Albania Slashes Waste Import List

Bowing to pressure from environmentalists seeking a total ban, Albania on Thursday reduced the range of wastes that can be imported for recycling.The decision to cut waste imports was “a result of wide consultation with civil society groups”, Prime Minister Sali Berisha said, adding that banning all imports of waste was impossible while Albania gets closer to EU accession.Thursday’s decision by the government reduces the list of wastes that can be imported from 56 materials to 25.

Arguing that Albania’s nascent recycling industry could not survive on the proceeds of domestic waste alone, in November 2011 the government approved a bill allowing for some waste imports that conform to a so-called “green list” of 56 materials.

A group of intellectuals and environmental activists then joined forces to condemn the change to the law and demanded a referendum on the issue, arguing that by allowing in such imports Albania was turning itself into the garbage can of Europe.

The umbrella group, the Alliance Against Waste Imports, AKIP, filed a request for a referendum after collecting nearly 64,000 signatures.

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