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The Vinča Landfill – Cleaning up Belgrade

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A city of 1.7 million like Belgrade generates a lot of waste. Opened in 1970, the landfill in Vinča, a suburb in the east of Serbia’s capital, has been receiving an average of 2,700 tons of waste every day, servicing 13 out of Belgrade’s 17 municipalities

After more than four decades of operation, the landfill today holds more than 10 million tonnes of waste. The materials deposited at the site comprise household waste as well as construction waste, making Vinča one of the largest landfills in Europe.

50 years on, the facility is not only approaching maximum capacity but also poses a major environmental and health risk, including the pollution of the nearby river Danube.

The project

In 2015, the city of Belgrade launched a tender for a private-public partnership project for the treatment and disposal of municipal waste to replace and transform the existing site in Vinča. The scope includes:

 Construction of a 103 MW waste-to-energy facility with a capacity of 340-kilo tonnes per annum, designed to achieve optimum investment costs and affordability and leave large headroom for development of recycling

 Construction of a construction and demolition waste recycling facility with a capacity of 210-kilo tonnes per annum

 Construction of new landfill with a capacity of 170-kilo tonnes per annum

 Remediation of the existing non-sanitary landfill

The environment

The project addresses one of the most urgent environmental challenges in Europe. The unsanitary landfill, which was constructed without a lining, gas collection or leachate treatment, will be rehabilitated. New waste management facilities will stop air pollution and danger to the groundwater, currently threatening the nearby Danube basin. The new facility will meet the biodegradable waste landfill diversion as well as the construction and demolition waste recovery objectives set by the EU Waste Framework Directive.

The consortium

Beo Čista Energija Ltd., a special purpose vehicle formed by the global utility company SUEZ (France), the Japanese conglomerate ITOCHU Corporation and the European fund Marguerite, won the tender for the construction and operation of the site. The company entered a 25-year PPP agreement with the city of Belgrade in 2017.

Work on the site in Vinča commenced in October 2019 and continued during the recent outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic. The new sanitary landfill will be finalised by the end of 2020, while full project completion and the beginning of commercial operations are expected in 2022.

The financing

Total project cost is close to €370 million. The EBRD is contributing a €128.25 million syndicated loan, including a loan of €72.25 million for its own account, a loan of €35 million provided by Erste Group Bank AG under the A/B loan structure, and €21 million in concessional finance funded by Green Energy Special Fund. The EBRD financing is part of a wider package including the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the Austrian development bank Oesterreichische Entwicklungsbank (OeEB) with loans of up to €72.25 million and €35 million, respectively.