In order to explain to the public the new legal changes on imported waste, Minister of Finance Arben Ahmetaj visited a recycling plant which works only two days a week because there is not enough waste in the country for it to work at full capacity.
The plastic recycling plant is a Euro4 million investment with German technology of 2009 which works under its capacity.
Its managers told Minister Ahmetaj that there is work only for 25 percent of its capacity per day. The products of this plant get exported to Greece, Bulgaria, Italy, China, Austria or Turkey. It is a plant which exports 100 percent of its products.
“After the approval of the new law, the number of employees will be increased three-fold. The exports will increase as well, because at present, the plant cannot meet the demand and fulfill its contracts. There is a lack of raw materials. The product of this plant is then used in the industry of packaging of fruits and most of it goes to the textile industry, to produce fiber, to fill toys for children,” the director of the plant said.
The director also shared a concern that he has had for several years: “Why are other countries able to get raw materials from Albania and we are not able to get raw materials from them? Why the Greeks can do this and we can’t? I don’t know in which group to put myself: among those who are really smarter or among those who pretend to be smarter.”
In regards to the new law on imported waste, Minister Ahmetaj explained that it is completely different from the one blocked by the Socialist Party in 2013.
“The law which we passed a few days ago has essential changes from the one we blocked in 2013. So it is not about depositing, or burning waste, but about raw materials, and there is limited import for those who make products with the raw materials, and it is also linked with the production capacities. We have linked the waste import with your needs. So, not everyone can import. Only those who own installations or plants like this one can import, based on their technological card, so based on capacity. If a plant needs only 30 tons, it cannot import more than 30 tons,” Minister Ahmetaj said.
The director of the plant underlined the fact that this cycle of production does not create waste: “Nothing remains. Everything is sent for export. Even during the work process, the plant does not produce any waste.”
Minister Ahmetaj also announced that there is a Decision of the Council of Ministers (DCM) which is being prepared to serve transparency and to inform the public: “We have limited the entry of imported waste in three customs checkpoints. Very soon, we will also pass a DCM in conformity with the law. Groups or units of environmentalists, can come to verify the waste import in person in the customs, something which happens very rarely in the world.”