On the Path to Zero Waste

That was the title of a roundtable discussion last night at Ljubljana’s Kino Šiška following the second of two screenings of Trashed, a 2012 documentary that examines and exposes the risks waste poses to the environment and food chain through air, land and sea pollution. (More on the film later.) Among the panel participants was Joan Marc Simon, the executive director of Zero Waste Europe (website / Facebook / Twitter) and a consultant on the film.

While the discussion among the panel members focused primarily on waste management and reduction in Slovenia in Slovene, Simon spoke more generally, sharing examples and insights from his experiences with the organization. He discussed the path and process towards achieving zero waste in a community; the importance of working with local authorities, policy makers and businesses; and ensuring that the process remains democratic. Audio of his comments, totaling about nine minutes, is below.

Among the key takeaways for me was that Slovenia is planning to construct two more waste incinerators, one in the capital Ljubljana and another in Maribor, the country’s second largest city. One already exists in Celje, Slovenia’s third biggest city. On incineration, Simon said, “Incineration is a source of corruption. I’ve seen in my experience that it can break democracy in countries.”

Other panel members included Dr. Andrej Kržan, from the National Institute of Chemistry; Janko Kramžar, Director of Snaga, Ljubljana’s municipal waste management company; and Uroš Macerl, president of the NGO Eko Krog (Eco Circle). Some Members of Parliament were contacted more than two months ago and asked to participate but none accepted the invitation, said panel moderator and TV journalist Eva Kobe.

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