Europe > Southern Europe > Albania > Albania Waste Profile 2011

Albania: Albania Waste Profile 2011


Why should we care about this issue

The development of the infrastructure and construction in Albania during recent years has caused an increase in urban and construction waste. Due to this unforeseen increase in waste and its weak management, the impact on the environment and human health is considerable. Prevention and reduction of generated waste through recycling and incineration is one of the main standards of the waste management policy. Therefore, to improve waste management, Albania is compiling the National Waste Plan 2010–25.

The state and impacts

Municipal waste increased in 2009 compared to previous years (Figure 1). This is evidence of the increasing consumer behaviour of the population which inevitably leads to more municipal waste. On the other hand, waste from the construction sector decreased during 2009 compared to previous years (Figure 2). Total waste is shown in Table 1.

 Figure 1: Municipal solid waste 2005–09

Figure 1: Municipal solid waste 2005–09

Source: Ministry of Public Works, Transport and Telecommunication

Construction and demolition waste 2005–09

Figure 2: Construction and demolition waste 2005–09

Source: Ministry of Public Works, Transport and Telecommunication

Table 1: Total generation of waste









Municipal waste

571 218

622 400


633 599

722 729

722 731

762 353

857 223

Construction and demolition waste

6 988 441

591 000

645 387

506 540

506 540

455 866

455 866


1 270 059

1 213 000

1 278 986

1 229 269

1 229 271

1 218 219

1 313 089


Source: Ministry of Public Works, Transport and Telecommunication

The composition of waste over the period September–December 2009, according to a study conducted by the project Implementation of National Plan for Approximation of Environmental Legislation (INPAEL), is given in Table 2 below.

Waste stream

Average % in municipal waste stream


Weight within municipal waste of Albania/day

 (0.7 kg/person/day)

Weight within municipal waste of Albania/year

 (266 kg/person/year)




2 335 tonne/day

852 360 tonne/year



1 106

403 690




12 045




45 625




69 350

Total biodegradables



1 454

530 710





LD plastics



72 270

HD plastics



40 515




48 910




44 895

Metals — ferrous



4 745

Metals — non-ferrous



4 745

Healthcare waste



1 460




1 825

Inert waste



61 320

San-Pro waste



27 740




2 555





Animal by-product waste



9 125

Table 2: Composition of waste, September–December 2009

Source: INPAEL project

The waste management system is at a low level because of the weak collection systems in cities and almost no collection systems in rural areas. Private companies, financed by municipalities, clean the cities, and collect and transport waste to landfills. Albania has very few recycling/reusing systems for waste and few engineered landfills for the disposal of waste. The necessary stipulation for waste recycling is the separation of the waste at source; a request to organise and establish separate collection systems of waste from households has been made to local authorities (municipalities). This system will help in the separation of plastic, glass and metallic packaging, paperboard, unrefined aluminates, etc.

Most of the waste in rural areas is deposited in undefined places and especially in water courses where waste is then transported to other places. There is no system for the safe management of hazardous waste (neither domestic nor commercial). The main method for waste treatment is the construction of landfills although it should be noted that these landfills are not properly constructed and, thus, cause continuing pollution of the environment.

Hazardous waste generated by the industrial sector and municipal wastes are deposited together with urban waste. The biggest problem at landfills is uncontrolled fires, which release toxic gases (dioxin, furan) in populated areas, presenting a serious problem for human health. Also of concern are the polluted water sinks created at the landfills and not treated, which poses a great risk of polluting surface waters and groundwater.

Progress towards better waste management has been made in the construction of new landfills in some regions which comply with environmental standards. Further landfills are under development (Table 3).

Table 3: Waste landfills in Albania


Landfill Site

Surface area




Bestrova 1 (Vlore)

12 ha

1 044 690 m3



Bushat (Shkoder)

12 ha

1 000 000 m3



Bajkaj (Delvine)

5 ha

Only a feasibility study has been carried out


Sharre (Tirane)

15 ha

2 900 000 tonnes




10 ha

Only a feasibility study has been carried out



5 000 m2

3500 tonnes/year




8 000 m2

Only a feasibility study has been carried out

Source: Ministry of Public Works, Transport and Telecommunication

The construction of regional municipal waste landfills in 12 areas is planned in the draft National Plan on Municipal Waste Management 2010–25. This indicates progress towards full waste collection schemes for the whole population.

The key drivers and pressures

The increase in population and considerable migration of the population towards the developed cities in Albania have resulted in increased consumer behaviour and, therefore, increased volumes of municipal waste. The huge transformation of the economy of the country has been accompanied by changes and an increase in the consumption of consumer goods by the population: this is shown directly by the increase in the level of packaging waste of different products. In 2005, the amount of municipal waste per inhabitant was at a lower level compared to 2009, when, as is seen in Figure 3, the amount clearly increased.

Figure 3: Municipal waste generated 2005–09

Figure 3: Municipal waste generated 2005–09

Source: Ministry of Public Works, Transport and Telecommunication

Daily production of municipal waste per inhabitant is approximately:

  • urban areas (50 % total population): 0.8 kg/day
  • rural areas (50 % of total population): 0.35 kg/day

Weak waste management leading to dumping of waste without any separation and treatment in landfill sites causes pollution emissions to air and water.

Polluted waters created at landfill sites present a high risk of pollution to surface waters and groundwater and biodegradable waste through its decomposition releases methane (CH4) and carbon dioxide (CO2) gases to the atmosphere. Municipal waste in Albania contains a high percentage of organic waste and no recycling methods exist to reduce the amount of organic waste disposed of in landfills. The organic waste in landfills is the main source of CH4 emissions. Methane emissions during the period 1990–2000 are presented in Figure 4.

Figure 4: Methane emissions 1990–2000

Figure 4: Methane emissions 1990–2000

 Source: Climate Change Program, UNDP

The most effective abatement measure would be the introduction of landfill gas recovery plants that would recover 70 % of the methane; however, this measure is still not implemented.

Promoting sustainable waste management practices can also reduce GHG emissions. The main goals of integrated waste management are to:

  • reduce solid waste,
  • pursue recycling and reuse of material,
  • regulate the disposal of solid waste.

Recycling and composting should be the top priority measures to reduce GHG emissions in Albania.

Existing and planned responses

National environmental legislation framework


Main content

Law No 9010 of 13 February 2003 on the environmental management of solid waste











Law No 9537 of 18 May 2006 on hazardous waste management




Law No 8934 of 5 September 2002 on environmental protection


Regulation No 6 of 30 November 2007 on clinical waste management




Regulation No 1 of 30 March 2007 on treatment of construction waste from generation, transport to their disposal




Directive No 6 of 27 November 2007 on on the approval of rules, contents and terms for preparation of plans on solid waste management

This Law consists of nine chapters:


  1. Prevention of pollution from solid waste
  2. Waste treatment by type
  3. Solid waste management committee
  4. Environmental permission
  5. Import, export and transit of waste
  6. Waste management monitoring
  7. Control
  8. Sanctions


This Law designates the norms that regulate safe hazardous waste management and its collection, transport, recovery, treatment, disposal and export.


Chapter III, Use and protection of environmental, contains Article 20 on waste management


This Regulation designates the rules and controls on the production, collection, transfer, storage, and disposal of clinical waste to ensure the protection of public health and the environment


This Regulation stipulates the waste management processes in construction fields, establishing solid rules and requirements for all operations in the field of construction and for the treatment of wastes generated there.


This Directive designates the rules, contents and terms for the preparation of:


—  National Plans

—  Regional Plans

—  Municipal Plans

The National Environment Strategy, 2006, includes waste management issues.

Period of implementation

Main content



National Environment Strategy


This strategy determines the need to compile national and regional plans on waste management for the short, middle and long term. The plans should include:


—      efficient and appropriate procedures for the collection and transport of waste,

—      an inventory of existing sites for waste disposal, site situation and improvement plans,

—      affordable standards on the construction of waste landfills that minimise pollution,

—      mechanisms to increase incomes from waste collection,

—      steps to increase public awareness on the damage caused by the indiscrimination disposal of waste

Waste Management Plans

Based on the National Environment Strategy, 2006, Albania is in the process of compiling the National Waste Plan 2010–25.

Period of Implementation

Main content


The National Waste Management Plan, 1998, included measures for solid, urban, industrial and hospital waste management and the rehabilitation of existing uncontrolled dumpsites. The plan also contained a budget to identify appropriate solutions for landfill.


The draft National Waste Plan proposes:


—      The division of Albania into 12 Waste Areas on the basis of the existing district administrative boundaries. Each waste area having a waste solution relevant to the specific needs of that area and each waste area having a waste area profile.

—      The formation of 12 Waste Area Groups consisting of members drawn from the Districts and Municipalities as well as a representative from each of the Regional Environment Agencies. The District will be the coordinating body and will be responsible, through the municipalities, for the dissemination of information to the communes within the waste area.

—      The development of area/regional waste plans which will outline the existing capacities and resource needs of each waste area. Waste areas can work together to achieve economies of scale if that is a practical and sustainable option given the restraints of geography, terrain, seasonal climate and local politics. The area waste plans can be considered as a resource for the Ministry of Public Works to focus its spending by targeting specific areas where the international community is absent or, obviously, vice versa.

—      The formalisation of a National Waste Advisory Group to be drawn from both national and regional bodies. This group, consisting of about 25 members, would be a government advisory group on policy and future strategy.

—      The identification of priority waste streams and the development of project files in order that the international donor community can consider funding these priority project areas.


The draft National Plan on Waste Management 2010–25, produced in 2009, foresees the construction of regional municipal waste landfills in 12 areas. Some of them are under construction, others are undergoing feasibility studies.


The draft National Plan includes:


—      The strengthening the institutional structure; there is need for a review and clarification of the roles and responsibilities of authorities and institutions at the central and regional level. The need to establishing a regulatory agency for tariff setting and strengthening already existing institutions should be taken into consideration.

—      Construction of appropriate disposal facilities; construction of new urban waste landfills in Tirana, Durres, Shkoder, etc., and sanitary landfills, will allow better management of solid waste and is expected to have a great positive effect on the environment and public health.

—      The role and resource of the Environmental Inspectorate, needs to be reviewed and strengthened.

—      Guidelines and training.

—      Development of databases etc.


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