Green Novo mesto enthuses even abroad

date: 01. 04. 2022

Circular economy is not and should not be a mere short-term project or an idea that only lives on paper, but it is instead essential reality of everyday life for each one of us – many organizations in Novo mesto have put this principle in practice and have followed our initiative to join the European CircLocal Project. At the end of February, they presented their activities and results of participation in projects to promote sustainable lifestyles at a joint meeting. Our municipality has witnessed numerous examples of successful circular economy, many of which are an inspiration even abroad.


Peter Geršič, the Novo mesto Head of the CircLocal Project, explained at the presentation that our municipality got partners in the Netherlands, Belgium and Portugal. All were impressed by the good practices of the Novo mesto kindergartens which systematically educate children on topics like circular economy, smart management of water resources and revitalization of waste products. Meta Potočnik, the Director of the Pedenjped kindergarten, emphasized that the kindergarten produced 700 bibs from old waste towels and that 200 New Year's greeting cards were recycled and offered for sale or in exchange. They try to produce as little waste as possible and they also aim to be self-sufficient. They even made their own masks and costumes for the carnival.


Another successful story of reusing clothes was presented by Mojca Žganec Metelko from the Knof Institute which has been running the Reuse Boutique in Novo mesto for six months with the support of our municipality and Komunala Novo mesto. During this time, they collected a ton of clothes, they have recorded four thousand visitors or customers, and sold about a third of the collected products. The topic of the circular economy was also addressed through various activities at the Faculty of Information Studies in Novo mesto. Urška Fric, PhD, presented one of the most recognizable undertakings: an e-platform for the exchange of waste materials called E-Symbiosis, which has been designed to connect companies. The goal of the platform is to provide information on suppliers and seekers of waste products so that the waste of one company becomes useful material for another company.


The established network of organizations that are active in the field of circular economy was joined by our municipality as we had created a special website called "New Circle" (www.novikrog.si). The page presents the participating organizations and their projects, as well as news about current events in the field of the circular economy. Numerous different organizations participate in the network: educational institutions (Pedenjped Kindergarten, Faculty of Information Studies, Secondary School for Electricians and Technical Grammar School), from non-governmental organizations (Novo mesto Association for the Development of Voluntary Work, Knof Institute, Intercer Institute, Circularshield), and from the economy (Komunala Novo mesto, Competence Center Network for the transition to a circular economy sector, which operates within the Chamber of Commerce of Dolenjska and Bela krajina, Development Center Novo mesto). The network is open to all stakeholders who work to achieve a sustainable lifestyle and want to protect the environment. The CircLocal Project has already brought the result - the handbook titled "Circular Economy: From Theory to Practice" which provides concrete advice to individuals, companies and public institutions in finding ways how to most effectively contribute to the transition from linear to circular economy.


The focus of the European CircLocal Project is exchanging good practices in the field of circular public procurement. By signing a contract with a selected bidder in September 2021, our municipality became the first municipality in Slovenia to successfully complete a joint green and circular public procurement, which enabled a number of public institutions in Novo mesto to purchase hygienic paper made from locally collected cardboard packaging of milk, juices and other (e.g. KEMSO - Tetra Pak packaging waste). Doing so, we have set an example for public institutions to engage more boldly in similar public procurement and to enrich their offer with the products and services from circular economy programmes which present a lower environmental impact and that enable useful recycling of locally collected packaging waste.