17 Nov 2022

Three new Zero Waste Certified Cities in Slovenia

Slovenia  becomes the European country with the most Zero Waste Certified Municipalities

The municipalities of Vrhnika, Log-Dragomer and Borovnica obtained the international certificate “Zero waste municipality”. They received a rating of three stars out of five. The cities were awarded by Mission Zero Academy (MiZA) and supported by Zero Waste Europe. Ekologi brez meja implemented the European certificate in Slovenia. It intends to encourage and accelerate the transition of European cities to a zero waste society and the implementation of a circular economy at the local level. The mentioned municipalities joined Bled and Gorja. Slovenia has thus become the European country with the most certified municipalities at the moment.

The municipalities of Vrhnika, Log-Dragomer and Borovnica are the founders of waste management company JKP Vrhnika, which is responsible for the collection of municipal waste. Separate collection has been taking place since the 1990s, because even then, they recognized the need to preserve natural resources. Joining the European zero waste network in 2014 was an almost self-evident move. It further deepened the awareness of the importance of reducing the amount of waste. Next to that it intensified the desire to change consumer patterns and business processes in the spirit of zero waste.

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External experts from Croatia, Montenegro and Portugal carried out the audit last week. It showed that all three municipalities made progress in implementing activities to reduce waste. That’s why they received three stars. This means that the municipalities are already handling resources much better than the requirements of the legislation. At the same time they are encouraging local actors to adopt their own zero waste measures. With the support of Ecologists Without Borders, these were further upgraded in the updated zero waste strategy for the period 2021 – 2030.

In all three municipalities, they produce one less residual waste per inhabitant (63 kg) compared to the Slovenian average (133,6 kg). Meanwhile the share of separately collected fractions is 9% better (83%) and the impurities are much lower (data from 2021). Good results are achieved with a comprehensive door-to-door collection system complemented by eco islands and economic incentives to reduce waste and recycle more, e.g. campaign “KOKO”. Citizens have the option of taking over a free composter for individual or community composting. The use of washable diapers in all units of the Vrhnika kindergarten brings health, financial and environmental benefits.

In the municipality of Borovnica, we are most proud of the fact that the vast majority of citizens actively support the “zero waste” strategy by striving to reuse end-of-life items, reducing the amount of household waste and disposing of it appropriately. Without their active support, the acquisition of the Zero Waste City certificate, which we are very proud of, would not have been possible.

Andrej Klemenc, Senior Advisor for Development and Development Projects at Municipality of Borovnica

Since 2014, the Depo project implemented the encouragement of reuse and the extension of the life of objects. In addition to the second-hand goods shop, there is a bicycle repair shop within this project. They process waste materials into products with greater value, such as bags from used sails and pens from work clothes companies.

Community involvement through education and cooperation is essential to the success of a zero waste strategy. In the JKP Vrhnika area, every child visits the waste management company at least three times during their schooling and thus gets to know the topic in more detail. In addition to the children, domestic and foreign delegations regularly visit in order to see good practices.

On behalf of Mission Zero Academy, I sincerely congratulate the municipalities of Vrhnika, Log-Dragomer and Borovnica for confirming their good work in the field of waste management by receiving the Zero Waste City Certificate! This is proof that zero waste is a long-term effort that pays off. It also maintains optimal waste management at all levels of the municipality.

Marko Košak, Coordinator of Waste Management Programme at Zelena akcija / Zero Waste Croatia

We are happy that Slovenian pioneers received this challenging international confirmation of their work and vision, including suggestions for future improvements.

Jaka Kranjc, mentor and Secretary General at Ekologi brez meja (Zero Waste Slovenia)
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