Vujadin Šćekić, Owner, Jugo-Impex:

Jugo-Impex Recycled 14,000 Tonnes Of Electric And Electronic Waste

The establishment of the Green Fund would mean predictable business, new investment and new jobs in the recycling industry

At Jugo-Impex the most important element is the staff, since without their development there is no technological progress in the company. Jugo-Impex bought the technology from a German manufacturer but its team of experts has considerably improved and optimised it.

Your company owns one of the latest recycling plants for refrigerators and cooling devices. How much waste have you recycled? Do you have recycling capacity for even larger quantities?

– Last year, we recycled 14,000 tonnes of electric and electronic waste, and since the company was established we have removed and recycled nearly 50,000 tonnes of Serbia’s EE waste. Our recycling capacity is greater and we are able to recycle much larger quantities of waste in the country and the region. As the Green Fund has just been established, government funds are limited, there is no platform for predictable business and we are forced to recycle limited quantities of waste.

For a long time there have been talks about the Green Fund and a stable and predictable financing of the recycling industry. What would it mean to you and the recycling industry in Serbia in general?

– Yes, there has been talk of this for a long time, but the establishment of the Green Fund as a legal entity has been very slow. The establishment of the Green Fund would mean predictable business, new investment opportunities, new jobs and solvency for all Serbian recycling companies for special waste. At present they are in an unfavourable financial position due to the irregular payment of fees.

The establishment of the Green Fund would mean predictable business, new investment opportunities, new jobs and solvency for all Serbian recycling companies

Your company is the first one in the region to have produced kerbstones from cathode ray tubes. Can you tell us more about the project and do you think it will take root?

– Kerbs from cathode ray tubes are a result of our cooperation with the School of Construction and Architecture of Niš University and the Ministry of Agriculture and Environmental Protection. The aim of the project was to use waste glass as a secondary raw material in the construction industry, which would have multiple advantages. First, waste glass would get use value and we would be saving natural resources. Next, there would be cost-cutting in production processes and product quality would improve. The prototypes of these kerbs have been installed in Niš. To fully realise the project and start mass production we need a legal platform for end-of-waste criteria.

You often organise activities that involve children and you give prizes for protecting the environment. How important is it to start education at young age and raise awareness of the importance of recycling?

– We believe that starting education at young age is imperative for raising society’s awareness. We do a lot in that respect: we organise various activities, participate in projects and cooperate with the academic community. We can allow ourselves to boast and say that the situation is much better now than eight years ago when the first Waste Management Act was passed. We hope that our future activities in this field help raise public awareness of environmental protection. We also believe that the media play an important part and their involvement is always welcome.

You invest a lot in BAT and in the professional development of your staff. Which is more important?

– BAT (Best Available Technology) is essential for the proper development of the recycling industry and environmental protection. In order for BAT to be understood in the technological sense, it is essential to have qualified personnel, thus it is essential to invest in their development. As such, we consider our staff are more important because without their development there is no technological progress for the company. We bought our technology from a German manufacturer but our team of engineers have considerably improved it and optimised it. Their technological innovations are globally unique in this field. This is why we do our best to pay as much attention to the professional development of our staff as to the development of the technology through various training programmes.

Recycling is young, but is the fastest growing economic industry in the world, with annual growth of 3-5%

Do you plan to expand the plant and introduce new production lines?

– As I have mentioned earlier, the resource capacity is there, but predictable business is not, so at the moment our development is stagnating. The opportunities for development are endless and we are sorry that we are not in a position to use the potential that exists, because of the adverse financial situation of the entire recycling industry.

How great is the potential for further development of the Serbian recycling industry?

– It is huge. Recycling is young, but is the fastest growing economic industry in the world, with annual growth of 3-5%. Serbia has not yet made recycling of all types of waste generated on its territory possible, raw materials obtained from recycling are exported instead of being processed in our country and additional value created and employing the workforce. Masses of strategic raw materials are exported, thus it is essential to have a platform for development, as well as various incentives and amendments to the Law on Corporate Income Tax for companies, in order to create the proper platform for the new processing industry. In that way, the development of the processing industry that has raw materials obtained from waste as its basic raw material is encouraged and a strong domestic industry is created.