Report from International Conference “Green transformation and Circular Economy

International conference “Green transformation and circular economy”, which took place on 21 of June 2018 in the regional museum in Maribor, hosted over 90 participants from all sorts of occupations and specialties interested in sustainable development and circular economy.

After “Circular economy package” was ratified and passed by all three European institutions – European Council, Commission and the Parliament- the last being European Council on 22 of May 2018, there is now a clear path laid down for Reuse and recycle milestones in EU states and on the local level. The new legislation obliges EU member
states to reach a 55% municipal recycling rate by 2025, 60% by 2030 and 65% by 2035. Making the distinction between re-use, preparing for re-use and supporting access for reuse operators and recycling process at the end of the chain, opens a space for collaboration between bigger/multinational producers and social economy, who’s actors are locally integrated, supporting local and regional communities and are often in the forefront of sustainable development.

With combining “Circular economy package” on waste reduction, reuse and recycle standards by EU institutions, together with economy that needs to become: “restorative and regenerative by design” we are opening a path to potentially zero waste society. The conference focused on 3 specific sectors: textile, food and plastic, each in its way important for circular economy progress and everyday life on local end global level. Each round table dug deeper, by introducing “the big picture” and presenting some of the best practice examples in each of the chosen sectors of  products /resources important as building blocks of green transformation.

The first round table “Clothes and textile recycle and reuse” focused on cloths and textile reuse and recycle aspect in circular economy. It presented issues connected to collection, sorting and redistribution of used clothing and textiles together with contemporary technical approaches to recycle fabrics and threads for new use. It opened a question of economic sustainability of recycling process in comparison to reuse and development cooperation.

Second round table titled “Reducing Wasted Food at home and in business” focused on managing food sustainably and reducing waste, to help businesses and consumers save money, provide a bridge in our communities for those who do not have enough to eat, and conserve resources for future generations. Issues discussed were from uneaten
leftovers to spoiled produce, wasted food at home and in economy, food donations and compositing.

Plastic recycling is the process of recovering scrap or waste plastic and reprocessing the material into useful products. Since the vast majority of plastic is non-biodegradable, recycling is a part of global efforts to reduce plastic in the waste stream, especially the approximately eight million metric tonnes of waste plastic that enter the Earth’s ocean every year.

The third round table “Plastic Reuse and recycle?” dealt with everyday problems as how to separate waste when they contain different materials as plastic and paper combined and how to make EU self-sustainable in the process of plastics recycling.

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