New Webinar Provides Excellent Overview of Zero Waste Practices in Europe

Date: 17 Dec 2020 | posted in: waste - zero waste, Waste to Wealth | 0 Facebooktwitterredditmail

A webinar held December 8 and hosted by Zero Waste Europe serves as an excellent introduction to Zero Waste practices in European cities.

Jack McQuibban, Cities Programme Coordinator for Zero Waste Europe, hosted the extraordinary webinar with experts and activists from leading Zero Waste cities in Europe. The presentations focused on the activities in model municipal recycling programs.

The webinar was recorded and is available here

Called “Does Zero Waste Make Economic Sense for Municipalities?”, featured presenters on the webinar were:

Joze Gregoric, Waste Collection Specialist, JP Voka Snaga, Ljubljana.

Marijana Novak, Data Strategist, Circle Economy, Amsterdam.

Twan van Leeuwen, Energy & Environment consultant, PNO Consultants.

Joze Gregoric described how Ljubljana introduced a 7-bin source separation system that has raised the recycling rate to 69% from 2004-2019. The city has a 75% goal by 2025. The cost of overall solid waste management in this period dropped by 15%. Future plans call for an emphasis on local food production and consumption, and increasing green jobs through paper making worker cooperative. The city has expressed “the power and responsibility to move forward toward Zero Waste.”

Marijana Novak, Circle Economy, based in Amsterdam, traced the flows of Zero Waste products through the economy including efficient routing, mapping the type and effectiveness of various bin designs, and types of trucks to improve efficiency of operations. She noted that ‘data driven’ strategies inform interventions in program design and implementation under a five-year planning regimen.

Vienna initiated a repair program with an incentive program for businesses to spend up to 50 Euros per repair. In Maribor, Slovenia, the efficiency of an improved invoicing system has allowed for savings that are reinvested in Zero Waste. 

Among other programs monitor for jobs in waste management and repair, as well as jobs that enable Zero Waste activities. 

The data are the basis for decision-making, shared innovations that are applicable to all cities. They are “tools for transformative actions” that can be readily shared. 

Twan van Leeuwen, PNO Consultants, highlighted the financial strategies for source separation collection for mapping and quantifying electronic scrap. Data will help cities consider transitioning from single stream to multiple separations without an increase in net costs. 

The patchwork of Extended Producer Responsibility directives from the European Union grafted onto national laws and institutions have differing impacts in different cities with diverse landfill bans, landfill and incineration surcharges. Some EPR programs for packaging are run by industry, others provide funding for municipal programs. 

The three speakers’ presentations can be seen here on the Zero Waste Cities website.


Photo by USGS on Unsplash

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Neil Seldman

Neil Seldman, Ph.D, directs the Waste to Wealth Initiative. He specializes in helping cities and businesses recover increasing amounts of materials from the waste stream and add value to the local economy through new processing and manufacturing facilities. He is a co-founder of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance.