Smart Packaging Waste Management

The prevalent improper management of waste in North Macedonia is a pressing environmental topic and a top priority of the Government. SDC supports North Macedonia by engaging with the non-profit private sector packaging recovery organization Pakomak to enhance the effectiveness, efficiency and transparency of the national packaging waste recovery system through the digitalisation of the primary selection and collection process.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
North Macedonia
Climate change and environment
Employment & economic development
Environmental policy
Urban development
01.11.2021 - 31.12.2024
CHF  1’301’000
Background The prevalent improper management of waste in the Republic of North Macedonia (RNM) is a pressing environmental topic and one of the top priorities of the Government. While the legal framework is fully harmonized with the applicable EU regulations, implementation is lagging behind. The principal responsibility for the provision of communal waste management services (i.e. collection and disposal) lies with the municipalities and their public utilities. Service levels are however poor due to outdated or lack of equipment and infrastructure, poor management practices and deficient law enforcement which leads to widespread pollution of the environment and posing threats to public health. Though environmental awareness amongst citizens is increasing, littering and illegal disposal of waste is ubiquitous. In order to alleviate the burden on municipalities and taxpayers for managing end-of life products, reduce the amount of waste destined for final disposal, and increase rates of recycling, RNM adopted the Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) policy approach. Packaging (glass, PET, cardboard, etc.) constitutes approx. 25% of the communal waste. Currently only 30% of the generated packaging waste in RNM is being collected and recycled or recovered. Valuable resources end up in landfills or pollute the environment. Pakomak is the first EPR system established in RNM and supports the collection and recycling of packaging waste in 37 (out of 84) municipalities covering approx. 70% of the population. The system suffers from a number of challenges that need to be addressed in order to achieve the national recovery target of 70% by 2030.
Objectives Improved living conditions through smart, digitally traceable and transparent packaging waste management.
Target groups Primary target groups are central and local level public institutions (Ministry of Environment and Physical Planning, 84 municipalities and their public utilities, primary schools), EPR schemes (in addition to Pakomak), retailers and other private sector entities willing to contribute to a cleaner environment, 2.1 million citizens with special focus on most vulnerable groups (LNOB).
Medium-term outcomes
  1. Increased effectiveness, efficiency and transparency of packaging waste management system operated by Pakomak.
  2. More citizens and Municipalities engage in recycling by making use of the smart packaging waste infrastructure.

Expected results:  

  • Development and installation of smart sensors in packaging collection containers, indicating level and location.
  • Waste collection fleet equipped with GPS-trackers and tablets indicating optimized collection routes.
  • Data management system including public access to real time (packaging) waste system data trough webportal and mobile application.
  • Development and placement of Reverse Vending Machines for PET bottles and aluminium cans incentivizing primary waste selection.
  • Innovative public awareness and environmental education

Directorate/federal office responsible SDC
Project partners Contract partner
International or foreign NGO

Other partners
Pakomak (registered non-profit packaging recovery organization)
Coordination with other projects and actors Swiss funded projects: Solid Waste Management Polog, Balanced Regional Development, Creating Job Opportunities for All, Increasing Market Employability
Budget Current phase Swiss budget CHF    1’301’000 Swiss disbursement to date CHF    1’190’145
Project phases Phase 1 01.11.2021 - 31.12.2024   (Current phase)