Entries by Ivona Urbanova

Sustainable cooking with Circular Slovakia

There are many different perspectives on sustainability. Clothing and shopping are among the first things consumers think of, but cooking can also be sustainable. And believe me, it's also extremely tasty.

Thanks to our active membership in the Circular Slovakia platform, we participated in the original "Networking Cooking" event in the Tesco community garden in Zlaté Piesky in Bratislava. The aim was to meet the members of the platform, but it was enriched by cooking together under the guidance of Vojto Artz, the chef of Metro Slovakia. The concept of Zero Waste Cooking is great and with the current possibilities much more feasible than you can imagine.

We supported the event with Lucart Econatural compostable paper towels and napkins made from recycled cellulose from beverage cartons.

Both the finished bruschetti and the vegetable and coconut curry disappeared very quickly, but the interesting debates continued into the late, very pleasant afternoon.

We were happy to meet partners and friends, both regular and new, for example from the Food Aid Platform Slovakia initiative; from Iveta Lacova, founder of Enviva, we tried takeaway boxes made from the Slovak patented Nonoilen® and we welcomed among the members of Circular Slovakia the company Damito as our partner and stakeholder.

Circular Slovakia is a public-private platform to promote the circular economy. It brings together business companies, government and knowledge institutions, associations and NGOs with the ambition to accelerate the transition to a greener and circular Slovakia. If you are interested in joining and participating in useful, innovative and at the same time fun and inspiring networking sessions like this cooking session, please sign up on the Circular Slovakia website.

Photo: Circular Shield and Circular Slovakia



Milk also has its international day. Do you know how the packaging is sorted and what happens to it afterwards?

It probably won't surprise you that milk also has its own international day. What may surprise you, however, is that this day has been celebrated since 1957. Why is it celebrated and what do we do with our milk containers after we drink it?

Milk, plant milk and dairy products are one of the most important and indispensable components of a complete human diet. That is why the aim of International Milk Day is to highlight their biologically important content, their extraordinary nutritional properties and to inspire people to make milk a part of their daily lives.

Milk itself is most often packaged in beverage cartons, known as tetrapacks. These are great for recycling after the milk has been drunk, but first we need to sort them properly.

In most of Slovakia, this packaging is sorted together with plastics, i.e. in a yellow container or bag. You may have a separate colour for beverage cartons in your town or village - orange. In that case, empty beverage cartons go here. Whether you sort them into yellow or orange, it is important to squeeze them properly before throwing them away. This will save you a lot of space in the waste bin.

And what happens to them afterwards? For example, we, with our partners at the Municipal Materials Circle can make toiletries such as tissues, kitchen towels or toilet paper from beverage cartons. This is how we operate in Trnava and Senec, for example. Thanks to this, we are able to recycle the collected beverage cartons and then return them as hygiene products. In this way, the municipal material circle is being closed.


Municipal Material Cycle in great company

Of course, we were also part of the first Circular Summit in Slovakia. More than two hundred participants evaluated the event extremely favourably, both in terms of the programme, invited panelists and speakers, but especially as a space for networking, meeting people and companies, exchanging experiences and mutual inspiration in the field of circular economy.

Guests included:

  • Mr Jan Jonker, Professor em. Sustainable Entrepreneurship, an expert on circular economy from the Netherlands
  • MEP Michal Wiezik (Member of the European Parliament, Ecologist, Scientist)
  • Mr William Neale (Adviser on Circular Economy and Green Growth within the Directorate-General for Environment, European Commission)
  • Pieter Van Os - Programme Manager CIRCO International (Netherlands)

The main programme also included topics such as:

  • Introduction to the circular economy - CE as a win-win-win situation for business, the environment and society
  • Financing the transition to a circular economy (financing new business models for companies, green financing criteria...)
  • Packaging, eco-design and eco-modulation
  • Greenwashing and Slovak companies

Among other things, a Memorandum of Cooperation was signed between CIRCO, Circular Slovakia and the Slovak Business Agency with the participation of the Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Gabriella Sancisi.

Together with the Slovak Environmental Agency we prepared one of the workshops for Circular Shield. We focused on green (public) procurement, i.e. how to buy products and services for an organisation with the least negative impact on the environment.
An excellent environmental policy tool is the environmental labelling of products. For example, through eco-labels (the best known is Ecolabel at European level) and also the Environmentally Suitable Product, which is the Slovak national eco-label.

We used the Municipal Materials Cycle project as one of the examples of good practice in the topic of green procurement.

At the same time, an exhibition of products and services with a focus on the circular economy took place. We were delighted that our stand was always crowded. We participated with the Municipal Materials Cycle project. Together with the project partners, Damito and the products of the Econatural range of the manufacturer Lucart - paper hygiene products made from recycled pulp from beverage cartons and unique pallets and other products made from AlPe material also from recycled tetrapack packaging.




Municipal Material Circle already in France!

We are delighted that one of the first new releases in 2024 is just that. The launch of our project in Lyon, France, took place on 16 January and the cooperation was signed by all key partners:: SYTRAD (experts in waste management and recycling), Urban'Ext (designer and manufacturer of street furniture from the industrial waste of the recycling of beverage cartons), Comodis (specialist in the distribution of hygiene and cleaning products and equipment in local authorities based in the Drôme in France), including Circular Shield and Lucart. 

Niko Kumar also took part in the press conference for us and pointed out: ,,The launch of the first MMC in France is a result of reliable and visionary partners that have committed to make MMC truly alive and effective by engaging public institutions and other organizations. This way the MMC will contribute also in reaching higher rates of collection and recycling of waste packaging in the region.”

Statistics say that two-thirds of beverage cartons in France end up in black bins, which are there, as here, for mixed municipal waste. This is a great pity, because it automatically makes it impossible to recycle them.

We are very happy that they have decided to take this step in France and thanks to this we in Slovakia are gaining a strong and stable partner with whom we can support each other and exchange know-how.




5 New Year’s resolutions for sustainability

A lot of people will tell you they don't have them, but in reality they've already bought a gym pass or set their alarm an hour earlier. There's nothing wrong with that, New Year's resolutions are natural and move us forward. Have you ever thought about including some along the lines of sustainability? You don't have to immediately recalculate your carbon footprint on your car journey to work, sometimes small steps are enough to kick-start big changes. Here are our 5 tips.

1.Sort waste properly

Start from the very basics. Don't sort your waste at all? Use the motivated start of the year to get started. In most towns and cities across the country, we sort plastics, metals and beverage cartons together into yellow containers or bags. So having little space in the kitchen is no longer an excuse.

2.Bio-waste too!

Maybe you already sort your waste, but you don't feel like sorting your kitchen waste and instead keep throwing it in the mixed municipal waste. Then you have to collect it more often and you have a lot of it. Start sorting your kitchen waste and everything will be easier.

3.Use alternative routes

It happens to all of us that we sometimes drive where we don't need to go. Be harder on yourself, take a walk or use public transport. Both the environment and your wallet will thank you.

4.Shop smart and local

We are specialists in food waste in Slovakia. The whole problem starts with shopping. Here, too, your wallet will thank you, as well as the environment, if you shop sensibly and only as much as you eat. If you add shopping at local retailers to the mix, you take it to an even higher level.

5.Clean up your surroundings

Go out for a walk, jog or meet friends. That's the first part of the resolution. The second is that you take a garbage bag and clean up your surroundings. It's not hard and, in addition to making the surroundings of your home cleaner, we guarantee you'll feel great too!

The landmark EU anti-deforestation Regulation (EUDR) enters into force

We, in our Circular Shield team, are happy to promote the forest conservation topic in the core of our project Municipal Material Cycle and therefore we are happy to inform partners and supporters about legislative news.

What is the EUDR?

On 29 June 2023, the Regulation on deforestation-free products (EUDR) entered into force. The main driver of these processes is the expansion of agricultural land that is linked to the production of commodities like soy, beef, palm oil, wood, cocoa, coffee, rubber and some of their derived products, such as leather, chocolate, tyres, or furniture. As a major economy and consumer of these commodities linked to forest degradation, the EU is partly responsible for this problem and it wants to lead the way to solving it.

The EUDR's main goal is to reduce the EU's impact on global deforestation by promoting the consumption of ‘deforestation-free’ products.

What are objectives of EUDR?

In line with the 2019 Communication on Stepping up EU Action to Protect and Restore the World’s Forests, the EU aims to improve the health of existing forests, and significantly increase sustainable, biodiverse forest coverage worldwide.

The EU has five main priorities

  1. reduce the footprint of EU consumption on land and encourage EU consumption of products from deforestation-free supply chains
  2. work in partnership with producer countries to reduce pressures on forests
  3. strengthen international cooperation to halt deforestation and forest degradation and encourage forest restoration
  4. redirect finance to support more sustainable land-use practices
  5. support the availability and quality of information on forests and commodity supply chains, the access to that information, and support research and innovation

Around 10% of the world’s forests, an area larger than the European Union, have been lost worldwide through deforestation over the past 30 years, and about 10% of forests globally are severely fragmented with little or no connectivity. While this is not a new phenomenon, the current scale and pace of destruction is alarming. This magnitude of destruction has significant social, economic and environmental impacts, locally and globally.

Deforestation is one of main drivers of climate change and biodiversity loss, and the EU contributes to it by consuming a significant share of products associated with deforestation. The EU, therefore, has the responsibility to contribute to ending it.

The EUDR prohibits placing or exporting products in/from the EU market that do not comply with its legality and sustainability requirements.

Companies must ensure that the products they source are legal and are not linked to land that has been deforested or degraded after 31 December 2020.

The new rules aim to avoid that the listed products Europeans buy, use and consume contribute to deforestation and forest degradation in the EU and globally.

Source: webs of FSC and European Commission

Municipal Material Cycle in Zelená župa in the City of Trenčín

The Region of Trenčín is green. On behalf of Municipal Material Cycle we thank the Selfgoverning Region of Trenčín for inviting us to the Open Doors Day on the 10th of October 2022. Colleagues Zlatka and Dušan from Damito s.r.o. have entertained and educated visitors about beverage cardboards recycling. Our precious helper, the mini pulper, says more than a long lecture: beverage carton is fully recyclable. Despite it, the recycling rate in Slovakia has not reached even 20%. Average of EU is more than 50%, a target is 90%. We believe that we contribute to awareness and inspire people to recycle beverage cardboards. More info on: napojovy-karton.sk


Are you as wise as a monkey?

The Wise Monkey, as the mascot of the Science Fair in Bratislava, welcomed us today to an event dedicated to the popularization of science, especially for schoolchildren and students. Our small team: Ivona from Circular Shield, Dušan from DAMITO and Damián from ENVI-PAK together prepared a great stand full of information and entertainment on the topic of waste separation. The fair was full of technology and scientific innovations, and we are glad that the children rated us among the best. The recycling of beverage cartons with the help of our new blender attracted both small and large visitors, and both children and teachers were enthusiastically involved in the production of paper.

We also like to present the Municipal Material Cycle project in Slovak schools. Children are actively and sensibly discussing the topics of environmental challenges, and we are pleased about that.



1,000 tonnes of beverage cartons recycled

In cooperation with Slovenian municipalities, which have established a Municipal Material Cycle for waste packaging and toilet paper, we have already sent more than 1,000 tons of tetrapak for processing. This is as much as the total weight of 167 adult African savannah elephants.

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

  • saved more than 13,200 trees from felling,
  • around 30 million pieces of liter tetrapak packaging have already been sent for processing.

In Slovenia, more and more municipalities are deciding to establish the Municipal Material Cycle, and many public institutes and institutions, as well as private companies, are joining the program as users of sustainable hygiene paper.

The transition to sustainable solutions is becoming more and more important - both from the point of view of our attitude towards the preservation of natural resources and care for the environment, as well as from the point of view of cost optimization, as the prices of primary raw materials and energy products are rising rapidly.

We are glad that more and more partners are joining us in Slovakia and we will see the current results on our website soon.

Municipal Material Cycle – environmental education for high schools of Bratislava Region

How to get the circular economy up and running in practice? What does sustainability mean and why is it important to use secondary sources of raw materials? How to teach the young generation about it?

Environmental education is gaining more and more popularity, but especially in importance. We, partners Circular Shield and DAMITO s.r.o., presented the circular economy project Municipal Material Cycle at a meeting of highschool headmasters of the Bratislava Self-Governing Region on 25.08.2022. We are happy to prepare an educational program for the project Municipal Material Cycle aimed at high school students and we will start it soon. We are looking forward to further cooperation with the Bratislava Region.