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100 days of recycling paper for 100 years of Romania

Updated: May 28, 2020

“I hate plastic“ said the  head of waste collection services at one of the 5 councils we work with. We presume he said that because of:

1. Plastic’s levels of inherent contamination and 

2. Different types of polymers in MSW (Municipal Solid Waste) which makes it difficult to recycle. 

3. Even though the world is now becoming alert to plastic being a massively polluting and potentially recyclable substance, the final nail in its coffin as to its attractiveness (and bad for us all, all over the world) is its falling recyclable value. In 2018 the average price for LDPE plastic (film) was 191 euros per tonne. Now it is 145 euros per tonne – a drop of 24%. And also, if you compare that to the price of virgin plastic (in the UK) of £1300 , why on earth would you collect plastic recyclate to sell? Comments on this webpage, or emails to

Furthermore, Darrel More, says (in The Chartered Institute of Waste Managers magazine, here) " in Europe, only 30% of plastic waste is collected for recycling. In addition, most recycling operations take place outside Europe, where environmental practices and standards may differ”.

The starting point of behavioural change and our project Un Viitor fara Gunoi/ A Future without Rubbish is schools. We have to start in schools. And the economics behind changing behaviour is the project’s backbone. Schools and economics are how we are achieving significant behavioural change to such significant degrees.

So, to celebrate 100 years of Romania being established, within the project Un Viitor fara Gunoi Sibiu, cofunded by Sibiu county Council through community agenda , we organised “100 days of recycling, correct separation and collection” of paper and cardboard! We organised this project in schools with recycling waste companies, households, school children and teachers.

As a result of the project, children and households now understand that there is further value in the waste stream of used paper. This is great as it is our central aim – that eventually everyone sees further value in ‘rubbish’ before discarding it for landfill or incineration. 

These three schools (in different parts of Sibiu county) were rewarded with clocks (made out of recycled paper) and cash to spend on their pupils educational needs. They were rewarded for recycling 4 tonnes of paper, and thereby preventing the need for harvesting more than 60 trees, to turn into paper. 

1 tonne of paper, recycled = 17 trees. Watch the video here

Axente Sever’ coordinator teacher: "First of all, this project has had a positive impact on the students of our school. They were motivated to love, cherish and protect nature, the environment. They have collected paper from the desire to save the trees, which are a real source of fresh air. They mobilized and brought recyclable material to school, helped by other family members, grandparents, older brothers. They asked all sellers at the shops in the commune to keep any box or cardboard for them to bring them to school, and this gained the appreciation and admiration from everyone. The greatest satisfaction I had when one of the girls said she was not interested in the prize, but she was happy to save those trees from being cut."

“The clocks-to-schools as a reward on this project were made out of recycled paper – this ‘upcycling is a first for Romania, and we hope it grows as we have fuelled the circular economy” said Iolanda Alexandru, project coordinator of Asociaţia Un Viitor fără Gunoi.

“Yes! Well done pupils for doing this and thereby preserving beautiful Romania! We hope that more schools and councils will start this initiative this year – how about we aim for saving 101 trees in 101 days of recycling to celebrate 101 years of Romania?!” said Luke Douglas-Home of Asociatia Un Viitor fara Gunoi and Clear Public Space. Email us at and let’s get this going!

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