Read, Write, Run, Roam

Redak (Rare) Recycling in Belgrade

Pro-recycling statue by Kalenic Market.

Belgrade has a long way to go when it comes to recycling. Supposedly there are several recycling “islands” in the city, but I’ve only seen one of them (across from the Pizza Hut on Makedonska and Kondina). Some grocery stores will take back bottles, but only for one-liter beer bottles. Nothing else. Not sure why.

I’ve read that the foreign recycling industry isn’t interested in Belgrade, and Beogradjani aren’t that interested in recycling. Chicken, egg, you get the idea. But in smaller cities like Kragujevac, recycling stations are a common sight.

Belgrade does have an informal cardboard recycling system, but it’s carried out by impoverished Beogradjani, not the city. People often place cardboard near, not in, the dumpster for this purpose. The cardboard is then moved by vehicles that remind me of tuk-tuks. Is there a word for these in Serbian?

This one is part bike, but there are ones with motors too.

I’m glad these folks can make a dinar or two this way, but I’d love to see a better recycling system in Belgrade. Things seem to be looking up: the first recycling yard opened in Ada Huja in 2009, and it appears that the region can recycle metal from cars and big appliances. Yet no big plans for household cans and bottles. I’m hoping that will change in the near future. Otherwise I’ll feel compelled to drink nothing but beer in recyclable glass bottles…and I’m not sure Belgrade (or I) can handle that.


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