The pandemic has shown us a new way to consume while staying indoor and also a new way to produce waste. „Romania has a specificity in terms of home consumption: unfortunately, we cannot speak of a selective waste collection that could have a positive impact on the recyclability of waste from our consumption,” said Ionut Georgescu, CEO of Fepra International at Re:Focus on eCommerce Retail & Logistics 2021 event, organized by Business Review.
”Fepra is a company specialized in taking the responsibility from those who put packaged products on the market and we also offer collecting and recycling services. Currently we focus a lot on digitization, on technology. We completely gave up the office building in May 2020 and focused on digitalizing our services in such a way as to deliver what we promised our customers, namely to achieve minimum recycling values,” says Ionut Georgescu.
”When it comes to home consumption, we must think that from the lack of involvement of the authorities, results a fairly high contamination of waste which forces us to take that waste directly to the garbage pit. The quantities resulting from the possible sorting of waste collection is quite low, which creates very big problems. That is why we need to see the impact of online commerce in the future. Nobody knows what will be tomorrow, how much we will work from home, what sanitary rules will be imposed. But we need to think about what will happen to the waste, it is important not to end up in the landfill. Generations also matter a lot here. If we look at a study conducted during the lockdown period and the next one, when we were able to leave the house, we see that more and more Romanians are looking at the impact they have on the environment, health and pollution. All these things matter more and more,” says Georgescu.
Looking at the general trends, we can see that this is the first year when the European Union imposed an 800 euro per ton of waste. It is a period in which the recycling target increases every year, up to 85%, and the responsibility for textiles and textile waste also increases.
„All this forces us to find the answers to two questions. The first is how we manage to decouple economic growth from the waste generation. And here we need a circular economy. If we talk about ecommerce, we are talking about transport packaging. We receive more and more packaging that we can no longer use and take them to a collection center. We have invested this year in a startup, R-Create, which offers a platform to couriers and sellers, through which they can have reusable packaging. But this should not hinder the efficiency of deliveries and delivery times,” explains Georgescu.
„The second question is how we manage to streamline the reverse of a product’s life. So far we have talked about the road from production to the consumer, but we need to see how we take back the waste and reintroduce it into the economy. With the help of technology we need to combine the two components: delivery and return of waste to the producer to increase efficiency.
Together with R-Create; they have a digital platform for interconnecting couriers with vendors. This can close the cycle of the circular economy. The final consumer begins to understand that he generates a lot of waste through packaging, and through this reusable bag he can give it up. For Romanian producers we will come with packaging design services. We look at the plastic packaging, the ones that reach the trash the easiest. We can also reduce the amount of packaging, but also the costs that a manufacturer has,” says Georgescu.
”Many ask: what happens after the bin, how do we know that waste ends up in recycling or landfill. Romania is pretty bad at transparency. We are among the few, if not the only ones, that offer complete traceability, online, so that we can identify who and what does so that the waste can be recycled. In addition, we use blockchain technology to increase the degree of trust and transparency.”
”When each of us understands what happens after the trash, we will make greater efforts to sort the waste into fractions. We need at least 3 fractions: one for household waste, the wet waste, a dry fraction, recyclable, plastic, paper and metal, and a third, the glass one. The quality of the waste is also important, if we can say so, namely a jar of yogurt must be washed before discarding, otherwise we must have someone else wash that jar. In addition, it can contaminate other waste. It may seem complicated, but this is the only way we can achieve a recycling target that can give us sustainability,” shows Ionut Georgescu.