Who are to blame for the (in)operation of the recycling machine: Conscientious citizens bring success, unscrupulous failures

In the summer of 2022, the first smart recycling machine in Bosnia and Herzegovina was installed in Sarajevo. From then until today, the number of citizens who want to clean the city in which they live in this way is growing.

Thus, in 2023,  373,152 packaging units were recycled through super-smart recycling machines in public areas, while 105,912  packaging units were placed in recycling machines in school institutions  .

“For the year 2024, we already have 161,319 packaging units, of which 68,594 packaging units were recycled in the month of March”,  said the company Eko grad doo for Akta.ba.

The statistical growth of recycling was certainly contributed by numerous benefits that citizens receive, such as a ticket for Pionirska dolina, Vrelo Bosne, a ticket for Gras, parking in another zone, and the possibility of donating to the humanitarian organization Pomozi.ba.

“Citizens donated 232,562 packaging units to Pomozi.ba in 2023 through the recycling machine project, the value of one bottle is 0.05 KM” , they told us from Eco City.


They note that it is always possible to make a donation to Pomozi.ba, given that Intesa Bank donates 0.05 KM for each bottle, while the “Recycling to Ultra Credit” campaign with BH Telecom has ended.

“The campaign with BH Telecom lasted for a month, BH Telecom determined the funds for the campaign which were spent and which were defied by the Agreement. Citizens successfully replenished their numbers as long as there were funds. As can be seen from the posts, a notification about the end of the campaign was issued on the official website of BH Telecom” , they pointed out.

Why are the recycling machines not working?

However, although the response of citizens is great, lately there are more and more people who are not satisfied with the work of the recycling machine, the long-term sorting process, bottle recognition, rare emptying, frequent breakdowns, but also the inability to receive any of the offered “prizes”.

“What is trash to someone is treasure to another. Of all the things that can be recycled, I hate throwing away glass the most. I collected 17-18 bottles and took them to the RAD recycling yard. They say it can be given to Pomozi.ba. The instructions are simple. Acted as instructed. She waited for the green light to come on for the next bottle. Inserted the next one and realized that he had not typed the first one. The very process of recognition and I guess sorting takes a long time. In addition, out of 17-18 bottles, he only tapped 6. One third. In the case of this device, it cannot be that the children threw in stones and fists, which is the most common explanation for this poor work. The yard is within the company. The women in the second group report that the recyclers know how not to knock over a single item, put glass under plastic and vice versa. And it’s not a one-time thing. That situation goes on and on. The children decide to take the plastic bottles away, so they don’t ring, and when they ring, it turns out that they can’t get tickets for Pionirska, top-up for BH Telecom or any other type of reward for recycling. What do children learn from it? That it’s not worth wasting time on.  In addition, I can’t see a recycling machine that can be approached by car (except for the one in RAD). In order to take them to the recycling center, someone has to tie up a bag of bottles or cans and take them to the machine. In the daily rush, few people will find this idea attractive. Why with us every project has to end up as a mockery. Here, everyone is trying to twist anything that needs to be set up in the long run. Why?!”,  is the opinion of one citizen.

In such a situation, citizens who intended to properly dispose of packaging waste were forced to leave bags with plastic packaging next to the recycling machine or return them home. 

Officials from Eco City tell us that work stoppages occur mostly due to misuse of recycling machines, in such a way that the instructions for use are not followed.

Teams in charge of emptying recycling machines, i.e. their mechanical and software maintenance, often encounter the problem of suspension of their work caused by misuse by individuals who use the recycling machine as a waste container and dump unforeseen waste into it.

recycle garbage

Waste in the recycling machine – corn, wood, toothbrushes…

“Although the response of the citizens is positive, unfortunately there are citizens who disrupt the operation of the recycle machine, and apparently there are not a few of them. “Eko grad has already provided the media with text and photos of what unscrupulous citizens put in recycling machines and thus damage the work of the sensors, which are very sensitive.”

In order to continue the project, they consider it necessary to change people’s consciousness.

“People need to understand that they can’t throw plastic bags, newspapers, plastic into recycling machines, because that doesn’t belong on the recycling machine belt. All of the above blocks the sensors and there is no possibility of correct recycling and taking prizes”,  they point out.

Who is in charge of emptying

Recycling machines are emptied by KJKP RAD, which is a strategic partner of the recycling machine project in Sarajevo, and they are emptied every day. 

“We have a system in which we see the capacity of the recycling machine, and forward it to the utility company” , they add.

Although there are more and more people who are slowly losing confidence in the project, in Eco City they believe that the recycle machine project will continue to grow due to the numerous inquiries they receive.

“We are currently working on installing the first super smart recycling machine in Banja Luka. We plan to expand the recycling machine project to other cities in Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as beyond the borders of our country. In the month of June 2023, we exported the first solar-powered recyclator for animal feeding to Kotor, and in January 2024, 5 recyclators for animal feeding and 2 Super Smart recyclators were exported to Podgorica,”  they told us.

The winner of the 100,000 KM tender

As a reminder, the company Eko grad doo Sarajevo was founded in 2020 as a socially responsible company founded on the idea of ​​ecology and environmental protection. 

They were the first to present the project of smart recycling machines in Bosnia and Herzegovina, after  winning the tender  of the Ministry of Communal Economy, Infrastructure, Spatial Planning, Construction and Environmental Protection of KS in 2022, worth about 100,000 KM for the delivery and installation of automatic recycling machines.

That the project is more than profitable is shown by the fact that Eko grad doo had an income of about 310,000 KM in 2022, and that last year it achieved rapid growth and generated an income of 2.1 million KM, and reported a profit of 190,446 KM. 

However, as they told us, the company Eko grad doo does not only have recycling machines in its offer. They are the general representatives of Menzi Muck – Pauk bager multipurpose machines and equipment, as well as a wide range of utility equipment.


Source: akta.ba