Stories: THE GREEN CAPITAL'S RACE FOR ZERO WASTE
Ljubljana is the first European capital to commit itself to zero waste goal. Fifteen years ago, almost all waste ended up in its landfill, now the city recycles 68%, high above the EU’s avarage, of its waste and plans to reach 75% by 2025. It is implementing all steps of zero waste strategy – prevention, recycling and reuse. The city now produces only 115 kg of residual waste per capita annually!
When the city applied to be the Green Capital of Europe its weakness was the lack of an incineration plant. But they turned it around and used it to their advantage. The city decided to go zero waste.
The success came through an effective waste separation strategy beginning as early as in 2002 with separate bins for biodegradable waste, and continuing with a big step in 2013 when every doorstep in the city received separate bins for packaging and paper waste while the residual waste collection was cut in half. Today every doorstep has separate bins for biodegradables, paper, packaging and residual waste.
Adding to door to door collection of waste, the Regional Center for Waste Management (RCERO Ljubjana), the most modern mechanical biological treatment plant in Europe, further processes residual waste and recycles 95% of it. Today, less than 5% of the city’s residual waste ends up in a landfill.
In the historical city center, Ljubljana’s waste management company Voka Snaga installed 67 units of underground containers, and there is a waste bin with seperate bags for paper, packaging and biodegradable waste on every corner. At public events, Voka Snaga provides seperate bins and staff to help people with proper disposal.
The city is on its way to a strong circular economy, building a strong network of companies and institutions that commited themselves to it and nurturing a popular culture of reuse and recycling. The REUSE center is increasingly popular. The city companies and institutions use sanitary paper recycled from juice and milk packaging. Packaging-free stores are popping up.
Full article on The Guardian website: https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2019/may/23/zero-recycling-to-zero-waste-how-ljubljana-rethought-its-rubbish