Background Bulgaria

Bulgaria’s waste management has progressed significantly since the country’s accession to the European Union (EU) in 2007. However, challenges persist regarding the implementation of modern environmental standards and jointly agreed goals for a circular economy. At national level, considerable efforts have been taken to enhance the legal framework but implementation of these provisions at regional level remains limited. The development of a waste disposal system for the capital city Sofia, for instance, has been time-intensive and controversial. Only recently have effective investments supported progress in Bulgaria’s waste management. One of the main challenges to date is the high reliance on landfilling as a means of waste disposal. This and other bottlenecks of Bulgaria’s waste management are usually associated with the country’s comparatively low economic strength and a general lack of capacities.

Consequently, Bulgaria has so far not been able to meet all of its obligations and waste sector goals and has therefore been criticised for providing insufficient results and data on progress in the waste sector. In a survey on waste management structures in EU countries, Bulgaria achieved comparatively low scores, with only Greece ranking lower. These unsatisfactory results are mainly due to (i) insufficient levels of implementation at local as well as at national level; and (ii) a lack of comprehensive data.


Country report

As part of the project, a detailed analysis of Bulgaria’s waste management sector is conducted. The report gives an overview of the current situation of the waste management sector, identifies development potentials and provides suggestions on further developments of the sector. The country report has the following structure and provides information in the following areas:

  • Country background information
  • Environmental law and policy
  • Waste generation and treatment
  • Financing of waste management
  • The role of the private sector in waste management
  • Know-how and technology transfer


The country study can be accessed here.

The results of the study have been summarized in a short input paper that was to be discussed during the country workshop. This input paper is available in German and Bulgarian.


Country workshop (7 March 2017, Sofia)

On 7 March 2017, the "German-Bulgarian Workshop on Waste Management Concepts & Technologies" was held at Sofia’s Inter Expo Centre. The event promoted the exchange of Bulgarian and German waste sector representatives on development potentials of Bulgaria’s waste management system.
The workshop was held as a parallel event to the annual "Save The Planet" exhibition and conference, which gave workshop participants the opportunity to also attend the country’s most relevant exhibition on environmental technologies.  
The Bulgarian participants comprised national and local waste management actors, including a representative of the Ministry of Environment and a representative of an NGO-led composting initiative. The German participants included a representative of the German Environment Agency, waste association representatives as well as waste management companies and service providers. All in all, a total of about 60 participants attended the workshop.

bulgarienIn the first session, speakers representing the Bulgarian government, municipal and private sector provided a general overview of the policies and achievements of Bulgarian waste management. This was followed by a presentation on the preliminary results of the UFOPLAN project as well as on the main elements of current waste management in Germany.

The afternoon session consisted of two lecture blocks with presentations by Bulgarian and German waste management representatives, respectively. Topics presented in this session included municipal waste disposal, recycling, and waste incineration. Thus, the workshop provided a broad insight into Bulgarian waste management. The speakers presented technologies and services as well as various project initiatives. Thanks to this format, the workshop provided a broad insight into current waste management activities and problems, and helped to validate information from the Bulgaria country study that had been developed by INTECUS prior to the workshop.

This concept was complemented by the distribution of the Bulgaria country study (short version in Bulgarian language) and of questionnaires. About one third of all participants answered the questionnaire. The results from this survey added up to the impressions and findings from the workshop lectures and discussions.  
According to that, Bulgarian waste management stakeholders have a sincere interest in the continued exchange and cooperation with German stakeholders in order to further improve Bulgaria’s waste management system. Also, there is a need for improved communication and networking among the Bulgarian authorities, for the creation of more transparent and comprehensible data collection and management systems, as well as the promotion of effective processes for waste collection, treatment and disposal. With respect to the political framework, a greater degree of stability and continuity as well as improved investment conditions are desirable.

The workshop results will be taken into account during future project activities, especially in the preparation of recommendations regarding the further development of Bulgaria’s waste management system and cooperation potentials with Germany.

The organisers would again like to thank the participants and speakers for their contributions. They particularly thank the Bulgarian Ministry of the Environment and the Bulgarian Association of Local Environment Experts (BAMEE) for their support in attracting speakers and promoting the workshop.

The links below provide access to the presentations given on 7 March in Sofia:

The workshop agenda can be accessed here.

The list of participants can be accessed here.


Results report

The country study was discussed at the workshop with representatives of the Bulgarian waste management sector. The results of these discussions have now been incorporated into a result report by the project partners. This results report highlights the main findings of the study as well as recommendations for the further development of the Bulgarian waste sector. In addition, the publication reiterates the potential for cooperation between Germany and Bulgaria and lists contact points for those who are striving for such cooperation.

The results report can be downloaded here: German / English / Bulgarian


News & Events

In this section of the website you will find information on upcoming events related to the waste management in Bulgaria as well as general news on the topic. The news and events site is no longer updated!