Water purifying container developed in the Zero Waste Tisza River cleanup program

The Tisza source area has also been reached by the experts of the awareness-raising Zero Waste Tisza River cleanup program. The initiative, launched by the Tisza Plastic Cup, the General Directorate of Water Management (OVF) and Coca-Cola Hungary, has removed more than 100 tons of waste from the river since 2019 and has also introduced a number of technological innovations to help clean up the Tisza. In the past year, they have done much to improve waste collection and treatment in Subcarpathia and have also developed a water purifying container to make clean water more accessible to the local population, which has grown in number due to the conflicts in the neighboring country. Another volunteer action took place on 16 September, in connection with the following World Cleanup Day.

Experts of the Zero Waste Tisza River program have been working together for 3 years to protect the ecology of the Tisza and its tributaries and to clean up the river. Over the past year, Plastic Cup's main aim has been to help and accelerate the development of waste management in Subcarpathia, so that pollution could be stopped at the source. Although the conflicts in the neighboring country has made the work much more difficult, encouraging results have been achieved in improving waste collection and management practices in the region. New selective waste collection points have been set up in Kőrösmező, which, together with a communication and educational campaign, has helped to further increase the amount of waste diverted from the river: at the Tisza source, 10 tons less of waste has been discharged into the water over the past year. And of course, the essence of the Plastic Cup was not lost: a river cleanup was also held in the summer - highlighted by the removal of a car wreck from the river.

Clean water and sanitation for Ukrainian refugees

The conflicts in Ukraine and the connected refugee crisis make it difficult for some people in Subscarpathia to access clean drinking water, sanitation and washing facilities on a daily basis.

Developed by Plastic Cup experts and external specialists, the mobile water purifying container will provide relevant help. The mobile water point has several functions - its water purifier makes the water of the Tisza drinkable, and it also provides washing and showering facilities as well as a tea kitchen, a community point for the users. The container also functions as a waste collection and recycling centre where residents can drop off their waste.

The container represents the most important aim of Plastic Cup: providing clean water, preventing waste pollution and building a community. The development aims to provide access to safe water in regions where it is currently not available to all.

Attila Dávid Molnár co-founder of Plastic Cup

As part of the Zero Waste Tisza River program, The Coca-Cola Foundation - the global foundation of The Coca-Cola Company - has donated a total of USD 400,000 to the Termé Association, operating Plastic Cup since 2019. The program is not about short-term waste collection, the work we are doing together is about the future with all the GPS based tracking of waste, showing how plastic can be recycled and playing our part in tackling the plastic waste problem, which is a top priority of the whole company.

Sonia Dimogli General Manager of Coca-Cola Hungary

Volunteers on the river

The program has relied heavily on volunteer work from the very start: Plastic Cup has so far mobilized more than 100 people, who have donated thousands of working hours to clean up the Tisza and its tributaries. Coca-Cola Hungary also joined the program several times with more than 200 enthusiastic volunteers who cleaned the Tisza and its surroundings of more than 8 tons of waste alltogether in Kisköre, Dinnyéshát, Tiszaszalka and most recently in Tiszaderzs on 16th September.

Technological developments

Besides waste collection, the Zero Waste Tisza River program has also produced many other results: more efficient waste mapping is supported by GPS-based tracking from last year which enables Plastic Cup experts to detect the path and extent of riverine plastic.

Another important result is that Plastic Cup's first River Rescue Centre was set up last year in the vicinity of the Kisköre hydropower dam, with the help of the water management authority, where waste is carefully sorted and prepared for recycling. Riverine plastic is used as a secondary raw material, in Plastic Kayak for example – a watercraft made exclusively from plastic bottles collected from the Tisza.

The participants of the Zero Waste Tisza River program will continue to work to ensure that riverine waste is recovered, sorted and recycled in innovative ways, both at source and at the point of control, while helping develop the necessary elements of modern waste management in the areas left behind.