E-cycling in Slovenia
18. October 2017 – In Slovenia a new virus of E-cycling has emerged. A more detailed inquiry revealed that the one responsible for the spread of the virus is company ZEOS, d.o.o. with their new LIFE project E-waste management (from year 2016) and slogan “E-cycle” that infected fellow citizens with the virus of E- cycling (recycling e-waste and waste batteries).
Since then the virus has spread “dangerously” throughout Slovenia.
ZEOS, d.o.o. is a national non-profit scheme for the management of waste electrical and electronic equipment, waste batteries and waste grave candles, founded in 2005. Annually they carry out over 10.000 individual collections of e-waste and waste batteries and they transmit them to the collection providers for the processing. They exceeded the legal objective for collecting waste electrical and electronic equipment in 2016 by 24.4%, which was 41% of the collected quantities compared to the average of the quantities of e-equipment placed on the Republic of Slovenia market in the past three years.
They implement numerous awareness-raising actions and projects. Two most successful projects are co-financed by the European Commission and the Ministry of the Environment and Spatial Planning of the Republic of Slovenia.
A. LIFE+ Slovenian WEEE Campaign (2011 - 2013)
The first project was intended to raise awareness among consumers and other target public about the proper handling of e-waste and waste batteries. As part of the project, a multimedia vehicle E-transformer, that represents the separation and reuse of electrical and electronic waste in an original and interesting way, has been developed. The vehicle has visited 210 schools and 89 municipalities in Slovenia during project only and continues its visitation path today as well. In that way they covered at least 65% housholds in Slovenia
They placed 80 special terminals with an awareness-raising application in schools, organized 1 international conference and 24 collecting actions, received 1000 products from the creative competition and collected 1080 tons of e-waste and waste batteries. During the project 862 media posts were achieved.
This project was selected by the EU’s LIFE Foundation as the first in Slovenia to be the BEST OF THE BEST project.
B. LIFE E-Waste Management (2016-2020)
With the second project (with slogan E-Cycle) they are establishing a consumer- friendly and household-friendly network of e-waste and waste batteries collection in order to facilitate correct discarding process for such waste.
E-waste and waste batteries contain heavy metals that are very dangerous to the environment and health, and on the other hand they represent raw materials and we can produce new products from them, thus preserving our natural resources.
One of the project goals is to change the consumers habits and achieve the maximum efficiency in the separation of this type of waste. They will ensure this through three main actions of the project:
- Street bins for collecting small household appliances and waste batteries at several waste bin areas throughout the country,
- Green corners in larger shopping malls that sell e-equipment,
- Mobile collection for collecting and separating e-waste and waste batteries in rural areas throughout Slovenia.
They also organise several supporting activities in order to introduce the project to citizens and inform them why proper disposal of such waste is important for the environment.
1.Main project actions
a) Street bins
Until today together with local partners of the project (municipalities and public waste management companies) they launched 569 street bins at waste bin areas throughout the country in 162 municipalities in cooperation with 46 local public waste management services.
They especially promote E-cycling small household appliances, because they too often end up in mixed municipal waste. The local bins placements were attended by representatives of local waste management service providers and representatives of the municipalities in which the bins were installed. By signing the documents they welcomed street bins and then accompanied them by a symbolic e-waste give away.
This project action is accompanied by workshops for youths.
The importance of proper handling of e-waste and waste batteries was beeing discussed at cca. 40 workshops with students and local youth centers looking for ways to reduce the impact of such waste on the environment.
The participants are acquainted with all groups of e-waste and waste batteries, with the important activities of the project and why it is important that e-waste and waste batteries are E-cycled. They discuss about the locations of street bins in their municipalities and some other ways to handle e-equipment properly.
In the first half of year 2017, the seed analysis showed good results of e-waste collected in street bins, as there were 96.4% of small appliances, 2% of batteries and only 1.6% of other waste in them. The company collects approximately 137 kg of waste appliances and batteries per bin every 3 months (at the moment).
b) Green corners
ZEOS set up 59 green corners in some of the major technical shops. They are multi-compartment containers for the delivery of small appliances, mobile phones, batteries and energy saving lamps. They are equipped with marketing materials for informing consumers about the importance of proper handling of such waste. Project mascot called ECI and photo booth (for making selfies) ensure that consumers learn all the details about the green corners - their locations, what they could all offer to them and what happens to the collected waste.
Similar green corners abroad are much more utilized - even up to 50% of all collected e-waste and waste batteries accumulate in certain parts of Europe (e.g. in Scandinavia) in this way. Since the company is aware that the delivery of e-waste and waste batteries in technical shops is merely the decision of each individual consumer, they believe that such behavior needs to be motivated.
With the motivation model they are accelerating this collection network that is environmentally friendly and cost-effective. Consumers have the opportunity to submit e-waste to the green corners throughout the year in order to raise funds for one of socially responsible foundations. For each kilogram of delivered e-waste and waste batteries in the green corners ZEOS donates 1 cent to the foundation. Their goal is to collect at least 1 million kg of e-waste and waste batteries throughout the year, which represents a 10.000 euro donation.
c) Mobile collection
Due to high level of rural population in Slovenia, they decided also to mobilize the waste collection. This population is far remoted from the cities (where bins and corners are), which makes it difficult for these households to separate e-waste.
Mobile collection will be followed by several promotion events for announcing the dates of Saturday gatherings in their local environment (countryside). Then, aproxximately 30 Saturdays per year, they will visit selected rural municipalities and additionally organize the collection of e-waste on this day.