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Network of Zero Waste Towns Meeting in Ljubljana

Ljubljana Zero Waste Town Network Conference

The 2016 European Green Capital and the first zero-waste European capital Ljubljana hosted municipal representatives, entrepreneurs, zero-waste activists and experts as part of the Zero Waste Towns Conference Network on Thursday 21st and Friday 22nd.

At the opening of the meeting, Erika Oblak of Ekologi Brez Meja introduced the history of Ljubljana and the implementation of the city's zero waste policy. From the early struggle against the construction of the incinerator to the subsequent referendum, it was overwhelmingly opposed in 1999. By only a few years later, the neighboring town of Vrhnika had already led the way with a recovery rate of as high as 50% as early as 2003.

When another incineration plan was proposed in 2012, Ekologi Brez Meja, with the support of Zero Waste Europe, successfully responded to the plan with a zero waste alternative, which made Ljubljana a waste management success story today.

Followed by Joan Marc Simon, director of "Zero Waste Europe", said that it is amazing that the city has made such significant progress in just 2 ½ years.

The first discussion group focused on reusable diapers, Elizabeta Zust from a cloth-only nursery in Vhrnika and Hilary Vick from Nappy Ever After, a diaper laundry service from London. The team also includes Joan Crous from the Eta Beta/Lavanda cooperative in Bologna, Italy, where 1,100 to 1,800 diapers are washed and shipped every day.

The group discussed the environmental and social benefits of reusable diapers, as well as the technical and commercial difficulties and issues surrounding the issue. This provides participants with informative, inspiring and technical discussions.

Tourism is the focus of the next panel discussion. Nina Kosin from the Tourism Office of Ljubljana opened, focusing on the importance of the Green Capital Award to the city, the introduction of reusable pottery in the Christmas market, and a deposit plan.

Antonio Esposito talked about Conka Park, the first zero-trash hotel in Sorrento, Italy. Through a series of measures to promote zero waste in hotels, they have achieved great success and received positive responses from hotel guests.

The topic of food waste was discussed in the afternoon of the first day. Food waste entrepreneur Joris Depouillon from the Food Waste Entrepreneur Network, Laura Chatel from Zero Waste France, and Albin Keuc from Food Waste Reduction have participated in the Slovenia Initiative, which provides 16 DIY tools to reduce food waste.

Participants emphasized the importance of distinguishing between "food waste" and "food excess", most of which are still suitable for human consumption, which is the highest level of "food waste".

The next day was kicked off by Rossano Ercolini, Chairman of "Zero Waste Europe" from Capannori, Italy. Before listening to the speeches by the mayor of Ljubljana Zoran Janković and the Minister of Environment and Spatial Planning Irena Majcen of Slovenia, they expressed their insights on Ljubljana's success as a European environmental leader.

The keynote speech that day came from Paul Connett, an internationally renowned zero waste activist, who has more than 30 years of experience in dealing with incineration and waste issues. Dr. Connett used his time to talk about zero waste as a stepping stone to sustainable development. His speech presented an inspiring vision of citizen action to create a world without waste, a sustainable future and a better planet.

Afterwards, they discussed local-level policies with the Croatian waste management company Prelog from Prekom and Tihana Jelacic from neighboring cities. They have recently adopted a zero waste strategy and are working hard to implement zero waste policies and practices. Stojan Jakin from Vrhnika, Slovenia’s first zero-waste town, said that although towns like Vrhnika reduce the amount of residual waste year by year, although the recovery rate has increased slightly, ranking towns based on the recovery rate may be misleading. .

Capanori’s deputy mayor Matteo Francesconi talked about how Capanori was initially launched on the road to zero waste through the anti-incineration struggle led by Rosano Ercolini, and now there is one The overall waste treatment method, a system that adapts to the local reality, is therefore integrated into the local people at all levels.

afternoon. Mitja Praznik from Snaga, a waste management company in Ljubljana, detailed how Ljubljana became the best performing capital in Europe’s waste management sector

Subsequently, Mariel Vilella, Deputy Director of Zero Waste Europe, explained the huge impact of waste management on climate change and how current accounting methods can play down this impact. Emphasize that in terms of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, it is time for us to harvest this "low-hanging fruit".

Mariel’s complete presentation is available online, and the visual slides provide a strong reason for “zero waste” as “climate action!”. The most recent report of Zero Waste Europe, "The Potential Contribution of Waste Management to a Low-Carbon Economy" details the path towards a low-carbon economy through zero waste. Mariel made a strong and compelling case that cities are at the forefront of getting rid of carbon-intensive waste management practices, and cities are in a unique position to implement effective and efficient policies.

Later, David Franquesa took the stage to demonstrate eReuse, an open source reuse platform for e-waste, which can be used to greatly extend the service life of electronic products and ensure the traceability of items from reuse to recycling.

The last speaker at the conference came from the ECO-PULPLAST project, which cooperates with the paper industry in northern Italy to recycle pulper waste from paper recycling to make "eco-sustainable plastic pallets." The project has received strong support from major players in the paper recycling industry, has become a major alternative to waste incineration, and provides a way to reduce costs.The conference incorporates a wide range of expertise and experience. Inspiring and informative speeches from politicians, industry representatives, social entrepreneurs, activists and innovators. The focus on local zero waste actions suggests many specific actions that different municipalities can take on the path of following zero waste.

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