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Country Specific Context – Croatia

Circular economy is an important concept that focuses on sustainability, resource efficiency, and minimizing waste generation. It involves keeping products, materials, and resources in use for as long as possible, extracting their maximum value during their lifecycle, and then responsibly managing their end-of-life disposal. In the case of Croatia, like many other countries, there have been efforts to promote and implement circular economy principles. In Croatia, our journey towards a circular economy has just begun. With 41.155 people employed in circular economy sectors (representing 1.2% of the EU total in 2018) the circular material use rate in Croatia is under the EU average.
We're making strides, but there's still work to be done. Here is an overview of the circular economy in Croatia:
Government Initiatives: Although there is no unique strategy, action plan or roadmap specifically for circular economy, the Croatian government has shown commitment to advancing the circular economy. It has introduced policies and initiatives aimed at reducing waste and promoting recycling. These policies are often in line with European Union directives.
A wide range of national strategies might have the potential to promote CE approaches in Croatia. These are some of them:
  • Waste Management Plan of the Republic of Croatia for the period 2017–2022 (OG 3/17, 1/22): The Waste Management Plan of the Republic of Croatia (WMP) is a waste management planning document that is reflected at all levels, from national to local, and as a segment within other sectors, such as water management, health, spatial planning and construction. It sets objectives and measures for the establishment of waste management based on CE criteria. Croatia has made strides in improving its waste management systems. Recycling rates have increased, and efforts have been made to reduce landfilling. Various municipalities and cities have implemented separate collection systems for recyclables.
  • Food Waste Prevention Plan - The Plan aims to prevent and reduce the generation of food waste. It aims to bring together in one place all measures and activities that contribute to the prevention of food waste in all phases of the food chain, from primary production, through processing, trade, catering and institutional kitchens to households. The plan is the first such comprehensive document on this issue produced in the Republic of Croatia.
  • The National Development Strategy is an umbrella document and a comprehensive act of strategic planning which should guide the development of society and the economy in the long run. It promotes the green and digital transition to cleaner and more accessible energy by encouraging green and blue investments, by decarbonising buildings, and by developing a CE.
  • The Low Carbon Development Strategy outlines the following vision: industry and agriculture will be efficient and connected to all sectors of the economy, reducing the generation of waste materials in an integrated and circular economy
  • Development Programme of Green infrastructure in Urban Areas for 2021–2030 and Development Programme of Circular Economy of Space and Buildings for 2021–2030, both adopted in 2021, direct stakeholders in the construction sector towards sustainable construction and the principles of the CE in construction, reconstruction and demolition.

There have been initiatives, sometimes even on the local level to introduce circular principles. These are some of them:

  • Plastic Waste: Reducing plastic waste is a global concern, and Croatia is no exception. There have been initiatives to reduce single-use plastics, such as bans on plastic bags, and efforts to promote recycling of plastic materials.

  • Circular Business Models: Some Croatian companies and startups have embraced circular business models. They are designing products with longevity in mind, exploring reuse and refurbishment options, and seeking to minimize waste in their production processes.

  • Research and Education: Educational institutions and research organizations in Croatia are involved in studying and promoting circular economy principles. They conduct research on sustainable materials, recycling technologies, and circular business strategies.

  • Collaboration with the EU: Croatia's membership in the European Union has facilitated access to funding and resources for circular economy projects. It has also meant adopting EU regulations and directives related to waste and recycling.


Croatia, like many countries, faces challenges in fully implementing circular economy principles. These challenges include the need for more extensive infrastructure for waste collection and recycling, raising awareness among consumers, and adapting industries to circular models.

  • Tourism: Croatia's tourism industry is significant, and it generates a substantial amount of waste during the peak tourist season. Managing this waste sustainably and promoting circular practices in the tourism sector is a priority.
  • Circular Economy Networks: Various organizations, both governmental and non-governmental, are involved in promoting circular economy practices and facilitating cooperation between businesses, research institutions, and the government.
  • Future Outlook: The circular economy is expected to play an increasingly important role in Croatia's sustainability efforts. As awareness grows, it is likely that more businesses and organizations will adopt circular principles.

It's worth noting that the circular economy is a global trend, and countries, including Croatia, are continuously evolving their strategies and actions to align with its principles. The success of circular economy initiatives often depends on collaboration between government, businesses, civil society, and consumers.

Examples of public policy initiatives (national, regional or local)

➔ Good practice example: public procurement, education (awareness-raising and training), spatial planning and urban policy

 Green Public Procurement Portal  - The national green public procurement (GPP) web platform, established in 2015 and operated by the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development, communicates GPP criteria, publishes educational materials, runs webinars, lists eco-labels, and contains lifecycle analysis (LCA) tools and examples of good practice (

➔ Good practice example: change in consumption patterns and consumer behaviour, education (awareness-raising and training)

The National Environmentally Friendly Label - The Environmentally Friendly Label is a voluntary environmental instrument used on products, which, compared to similar products, have a less negative impact on the environment throughout their lifecycles. The Environmentally Friendly Label provides the consumer with complete, credible and scientifically based information on the environmental impact of the product. A register of products and services awarded the EU Ecolabel Croatia and the Croatian Environmentally Friendly labels by the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development can be found on the platform (

➔ Good practice example: change in consumption patterns and consumer behaviour, and education (awareness-raising and training)

EU Ecolabel Croatia - A dedicated Facebook page communicates news about the award of the EU Ecolabel to products and services in Croatia, the development of European standards and other information important for consumers and producers who want to reduce their negative impact on the environment (

➔ Good practice example: change in consumption patterns and consumer behaviour, education (awareness-raising and training)

Za ljepšu našu project - is an educational and information campaign conducted by the Fund for Environmental Protection and Energy Efficiency. Its aim is to raise awareness of the importance of sustainable waste management and encourage all citizens to handle waste properly and responsibly. It includes a blog and a Facebook page (

Croatia has been making efforts to transition towards a more circular economy, and there are several notable examples of circular economy initiatives and practices in the country:

Zelena Čistka: Zelena Čistka is an environmental organization in Croatia that focuses on cleaning up and recycling waste from rivers and natural areas. They organize cleanup events and have a strong emphasis on recycling and upcycling the collected waste materials.

Svijet oko nas - Hokus Pokus Znanstvena Zabavljaonica: This is an association that promotes science education and awareness in Croatia. They often organize events and workshops for children that emphasize recycling and reusing materials to create scientific experiments and projects.

Radiona Makerspace: Radiona is a collaborative workspace and educational platform in Zagreb that encourages creative innovation through technology and art. They promote the use of recycled materials and sustainability in their projects.

Biljkoborci - d.o.o.: This company is involved in sustainable urban gardening and vertical farming. They use recycled materials and promote sustainable agricultural practices, contributing to a more circular approach to food production.

Odmor na Zadatku: This organization promotes eco-tourism and sustainable travel in Croatia. They encourage visitors to explore nature responsibly and minimize their environmental impact, contributing to a more sustainable and circular tourism sector.

TETRABOT: TETRABOT is a company that focuses on robotics and automation solutions. They work on projects related to waste sorting and recycling automation, which can significantly improve the efficiency of recycling processes.

While these are some positive examples of circular economy practices in Croatia, it's essential to note that the transition to a fully circular economy takes time and concerted efforts from various sectors. Many other businesses and organizations in Croatia are also gradually adopting circular principles, and the country's commitment to sustainability is expected to continue growing in the coming years.

Karibu Kaaawa Coffee Shop: Some coffee shops in Croatia, such as Karibu Kaaawa, are embracing circular practices by sourcing coffee from sustainable and ethical suppliers and promoting the use of reusable cups to reduce single-use plastic waste.

Pučko Otvoreno Učilište Zagreb: This institution offers educational programs related to sustainability, including courses on eco-design and sustainable living, contributing to raising awareness about circular economy principles.

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