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Saturday, September 30, 2023

    Sorina Bănică: “Challenge, change and adaptation are the words that define the year 2020”

    The extremely difficult period that the entire industry in Romania is going through required the taking of some major decisions regarding the development of the activity. To see how a responsibility transfer organization went through this year, I spoke with Sorina Bănică, the marketing and communication director of FEPRA International, a company that operates in the area of packaging waste management services by taking over the responsibility of producers and importers who put packaging and packaging waste on the Romanian market, in order to fulfill the legal obligations of recycling and recovery. ● ecological

    Sorina Bănică, the marketing and communication director of the FEPRA International company: Unfortunately, no one foresaw this pandemic, so challenge, change and adaptation are the most suitable words that would define the year 2020. I started the year working on a reporting program and traceability that targeted both our customers and collecting partners, where data records are made in the blockchain system. We focused on the area of automation and digitization and developed the FEPRA 2.0 application, where we record every stage of packaging until it becomes waste: from its placement on the market, to collection and recycling. Through this application we also manage to provide information in a completely transparent way on the degree of achievement of the targets, both on an individual level and as a global objective, on the average rates paid for the recovery of packaging waste or details on the financial situation of FEPRA.

    ecologic: You are also known for the education and information campaigns you have run over the last few years. Has the pandemic affected these actions in any way?

    Sorina Bănică: Yes, we have completely changed our campaign organization and implementation strategy. If in the past years we used to carry out information and awareness campaigns for citizens mainly offline, going to big festivals like Untold, ArtMania or Awake, but also to other leisure events in open spaces, this year we migrated online . We did not want to give up the effort to inform citizens about the selective collection of packaging waste, considering that especially in this period there is a great need for them to receive such information.

    When we started the campaigns in the online environment, we did not know how people would receive this type of actions or if they would be effective. But what followed far exceeded our expectations. For example, in August we organized the action #BrizaReciclării, in which we wanted to draw citizens’ attention to the disaster caused by plastic thrown randomly into the waters of the Black Sea. And our messages sent on social media channels reached 500,000 citizens.

    Another campaign that was well received by the public was #ResponsabilitatePentruSănătate, where together with our customers, whom we thank, we managed to collect sanitary or food products to donate either to hospitals supporting COVID or to people from vulnerable categories.

    Also, what we really cared about and did not want to be intimidated by the pandemic were the campaigns carried out in partnership with the Intercommunity Development Associations. In such a difficult year, we managed to collaborate with many ADIs and UATs who implemented with our support regional or local interactive campaigns regarding separate collection, online through the dissemination of educational materials, and offline by providing yellow bags necessary for the collection of packaging waste .

    I would like to mention that also this year we managed to carry out, through INSCOP Research, the largest survey related to the perception of Romanians and their way of reporting on topics related to environmental protection, separate collection and packaging. The results of the study will be made public early next year.

    ecologic: Taking into account the pandemic context, has your client portfolio changed?

    Sorina Bănică: No, and this makes us happy and gives us confidence. Our goals have been to provide customers with security and predictability, and this has helped us develop sustainable partnerships that cannot be shaken even by a crisis like the one we are going through. What mattered was the fact that year after year we managed to fulfill our obligations to reach the contractually assumed targets, and the decision of the Environment Fund Administration informing us that we did not have to pay penalties for the year 2019 meant yet another confirmation of the fact that FEPRA offers security and stability.

    ecologic: What are the projections for 2021?

    Sorina Bănică: We are working on several projects that we will launch in the first part of next year. The first will be the implementation of a separate collection solution for packaging waste for citizens, in partnership with a well-known retailer from our client portfolio. We estimate that the launch will take place sometime in early February and we will come back then with all the necessary information.

    We are still working on a pilot project in Bucharest, through which we aim to involve citizens as much as possible to actively participate in the packaging waste collection process, especially in this period when we all spend a lot of time in our own homes, we end up generating large amounts of waste, which in the absence of infrastructure can reach the landfill.

    We believe that in the field of recycling and reuse we need as many innovative initiatives as possible, such as the circular economy platform that we are developing together with the startup R-Create and which will bring solutions to reduce the impact on the environment for both companies and individuals who want to adopt a responsible behavior and reduce their carbon footprint. We will also continue investing in the packaging waste collection and recycling area to create a complex ecosystem, actively contributing to the transition to a circular economy in Romania. I would like to once again thank everyone who has been with us this year and assure them that we will continue to operate at the same high standards as before.●



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