The story of Vrhnika - Zero Waste Cities


The story of Vrhnika


Without a tradition of recycling and no national targets for separate collection, the municipality of Vrhnika in Slovenia (18,000 inhabitants) reached 76.17 % separate collection of municipal solid waste (MSW) showing how a small area can go from landfilling everything to recycling most of its MSW in 20 years. In 2004 the Municipality started implementing the first separate collection model in Slovenia in 5 steps:

  • Setting up the necessary logistics and legislative framework for the new separate collection of recyclable waste through a mix of door-to-door and eco-islands collection system
  • Introducing a Pay-As-You-Throw (PAYT) scheme
  • Engaging the community with activities in schools and partnerships with local businesses 
  • Implementing a strong awareness-raising communication strategy to change the public’s perception of waste and encourage separate collection 

As a result, the municipality moved from 201 Kg/capita of residual waste in 2004, to 80 Kg/capita in 2013. Moreover, in 2014 the waste management company, KPV, opened a reuse centre called DEPO on its collection centre site, to upcycle waste into desirable goods and recover items that would otherwise be sent to landfills.

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