30. 6. 2022

Conference Waste and Municipalities, Hradec Králové, 8 - 9 June 2022 (23rd year)

Gala evening and awarding of the Crystal Bin prizes to the best municipalities in the separate collection competition.

Dear Mr. Deputy Minister of the Environment, Ladies and Gentlemen,

as a signatory of the 1999 Voluntary Agreement between companies and the state on the fulfilment of the requirements of the then already prepared Packaging Act, I was asked by the organisers of this conference to briefly evaluate what the voluntary agreement had helped to achieve. 

From my point of view, almost a quarter of a century on, this agreement has served its purpose. 

At the time the voluntary agreement was concluded, the yield of sorted collection per inhabitant per year was 9 kg; last year - in 2021, 22 years later - it was already 72 kg, which is 8 times higher. 

And one more numerical comparison: at the time of the voluntary agreement in 1999, the modern oriented packaging industry was represented by 41 companies; in 2001, after only two years (and in the last year of voluntary participation), 581 companies were already involved on the side of the environmentally oriented industry, a 14-fold increase. Incidentally, this respectable number represented more than half of the market. To all this I must just add that from my point of view this was a clear success. After all, in the area of separate collection, we have had the most efficient system in the whole of the European Union for several years now, and going to sort our household waste has become part of our national culture, the everyday habits of our fellow citizens.

During the day's programme, comparisons with the past were often made in various contexts. 

Here again, let me draw a historical parallel:

 At the time of the High Middle Ages, the following 4 aspects were generally used in Europe as indicators for assessing quality of life:

  1. Whether the fields in the country are cultivated,
  2. Whether enough babies are being born,
  3. Whether the traveller is safe on the road,
  4. Whether the currency (coin) is not losing its value.

I ask those present to mentally answer for themselves these medieval indicators of the quality of life today.

But back to the present, a gala evening attended by hundreds of representatives of municipalities and towns of the Czech Republic.  

We all wish such a successful system a long life and here I will conclude with this parallel: EKO KOM, with the support and hard work of the leadership of thousands and thousands of municipalities and towns in the Czech Republic, have the imaginary field of separate collection and use of packaging waste, called the Czech Republic, well sown. Let us hope that thanks to this, the harvest will also be abundant. For the benefit of all of us. 

Therefore, I wish us all from the bottom of my heart at least another 25 years of equally successful efforts in the field of separate collection.

Thank you for your attention and have a nice evening.

Miloš Kužvart, Hradec Králové, June 8, 2022