottles. I usually collect those at home and some guy takes them once in a while. They even offer a small payment, around 5 tetri or so per bottle although I obviously never charge him. Only wine, champagne and lemonade bottles are in demand though. They never take imported bottles so I would imagine they sell those directly to the respective producers.


plastic nabeghlavi bottles also seem to be collectable, as are glass beer and mineral water bottles. on another note, i was once told of a paper recycling scheme where they would collect directly from offices, but i have no idea if it actually happened. [Comment: yes, it is happening, through CENN, see cenn.ge.]


I give my bottles to the guy who runs the corner store and he sells his homemade wine in them. I also know that there is (what seems to be) a bottle collection location right near the Dry Bridge, just off the square on Aghmashenebeli across the river and to the left from Rustaveli.


Only indirectly related, but the EC has recently initiated a recycling scheme in Kutaisi that included plastic recycling and was implemented by a local NGO called SPECTRE. They used the plastic to produce roofing material or such. Apparently they have reached good coverage in Kutaisi and the scheme is still running.

HansG said...

here comes a lot of clarification, thanks to Nika.

Subject: from the Characteristics of the Waste Management System in Tbilisi, Georgia, 2006 [no link found yet]

The largest recycler of the plastic waste is Ltd “Metaloplastics” located in Tbilisi. It recycles different types of plastics and produces different kinds of plastic containers (including those used as beverage packaging).
The factory uses both raw and secondary materials for its production. For a good quality of production there is needed 60% of raw material and the rest secondary one. The price for the tonne of delivered plastic waste is about 500-600 GEL.The main suppliers of the secondary materials are waste pickers .
The full potential of the factory to recycle plastic is about 300-400 tonnes per year. However, it only processes about 25 tonne/year of the plastic waste. The reason is the low demand on the factory’s products. In case the technologies are update and newer products (that enjoy more demand on the market) will be able to be produced, the factory can increase processing of recyclable plastics. The factory also does not posses technologies to recycle PET. In case such technologies are installed, the factory could recycle about 60-70% of the PET produced in Georgia .
There is another company – “Europe-Plus Trading” - that works on plastic waste, however it only collects PET and granulates it for export mostly in China, Thailand and Taiwan. The recyclable plastic is mostly collected after their disposal, e.g. on landfills. Collection system from the population or organisations is less effective at this point .
During last few years the company granulated about 500-600 tonness of plastic per year. Last year this amount has increased up to 1000 tonness. However, presently the collection of waste plastic is stopped since there are new operators on the landfills and the corresponding agreements are not done with them yet .

Chris M said...

We all know disposable water bottles are wasteful and bad for the environment, yet their production is growing rapidly everywhere. Just 20 years ago the market for plastic water bottles was practically nonexistent, but today we produce billions of these completely unnecessary products. There can be only one sane response, plastic water bottles must be banned!