More than two and a half tons of pressed PET packaging collected in Doboj and Doboj Istok

Joint effort for a more beautiful community

November 1, 2023


Active community participation, knowledge, resources, and commitment are vital for creating a harmonious relationship between people and the environment. Evidence of this can be found in the residents of Doboj city and Doboj Istok who have joined forces to achieve significant steps towards long-term preservation of the environment and reduction of illegal waste in their community.

There are 179 illegal landfills in 54 local communities in Doboj,  that directly threaten water and land, according to data from the Department for Strategic Planning, European Integration and Local Economic Development of the City of Doboj. More than 90 percent of illegal landfills are in rural areas, while local communities where illegal landfills are not recorded dispose of their waste in neighboring settlements.

Devastating data on the state of the environment, a disorganized waste collection system and a lack of awareness of the need to protect nature motivated the representatives of the EUROPLUS Center for the Promotion of European Values to implement the project "Think clean, act healthy" in Doboj and Doboj Istok.

"The project aimed to strengthen activism in the field of environmental protection, establish mechanisms for collecting and sorting PET packaging and contribute to the development of awareness about the importance of preserving nature with a focus on the harmful effects of illegal landfills,"
said project coordinator and EUROPLUS representative Suzana Malešić.


During 2022, the project was implemented in the city of Doboj, as part of which more than two tons of PET packaging were collected, while in 2023, the project was also implemented in the municipality of Doboj Istok, where more than half a ton of PET waste was collected so far.

Motivated by good practice in the partner community, thousands of citizens, schoolchildren, and representatives of government, educational and religious institutions provided support for the implementation of the project in the municipality of Doboj Istok.

Scenes of schoolchildren collecting plastic bottles were part of everyday life in the neighborhoods in Doboj Istok in the past months. They collected bottles wherever they found them - on the streets, in parks, around buildings, houses and schools. It did not take long for them to motivate the local men and women in their communities to join them.

Principals of elementary schools in Doboj Istok say that students have responded to waste collection actions before, but that the action within "Think clean, act healthy" project was different.

"Our students had the task of collecting the used PET packaging in the designated containers, but the difference is that they pressed all the bottles with the help of a manual press. The process of pressing was interesting for the students, among whom the competitive spirit developed," said the director of the Elementary School "Klokotnica" from Doboj Istok, Dženad Mujkić.

Manual presses for PET packaging were installed in nine elementary and 26 district schools in Doboj, and in two elementary and four district schools in Doboj Istok. This created the conditions for proper disposal of PET waste in these educational institutions.

"The waste collection action left a significant mark in the development of a young person. We used this project to reward the most persistent students in collecting packaging," Mujkić added.

School principals from Doboj Istok hope that in the future they will look up to the schools from the Doboj area, that started collecting tons of PET packaging within "Think clean, act healthy" project, which is then purchased by the Doboj company "Omorika reciklaža". The money from the sale is used by schools to help students.

"By giving PET packaging for purchase, we also collected a certain amount of money that helped students pay for part of a one-day trip to Teslić,"
said the director of the Elementary School "Ozren" from Doboj, Jelena Jović-Nešković.


She adds that the "Think clean, act healthy" project awakened environmental awareness and motivation among students to change their attitude towards the environment and made them more responsible towards it.

"Pressing activities in our school will continue, and we are trying to change awareness in our local community in this way. We want to be a positive example of environmental protection," said Jović-Nešković.

In addition to educational institutions in Doboj and Doboj Istok, other institutions in the Doboj area also received presses for PET packaging - Railways of the Republika Srpska, the City Administration of the City of Doboj and the Doboj Police Administration, while some faculties also joined the waste collection campaign.

As part of the project, workshops on the topic of environmental protection were held for representatives of local communities, teaching staff and religious communities. More than 150 participants took part in 11 workshops which were held in Doboj, while more than a hundred participants attended the six workshops which were held in Doboj Istok. During the workshops, data were presented on the mapping of wild landfills in the Doboj and Doboj Istok areas, and the measures that should be taken to remove and reduce such landfills.

As part of the project, EUROPLUS also created a website through which this organization informs the public about illegal landfills, the importance of recycling and environmental protection, and shares interesting facts about the environment.

EUROPLUS also emphasizes that one of the significant project results is the interest of other authorities, organizations, associations and institutions for the collection and recycling of PET packaging.

"Hand presses for PET packaging are extremely important for recycling, and the fact that they are used by the youngest residents is a special success of our project. Presses can be used indefinitely, which gives schools and other institutions the opportunity to collect significant funds," concluded Malešić.

The project "Think clean, act healthy" was implemented as part of the project "Meaningful Activism, Knowledgeable Engagement and Responsible Solutions - MAKERS", which is implemented in Bosnia and Herzegovina by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) with the support of the Porticus Foundation.