Waste Incinerator in Resnik, Zagreb, Croatia

Many years of citizens and NGOs opposition to building waste incinerator in Resnik resulted in cancellation of the project by decisions of the state and city of Zagreb authorities.

At the beginning of 2000s, the City of Zagreb made a plan for the installation of a municipal waste incinerator with annual capacity of 385,000 tonnes, worth around 200 million USD to be provided by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD). In October 2005, the Ministry of Environment rejected the project EIA study. The Zagreb City Council and the municipal waste company ZGOS have pushed to continue the project, and the Mayor of Zagreb asked the Prime Minister to keep the plans on-going. The NGO Green Action openly criticized this pro incinerator lobbing activities accusing the EBRD of backing it. Finally, the incinerator project EIA study was approved in 2006, without public consultation. Since then, the authorities of Zagreb have been facing the problem of finding location for the waste treatment plant. Finally, in October 2013 the Mayor of Zagreb proposed suburb area Resnik, situated 6 km from the city center. This decision encountered disapproval by citizens of Resnik refusing to have one more waste treatment plant in ‘their backyard’. In turn, the activists argued that burning of waste is an old, expensive and polluting practice, and that Croatia should rather focus on waste separation and recycling. In September 2014, in an unclear procedure, the Croatian Ministry of Environmental and Nature Protection and the Ministry of Construction and Physical Planning approved a new spatial plan that allowed for building the waste incinerator in Resnik. This decision provoked strong reaction among environmental activists and the citizens, recalling the mayor on the promises given in regard during the election campaign. The NGO activists continued protesting against the incinerator in 2015. In 2016, new Minister of Environmental and Nature Protection pleaded against the incinerator. In addition, the European Union parliament decided which the new legislative package to restrict financing for incinerators. In April, the Mayor of Zagreb changed his mind and cancelled its support to the incinerator construction considering it out-dated and polluting technology. Both the state and city authorities supported waste separation, recycling, composting, and have agreed on lowering the costs of waste disposal to citizens implementing such measures. The citizens of Resnik have welcomed these decisions, but they would like to see a document that would official prove such claims. Croatia as European Union member is obliged to elaborate new waste management plan by June 2016, and to decide on the location of the waste management center until the end of this year. 
Basic Data
NameWaste Incinerator in Resnik, Zagreb, Croatia
ProvinceZagreb Capital
SiteZagreb, Resnik
Accuracy of LocationHIGH local level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Waste Management
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Incinerators
Specific CommoditiesDomestic municipal waste
Project Details and Actors
Project Details
Only 26% of waste is currently separated and only 2% is recycled in Croatia. According to the directives of the European Union the percentage of separated waste should raise to 50% by 2020.
See more...
Level of Investment (in USD)200,000,000
Type of PopulationUrban
Potential Affected Population1,400
Start Date05/2005
End Date03/2016
Company Names or State EnterprisesZagreb Holding (ZGOS) from Croatia - Manager of the future incinerator
Relevant government actorsThe City of Zagreb, The Ministry of Environmental and Nature Protection of the Republic of Croatia, The Ministry of Construction and Physical Planning of the Republic of Croatia
International and Financial InstitutionsThe European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) - Project investor
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersZelena Akcija (Green Action) http://zelena-akcija.hr; Udruga za zaštitu okoliša Resnik (UZOR); citizens of Resnik
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)HIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)
When did the mobilization beginPREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups MobilizingLocal ejos
Local government/political parties
Social movements
Local scientists/professionals
Forms of MobilizationCommunity-based participative research (popular epidemiology studies, etc..)
Creation of alternative reports/knowledge
Development of a network/collective action
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Media based activism/alternative media
Objections to the EIA
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Street protest/marches
Environmental ImpactsPotential: Air pollution, Fires, Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Noise pollution, Soil contamination, Waste overflow, Groundwater pollution or depletion
Health ImpactsPotential: Accidents, Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…), Mental problems including stress, depression and suicide, Occupational disease and accidents, Infectious diseases
Socio-economic ImpactsVisible: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors
Potential: Displacement, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Project StatusStopped
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseProject cancelled
Development of AlternativesThe opponents of the project demanded from the city authorities to quit of outdated, polluting and end-of-pipe technologies and to invest in improvements of waste management system in Zagreb including waste separation, re-use and recycling activities.
Do you consider this as a success?Yes
Why? Explain briefly.According to the minister of environment and the city authorities, the waste incinerator in Resnik will not be built. Apart from necessity of making such decision official, it remains that Croatian authorities elaborate a new waste management plan and decide on waste management location in 2016.
Sources and Materials

Document: Incinerator analysis - Position paper, 14.10.2005 by NGO Green Action
[click to view]


Action: Waste + Incineration = Toxic Waste, 11.05.2005
[click to view]

Concerns regarding the proposed waste-to-energy incinerator in Zagreb, Croatia
[click to view]

Zagreb incinerator EIA approval faces legal challenge, 01.12.2006
[click to view]

Incinerator correspondence with EBRD #2, 16.11.2005
[click to view]

EBRD criticised for persisting with rejected Zagreb incinerator project, 17.11.2005
[click to view]

Open letter reminds Mayor to respect public and expert opinion, 03.11.2005
[click to view]

Bandić: Spalionica otpada neće se graditi u Zagrebu
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Ne želimo spalionicu u Resniku!
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Bandić otkazao sjednicu, a ministri odobrili spalionicu
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Prosvjednici: Neće biti spalionice, Milane ti si se kleo
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Prosvjednicima ispred Skupštine Kosor poručio: 'Za Bandića i spalionicu glasalo 93% Resničana
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Župnik: Ako su stvarno odustali od spalionice, imat ćemo feštu
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Stručnjaci: Spalionice otpada nisu baš 'passé' kako Bandić tvrdi
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GRADONAČELNIK BANDIĆ OTKRIVA: Zašto je Zagreb ipak odustao od spalionice smeća
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Novi ministar zaštite okoliša protiv spalionice otpada u Zagrebu
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Aktivisti Zelene akcije i Uzora protiv spalionice otpada
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Zagreb na dnu europske ljestvice po gospodarenju otpadom
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Bandić i Dobrović odustali od spalionica otpada: Spuštamo cijenu za građane koji to zaslužuju
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Bandić: Odustajemo od spalionice otpada u Zagrebu
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EU parlament: Nema toga, zaboravite na spalionicu otpada
[click to view]

Media Links

Citizens protest- Građani u Resniku: Centar za gospodarenje otpadom je spalionica
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Resnik protiv spalionice
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Bandić odustao od gradnje spalionice u Zagrebu 'Ja želim bidi moderan'
[click to view]

Other Documents

Green Action activist in protest against the waste incinerator in 2005 The sign reads “Waste + incinerator = hazardous waste”
[click to view]

The citizens of Resnik in protest, 2014 The sign reads “Burn the plan, not the waste”
[click to view]

Meta Information
ContributorJovanka Spiric, Universitat Autónoma de Barcelona, vankajo(at)gmail.com
Last update07/05/2016