Opportunities and challenges of zero waste

Why Ljubljana?

Zero Waste Europe consists of nineteen national organizations, 302 local communities and various other organizations, companies and individuals from all over Europe. It represents the voice of almost seven million of its inhabitants, including six municipalities from Slovenia.

Zero Waste Europe organizes annual meetings and Zero Waste Towns meetings, each time in a different country. In 2014, the first Slovenian municipalities adopted Zero Waste plans and commitments. In 2015 two case studies – Vrhnika and Ljubljana – were published. Zero Waste Europe therefore decided to organize the 2016 events in Slovenia. Ekologi brez meja happily took over the organization.

Ljubljana – European Green Capital 2016 is the first European capital to be part of the Zero Waste Europe network with a Zero Waste Strategy. Ljubljana is also the European capital with the largest share of separately collected waste (65 % in 2015). In the last ten years, the quantity of separately collected waste has increased almost ten-fold. This significant improvement is the result of upgrading infrastructure, intensive communication and cooperation with citizens.

Ljubljana has therefore a lot to celebrate this year, and we invite you to join us. Both events are international, and free of fees.

Who should attend?

Different stakeholders involved in municipal waste prevention and management: municipalities, waste management companies, recycling companies, representatives of ministries, social and other enterprises, public institutions, tourist service providers, development agencies and local action groups, NGOs, individuals and activists.

How will the events look like?

This year we’ll connect two events: Zero Waste Towns meeting and Zero Waste Annual General meeting. On Thursday the focus will be on waste prevention, including discussions of best cases, looking at ways to reduce waste and the benefits of such steps for local communities. Three panels will provide an opportunity to learn and discuss best practices on the use of cloth diapers in kindergartens and maternity hospitals, waste prevention in tourism and the minimising of food waste. ZW towns will also be a topic of Friday afternoon, when the opportunities and challenges of turning the Zero Waste strategies and plans into practice will be discussed. Friday afternoon the expert work of the Zero Waste organisations and some of their successful projects will be presented. We will begin with presenting Ljubljana’s achievements as the first European green capital on its way to become a zero waste society. The day will continue with discussions about the impact of waste management on global climate change, how to guarantee the reuse of electrical and electronic equipment and the unique problem of recycling plastic waste generated by the paper industry.

There will also be a special guest joining us on Friday afternoon – dr. Paul Connet, who is one of the most prominent advocates of the Zero Waste concept on the global level.