We hosted the UNDP Study trip on circular economy from Serbia
We hosted the Slovenian part of the Study trip on circular economy, organized by UNDP through its project Platform for the Circular Economy in Serbia. The 12-member delegation was led by Aleksandra Vucinic, the driving force of the circular economy movement in Serbia and was primarily interested in waste management systems. Circular Change organized several field trips, presentations and meetings, which left our guests impressed and full of new ideas.
Read the full report below:
The first visit was to the Regional centre for waste management Ljubljana (RCERO Ljubljana), where the group was met by MS Vanja Fabjan from the PR department. She presented Ljubljana’s waste management strategy from its beginnings to the present day and JP VoKa Snaga’s activities, thus covering topics such as separate collection bins, communication with citizens, systems of control and optimization and activities to support the circular economy.
Due to the group’s interest in treating biological waste, Ms Fabjan dedicated a part of her presentation and discussion time to present the approaches currently in use at the facility and in the city of Ljubljana. She also covered various problems of separate waste collection, such as wrongly separated waste, and strategies to cope with them.
Following the presentation, the group was given a guided tour of RCERO Ljubljana, which treats over a third of all mixed municipal waste from Slovenia, landfilling only about 1.8% of the waste, and producing 2.800 tons of compost annually. The tour covered various sites at the facility, from the treatment of larger fractions to the composting reactor.
The second visit in Ljubljana was to the Reuse Center Ljubljana (CPU Ljubljana), which sells repaired and reusable objects, recovered from mixed municipal waste, or brought by citizens. The group was able to see the circular economy in action, and get familiar with the process of treating and displaying various objects, from clothing to electronics.
After lunch, the delegation was invited to the Town Hall of Ljubljana, where they were greeted by Nataša Jazbinšek Seršen and Zala Strojin Božič from the Department of Environmental protection at the Municipality of Ljubljana. They presented Ljubljana's path towards becoming European Green Capital 2016, covering success in implementing the Municipal sustainability strategy, such as closing the city centre for vehicles and rebuilding the banks of the Ljubljanica river. Finally, specific projects addressing the circular economy were shown and discussed, such as APPLAUSE, the EU-funded project, which introduces circular ways of using invasive plant species to produce products useful to the Municipality.
The delegation arrived to Maribor in the afternoon of September 23rd and continued with the program on the next day when it was greeted by Igor Kos from Wcycle Institute Maribor and Mr Branko Kosi, Head of R&D at the public company Snaga Maribor, who explained in which points is the waste collection and management system different in Maribor compared to Ljubljana, and gave a detailed technical presentation of the state-of-the-art sorting plant. The delegation was then given a tour of the facility and was able to observe all stages of the sorting process, ask questions and take pictures.
The second stop in Maribor was at the headquarters of Institute Wcycle Maribor, where Mr. Kos presented their own story on convincing the city authorities to begin strategically including the circular economy in their plans. Furthermore, he presented the innovative approach behind the founding of the institute and detailed the plans for a comprehensive circular economy strategy, which is based on collaborative project between city-owned companies. The lively discussion afterwards was centred on how to transfer a similar model to Serbian cities.
The final stop in Maribor was at the Štajerska Chamber of Commerce (Štajerska gospodarska zbornica), where Nina Meglič presented the Smart Specialization approach, which introduces several Strategic Research and Innovation Partnerships (SRIPs), one of them dedicated solely to circular economy and led by the Chamber. As an innovative case of a public-private partnership, SRIP: Networks for the Circular Economy joins various companies, faculties and other players, and includes projects on recycling and waste management, which were shortly presented to the delegation.
The group was welcome at the office for waste management and resource sustainability of the Steiermark regional government in the centre of Graz by dr. Ingird Winter, head of the office and her colleagues. She gave a detailed presentation on the history of waste management in the Steiermark region from its humble beginnings to today's successes in separate collection and recycling.
After lunch, the delegation drove to the Steiermark countryside to Halbernrain, where they visited a landfill and waste treatment plant operated by FCC. Robert Rothschedl, Head of logistics and production explained their business model and the approaches to managing landfills of various stages of operation and how they treat and compost biological waste. The tour of the landfill and facility, which has been operating since the 1970s offered the delegation an outlook in the approaches used and how they have developed since the beginnings.
After saying goodbye, the delegation continued its journey to Szeged, Hungary, their last stop before returning to Belgrade.