Entries by Špela Gutnik

The financial analysis of the Ljubljana MMC showed that the programme is also cost-effective

The financial analysis of the Ljubljana Municipal Material Cycle programme showed that the cost of purchase of hygiene paper by primary schools that did not decide to join the common circular model was on average 32% higher than that of the primary schools included in the circular model, while in kindergartens this difference was 19%, also in favour of the circular model.

Since 2016, Ljubljana has been implementing the circular programme called the Ljubljana Municipal Material Cycle (MMC), which mainly involves public companies and institutions. By including as many users of hygiene paper from their own material cycle, the circular culture in the local community is strengthened, with a transition from waste management to resource management; environmental and social effects and – as evidenced by the most recent analysis – financial savings are maximised as well.

Institutions and companies participating in the MMC programme are using recycled hygiene paper on their premises that is made from beverage cartons collected locally. The majority of this packaging is high-quality recyclable cardboard. All hygienic paper products from the MMC programme have the Ecolabel environmental certificate, are dermatologically tested and are certified as being safe for contact with food.

Among other public users, at the end of 2018, 22 kindergartens and primary schools in Ljubljana joined the joint green public procurement of the Municipality of Ljubljana for recycled hygiene paper and opted for the circular economy model – Municipal material cycle of beverage cartons and hygiene paper.

A financial analysis of the effects of the circular model in primary schools and kindergartens was carried out after three full (school) years of using recycled hygiene paper from own municipal material cycle. These institutions were chosen for two reasons:

  • as part of the above-mentioned joint public procurement, they represent the dominant share of users;
  • a control group could be determined for them only – primary schools and kindergartens which were not included in the circular programme during the entire measurement period.

Proven financial efficiency of the circular model

The analysis thus covered a total of 34 public institutions in the period from 1 July 2019 to 30 June 2022 (three school years); in addition to the aforementioned primary schools and kindergartens included in the circular model, there were also 12 primary schools and kindergartens that were not included in the circular model for the entire period. On average, the analysed institutions comprised a total of 22,580 persons annually.

The key finding from the analysis is that the circular model is also cost-effective and that the decision of public kindergartens and primary schools in Ljubljana to join the circular economy programme was reasonable also from the financial point of view.

The comparisons showed that the cost of purchase of hygiene paper by primary schools that did not decide to join the common circular model was on average 32% higher than that of the primary schools included in the circular model, while in kindergartens this difference was 19%, also in favour of the circular model.

 

Chart 1: index of the movement of annual hygiene paper costs per user in primary schools: comparison between those included in the circular model and others

Chart 2: index of the movement of annual hygiene paper costs per user in kindergartens: comparison between those included in the circular model and others

The charts show the movements of cost expressed as an index with an indication of the linear trend. The baseline of comparison (index 1.00) was the cost per user per school year in the first school year, for those who joined the circular model, both for kindergartens and primary schools.

The methodology applied

The cost-effectiveness of the introduction of the circular model in primary schools and kindergartens was carried out based on a comparison of the movement of the cost of purchasing hygiene paper between:

  • primary schools and kindergartens which were included in the circular programme for the entire measurement period and purchased hygiene paper as part of the joint green public procurement of the City of Ljubljana (“circular” category)

and

  • primary schools and kindergartens which were not included in the circular programme for the entire measurement period and purchased hygiene paper independently of the said green public procurement (“others” category).

The analysis takes into account the costs of hygiene paper and paper towels and wipers, which account for more than 95% of the total cost of hygiene paper in public institutions.

Impact of the Covid-19 epidemic

The measurement period covers the period before, during and after the implementation of measures due to the Covid-19 epidemic. During this period, primary schools were closed for a long time and kindergartens for a short time.

The trend of the movement of hygiene paper purchase costs is very similar in both categories (circular and linear). The costs of hygiene paper are lower due to the period in which primary schools and kindergartens were closed (mostly the second and partly also the fourth quarter of 2020).

Nevertheless, throughout the period from 1 July 2019 to 30 June 2022, an upward trend is notable in the costs of hygiene paper in both categories, which is initially most likely the result of greater need for hygiene paper products due to significantly changed habits and increased attention to personal hygiene during the Covid-19 epidemic. The increase in costs can be partly attributed also to the increase in the prices of hygiene paper products, especially in the past year.

The average annual rise in costs per user in primary schools with a circular model is 20.3% and 20.7% in others. The average annual rise in costs per user in kindergartens with a circular model is 13.7% and 17.4% in others.

Environmental effects of the Ljubljana Municipal Material Cycle programme

The MMC programme is designed as a circular business model, with a great emphasis on achieving not only financial but also positive environmental and social effects. Since its establishment (2016), we have measured the following in the framework of the MMC Ljubljana project:

  • 11,767 saved trees (47,068 m2 of forest)
  • 904 tons of used beverage cartons processed (2,500 m3)
  • 735,113 kg reduction of CO2 emissions

(published data applicable on 31 October 2022).

Detailed environmental effects of the MMC programme in Slovenia are published on the website https://municipal-material-cycle.org/.

A more detailed overview of the MMC Ljubljana project is available at https://municipal-material-cycle.org/ljubljana.

Summary

The financial analysis of the effects on the users of the Ljubljana MMC circular model programme was made with the aim of verifying the cost-effectiveness of using hygienic paper from own material cycle. Primary schools and kindergartens in Ljubljana are included in the analysis, as they represent the predominant share of users, and it was possible to design a control group for them.

The key finding from the analysis is that the programme is cost-effective and that the decision of public institutions in the City of Ljubljana to join the circular economy programme was good.

Lower hygiene paper costs were seen in the period both before and during the implementation of the Covid-19 measures as well as after they no longer applied. During this time, the consumption of hygiene paper grew significantly owing to stricter hygiene measures in primary schools and kindergartens.

The cost of hygiene paper purchased by primary schools which did not decide to join the common circular model was on average 32% higher than that of the primary schools included in the circular model, while in kindergartens this difference was 19% – in favour of the circular model.

Based on the analysis carried out over the past three years, it is estimated that public institutions can expect the circular model to remain a more cost-effective solution for users in the future. At the same time, the programme also ensures that important environmental and social effects are achieved.  

 

The financial effects analysis was carried out by an independent company, a court expert in the field of economics.

The analysis was commissioned by Circular Shield d.o.o., which manages the Circular Economy Programme – Municipal Material Cycle of Used Beverage Cartons and Recycled Hygiene Paper in Slovenia. This programme is already being implemented in more than 15 municipalities in Slovenia, starting with Novo mesto in 2016.

Private or public institutions and companies operating in municipal areas where the municipal material cycle is already established can join the programme individually or as a group.

 

For more detailed information, write to: info@circularshield.org

We perform Circular Economy workshops in Primary Schools in Ljubljana

Circular Shield team provides free Circular Economy workshops for 7th grade primary schools students. At these workshops we discuss topics as environmental protection, responsible waste management and existing good Circular Economy practices in Ljubljana. As part of the workshop we also present the process of making paper from used beverage cartons.

 

Workshops were created as part of the Slovenian Municipal Material Cycle project. It connects experts and the local community to tackle the problem of secondary source materials, which is becoming a pressing problem in modern urban environments. Since 2017, Ljubljana Municipality has been implementing a circular economy program in which used beverage cartons are reprocessed into hygienic paper, which is returned to the local community as a new product. Many municipal public institutions and companies in the local community use this paper from their own material loop.

 

Workshops in primary schools are organized by PAPLAB team that operates within the municipal waste management company Voka Snaga and Circular Shield company, who is in charge of managing MMC stakeholders.

 

 

New MMC market – France

The Municipal Material Cycle of beverage cartons and hygiene paper, which operates successfully in Slovenia from 2016, will soon come to life also in France. The launch and developmenet of activities in French market will be taken care by Denyze Agostinho, who joined Circular Shield team in September. Denyze Agostinho is a defender of environmental preservation and supporter of eco-responsible actions and also highly experienced business developer, who was actively involved in several international markets – in public and in private sector.

As business developer, Denyze Agostinho will be responsible for the establishment and development of Municipal Material Cycle programas as well as the acquisition of supporters and members in the participating municipalities. One of the most important roles of this circular economy program is to raise awareness of the municipal government, institutions, and local public, that they can encourage more sustainable development of their community and thus positively impact the development of the local community, the economy and the environment in the long term.

The municipal material cycle of beverage cartons and hygiene paper packaging can be set up in any municipality or city in the EU that has a municipal waste separation system in place. Therefore, we plan to expand the MMC area also to other interested EU countries.

Over 1,000 tons of UBC packaging waste recycled

In cooperation with Slovenian municipalities that implemented the MMC program, more than 1,000 tons of UBC packaging have been sent to recycling. That's as much as the total weighs of 167 adult African elephants.

We are extremely proud of this achievement because by this we have:

  • saved more than 13,200 trees
  • sent over 29 million pieces of liter packaging of UBC for processing

In Slovenia the number of municipalities that are deciding to set up the MMC program is rising, as well as the number of public and private institutions that are starting with the use of hygiene paper from local material loop.

The transition to sustainable solutions is becoming increasingly important both in terms of our attitude to the conservation of natural resources, as well as from the point of view of cost optimization since the prices of raw materials and energy are rising sharply.

 

Brezovica and Medvode Municipalities are successfully implementing new circular economy solutions

The municipalities of Brezovica and Medvode proved that transition to a circular economy, care for health and clean environment are their main priorities. Municipalities have joined the project Municipal Material Cycle Ljubljana, thru which they are encouraging local public institutions and companies to use hygiene paper, made from locally collected UBC packaging.

 

The project brings number of positive environmental impacts and financial savings to the local community. It is not necessary to cut down trees to produce hygienic paper anymore, as the local community supplies raw materials for recycled products from the existing packaging waste management system. In doing so, all participants in the cycle contribute to the conservation of natural resources and increase natural capital, reduce waste incineration, and consequently reduce CO2 emissions and increase the share of recovered packaging waste.

 

First institutions that decided to join this circular economy project within Municipality of Brezovica were kindergartens Brezovica and primary school Brezovica; while in Municipality of Medvode  Sotočje Institute and Municipal offices are pioneer MMC members. By joining the project, they all confirmed their commitment to the protection of the local environment. 

 

The founding partners of the MMC Ljubljana project are Municipality of Ljubljana, JP Voka Snaga and EPR companies Slopak and Dinos.

July 28th, 2022 – Earth Overshoot Day

Today is Global Earth Overshoot Day. This means that, according to the Calculations of the Global Footprint Network, we have already used all natural resources as the Earth is able to produce or restore within a year. Unfortunately, the Slovenian Overshoot Day was recorded already on April 18th.

The ecological debt we have been creating for more than half a century has led to a major biodiversity loss, an increase in CO2 emissions and a reduced food and energy security. The consequences are visible – we are facing with extremely high temperatures, frequent droughts and fires and other natural disasters.

We have a great challenge ahead of us – we must adapt and learn to live with available resources. Solutions are in innovation in energy management, the development of technologies with a lower carbon footprint and more efficient use of natural materials. Operating according to the principles of circular economy, to which business users are also encouraged by Circular Shield, represents an important step towards solving this global problem.

Slovenia inspires Slovakia on the road to a circular economy

We are pleased to have helped to organize the Slovak-Slovenian meeting of representatives of organisations dedicated to sustainable waste management and transition to circular economy.

Representatives of NATUR-PACK, INCIEN and City of Senec as the first partner of the Municipal Material Circle project in Slovakia visited the Regional Waste Management Centre (RCERO Ljubljana), one of the most modern plants of this kind in the EU.

The municipal waste management system in Ljubljana and, for comparison, in the Slovak cities of Bratislava and Senec, then EPR systems (producer responsibility organisations), the direction of Ljubljana and Slovenia towards sustainability were discussed.

In support of the principles of the circular economy, Ljubljana is involved in the Municipal Material Cycle project in Slovenia.

By recycling the separately collected beverage cartons, it thus provides a secondary source of pulp for hygiene paper products used in municipal institutions.

Kids in Senec help to give second life to beverage cardboards

Pupils from the Primary School on Tajovský Street in Senec had fun and learned something new at an environmental lecture from Daphne – Institute of Applied Ecology.

The programme focuses on the importance and proper recycling of beverage cartons – also called "tetrapaks".

Did you know that beverage cartons need to be emptied, squeezed and stored in yellow containers after use? Thanks to recycling, they will then become new useful paper products.

For schools in Senec, the program is free of charge thanks to cooperation with OZV NATUR-PACK.

The program is inspired by the Municipal Material Cycle project in Senec. We are delighted that it was cheerful and creative.

 

 

 

 

Circular Shield presented among pioneers of reuse at Zero waste conference

At the annual Zero waste conference of municipalities, we studied trends in resource and waste management.

 

We shared the experience about challenges we face in practice at the round table together with the Knof Institute and ZEOS.

 

In Slovenia, there are already 16 municipalities in the Zero waste network. Together they reduced 18,600 tons of waste, thus saving € 4,200,000 in costs and reduced 10,000 tons of CO2 emissions.

 

Photography: Boštjan Selinšek

Recycling of used beverage cartons at Orehek Elementary School

The celebration of Earth day was held at the Orehek Elementary School in May. Children, teachers and local suppliers organized several workshops and presentations of good practice of reuse.

 

In cooperation with local waste management company Komunala Kranj we presented how to produce paper from used beverage cartons. The primary school and kindergarten Orehek are the first users of recycled hygienic paper from their local Municipal material cycle.

 

At the end of the celebration, the mayor Matjaž Rakovec and the headmaster Drago Zalar planted a walnut tree on the school jard – as a symbol of a greener future.