During October 19 and 20 an International Zero Waste meeting took place in Cluj Napoca, Romania. This was the first event to promote Zero Waste in the country and it succeeded in bringing together national and local stakeholders including activists, waste experts and operators, ecodesign specialists, city planners and architects, public authorities, policy-makers with the participation of international observers.
The meeting set p solid grounds for collaboration between all the main stakeholders in order to create long term sustainable change. In this context, the waste industry and policy-makers took note of the importance of moving towards a closed-loop circular economy.
Representatives of the Green Building Council showed very practical examples of how to reuse construction materials in renovations or new buildings, especially the importance of using toxic-free materials thinking about the deconstruction process.
Local organisations showed how it is possible to have a zero waste catering with products sourced from the region following also the km0and sustainable approach.
Also, other enterpreneurial activities were presented. For instance a new Romanian start-up company called trezy presented its reusable nappies locally produced and chemical and plastic-free which will save more than one ton landfills per new-born in the region.
During the meeting it was highlighted the fact that despite the low recycling rates, Romania, and especially the region of Cluj-Napoca with only 700gr of waste generate per person per day, is more sustainable than many northern countries that might recycle more in percentage but generate more than twice as much waste per person. Therefore, the challenge for Central and Eastern Europe is about increasing reuse, composting and recycling as much as it is keeping -and reducing!- the low levels of waste generation.
As a result of the meeting some Zero Waste pilot projects will be proposed for Romania and it was established good colaboration between the network of Transition Towns, Permaculture, Green Building as well as with the University of Cluj-Napoca and some pioneer companies.
The presentations of the meeting can be found here.