There is only one European capital city that has committed to going zero-waste, and it’s probably not any of the cities you would guess.
Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia in Central Europe, started its waste transition almost 20 years ago. At that time, without any recycling infrastructure in place, all of the city’s waste went directly to landfill. But then city administrators decided a change was in order.
The transition began in 2002 when separate collections of paper, glass and packaging was introduced to roadside container stands. Just four years later, the city began collecting biodegradable waste (think food and garden organics) at the household level.
The biggest and perhaps most influential change came in 2013, when the city decided to cut scheduled collections of residual waste by half. In doing so, city residents were forced to manage their waste and separate their rubbish more efficiently.
These changes have reaped massive benefits, with Ljubljana now Europe’s leading capital city in recycling at 68% of all generated waste. Additionally, the city’s landfills now receive almost 80% less waste than they did in 2008. The city has committed to reaching a 75% recycling rate by 2025.
Infrastructure development has been key to the city’s waste transformation, with the Regional Centre for Waste Managemen that opened in 2015 now servicing almost a quarter of all Slovenia while processing 95% of residual waste into recyclable materials and solid fuel. It’s not all about recycling though, with the city’s waste administrators putting a special emphasis on avoidance and reuse in accordance with the waste hierarchy.
- If you are looking for resources on how to reduce waste in your life, check out everyday activist and Planet Ark ambassador Anita Vandyke’s incredible range of tips to live a Zero Waste Life.
- For information on what and how to recycle in your local area, visit RecyclingNearYou.
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Positive Environment News has been compiled using publicly available information. Planet Ark does not take responsibility for the accuracy of the original information and encourages readers to check the references before using this information for their own purposes.