Albania: cooperation in action Modernised, climate-friendly waste management and a circular economy

As a candidate for EU admission, Albania must bring its waste management up to EU standards. However, there is still a discrepancy between the established legal frameworks on the one hand and their implementation on the other.

The majority of household waste ends up in illegal rubbish dumps, where it is left to rot in the open air or is burnt. During this process, gases, soot and leachate are released unchecked, polluting the environment and the climate.

KfW Development Bank is making a contribution towards sustainable solid waste management, the implementation of the national Albanian waste strategy and supporting Albania’s EU rapprochement in regard to environmental standards. Integrated waste management is being realised in the northern part of the region of Vlora thanks to targeted investment in waste infrastructure. This is helping to protect the environment and natural resources, reduce emissions of greenhouse gases and improve the living conditions of the local population. Furthermore, in selected parts of the city, household organic waste is to be collected separately and a sorting facility is to be supported at the new regional landfill site.

The German Climate Technology Initiative (DKTI) has been supporting the efforts both of the Albanian Ministry of Tourism and Environment and of selected partner municipalities to introduce improved, climate-smart waste management since 2016.

At the national level, with the contribution under German development cooperation, the Albanian waste strategy has been revised and it was adopted in May 2020. Work is also being done on a financing mechanism in order to distribute the rising costs of modern waste management more equitably.

Resource centre in the city of Sarandra, Albania

Resource centre in the city of Sarandra, Albania

Resource centre in the city of Sarandra, Albania

The partner municipalities of Himara, Peqin and Rrogozhina have been implementing municipal waste management strategies since 2018; since 2020 they have been joined by the partner municipalities of Cerrik, Belsh, Rroskovec and Saranda. Thanks to publicity campaigns, digital applications, better cooperation with the private sector and informal waste collectors, it is now possible for valuable resources like metal, paper or plastic to be collected separately and recycled. As a result, local recycling rates have already increased by about 35 per cent.

Mountain landscape near Valbona, Northern Albania

Support has been provided for the construction and start-up of resource centres in Himara and Sarandra, and in Cerrik the first community-run composting facility in Albania has also been supported. This way, valuable resources are being saved and the formation of climate-harming methane gas from organic waste has been considerably reduced. All in all, 84,000 inhabitants have already benefited from improved waste management. Roughly 9,000 people now have access to regular waste collection services for the first time ever.

With the second phase of the project starting in 2020, even more people will benefit. Measures include drawing up strategies for cleaning up landfill sites. The clean-up will initially start in Gjirokastra and Skrapar.