Georgia: On the eve of World Environment Day, more than 100 residents of Batumi’s Khimshiashvili and Ninoshvili streets participated in a public outdoor event encouraging recycling culture. The community gathering, which was organised with the help of the UNDP’s Accelerator Lab, followed a behavioural experiment conducted earlier this year, which showed that locals would welcome recycling if municipal infrastructure and services were combined with an awareness-raising campaign.
The event featured workshops on waste separation, a recycling quiz, a display of products made from recycled plastic, and other eco-conscious activities for children and youth and was attended by representatives from UNDP, Batumi City Hall, local environmental activists, volunteers, and district residents.
The activists and volunteers who participated in the awareness-raising campaign received certificates of recognition from UNDP Deputy Resident Representative in Georgia Anna Chernyshova and Batumi Vice Mayor Lela Surmanidze, recognising the importance of the local grassroots movement in achieving systemic change.
Last September, 40 transparent collection bins were installed in residential areas of Batumi and Tbilisi as part of a partnership with local community organisations and city halls.
In the experimental districts, this was followed by a locally targeted educational campaign on plastic waste collection. In just two months, from January to March 2022, the probe collected approximately half a tonne of polyethene terephthalate (PET) plastic garbage, revealing crucial behavioural trends and laying the groundwork for practical recommendations.
Georgia currently generates over 900,000 tonnes of garbage each year, with more than 75% of it ending up in landfills. Georgia plans to recycle 50 per cent of its plastic garbage by 2025 and 80 per cent by 2030, according to its National Waste Management Strategy.
UNDP continues to assist Batumi and other Georgian cities in achieving this lofty target, as well as implementing effective plastic waste sorting techniques and promoting sustainable lifestyles.