Bulgaria and Switzerland successfully accomplished two waste management projects

10 Sep 2020

Bulgarian-Swiss cooperation in waste management: beneficial to people and good for the nature

10 September 2020

Bulgaria and Switzerland have successfully accomplished two of the largest projects of the Bulgarian-Swiss Cooperation Programme aimed at improvement of the waste management in Bulgaria. They reached hundreds of municipalities and thousands of people and contributed to the environment and human health protection.

Recently, Switzerland formally approved the completion reports of the five-year projects “Environmentally friendly disposal of obsolete pesticides” and “Pilot models for environmentally friendly collection and temporary storage of hazardous household waste”. They were implemented by EMEPA, the Bulgarian Enterprise for Management of Environmental Protection Activities in the period April 2015 - December 2019.

“Environment & infrastructure” and “Nature & biodiversity protection” are key areas, in which Switzerland supports the efforts of Bulgaria as part of its contribution to the reduction of economic and social disparities in the enlarged European Union. Focused on waste, the projects have a substantial impact in two different, but equally important issues for Bulgaria: solving the long standing problem with obsolete pesticides and plant protection materials and piloting an efficient model for separate collection of hazardous waste from the households. Bulgarian municipalities are direct beneficiaries of the achievements of these projects.

Together, both projects represent to more than 1/3 of the total amount of CHF 76 million committed under the Bulgarian-Swiss Cooperation Programme. Besides the financial side, the human dimension of the two projects is even higher, with reaching to more than 2 million people in nearly 70 municipalities throughout the country, who now live in a better and cleaner environment.

“Environmentally sound disposal of obsolete pesticides and other crop protection products” 21.4.2015 – 7.12.2019:  


  • Back in 2013, a feasibility study suggested for cleaning 215 priority warehouses across the country storing approximately 4’400 tons of obsolete pesticides and other plant protection products remaining after the cooperatives from before the 90s.
  • 3’782 tons (more than 85% of the planned quantities) of pesticides and other hazardous products were safely repacked, transported and incinerated in licensed facilities in Switzerland, France, Germany and other EU countries. Due to the higher quantities of pesticides discovered, 67 warehouses (31 %) of all 215 initially targeted by the project were cleaned up in compliance with the high quality standards and requirements set by the project.
  • More than 1’6 million people in 50 Bulgarian municipalities benefit from a healthier environment while opportunities for economic growth in this areas have increased.
  • The Bulgarian authorities stand by their commitment to continue the disposal of the remaining waste after the project’s completion: an experts’ estimate suggests that approximately 3’588 tons of obsolete substances still remain in 231 warehouses spread all over Bulgaria.
  • The Swiss co-financing share of 85% reached CHF 14'361’790 of the eligibly spent in the framework of the Project funds. This comprises 72% of the committed Swiss funding.


Detailed in information on the project can be found at http://swiss-contribution.bg/en/projects/disposal-of-pesticides/environmentally-sound-disposal-of-obsolete-pesticides-and-other-crop-protection-products


“Pilot models for environmentally friendly collection and temporary storage of hazardous household waste”

(21.4.2015 – 7.12.2019)

  • Five Bulgarian municipalities - Saedinenie, Shumen, Levski, Razgrad and Sozopol – launched environmentally and citizens friendly separate collection of hazardous household waste (gardening chemicals and obsolete medicines, left-over paints, waste oil from a cars, cleaning chemicals, mercury thermometers, etc.). They started the operation of specialised facilities where the waste is safely and temporarily stored before it is sent for final treatment to authorised hazardous waste treatment installations.
  • The pilot for Bulgaria model for separate collection and temporary storage of hazardous household waste covers the 5 municipalities where the pilot centres are located and mobile collection extended to the neighbouring ones where 12 specialized vehicles provide the mobile collection service also the remote settlements. The staff operating the collection points and vehicles is professionally trained to ensure that collection and storage are done in accordance with all Health and Safety regulations.
  • Environmental management of hazardous household waste is now improved in 23 municipalities (Saedinenie, Shumen, Levski, Sozopol and Razgrad, including 18 satellite municipalities). A total of 329’925 citizens are covered by a system for separate collection of hazardous household waste.
  • To support policy related to separate household waste collection at local and national level, the project also co-financed an analysis of the morphological composition of households waste in the country. Separate reports providing information on different types and quantities of waste collected in each Bulgarian municipality as well as at national level were elaborated by the project. The reports were provided by the Executing agency of the project to all 265 municipalities. The reports are also available at (https://swiss-contribution.bg/documents/dokladi) and (https://bit.ly/338XTAo). In addition, Guidelines for the Management of Bulky Waste in Bulgaria (https://swiss-contribution.bg/documents/drugi) and Technical specifications for an electronic system under Regulation (EC) No 1013/2006 were also elaborated and adopted by the Ministry of Environment and Water.
  • The 5 pilot centres serve as successful examples to the other municipalities. The MOEW (https://www.moew.government.bg/en/) and EMEPA (http://pudoos.bg/) will consider the experience and information from the project for setting up the policy on separate collection and disposal of hazardous household waste in Bulgaria.
  • The committed Swiss co-financing to the Project was CHF 7’499’776 out of which CHF 5'096’954 or 68 % were eligibly spent.

Detailed information on the project can be found at: http://www.swiss-contribution.bg/en/projects/hazardous-household-waste/pilot-models-for-environmentally-friendly-collection-and-temporary-storage-of-hazardous-household-waste