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European Week for Waste Reduction 2011

Friday, November 18, 2011, Special release
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In 2010 Slovenian citizen in awerage generated 422 kg of municipal waste (64 % of these waste were landfilled on municipal landfill site); according to Eurostat data for 2009 EU-27 citizen generated in awerage 512 kg of municipal waste (37 % of these waste were landfilled on municipal landfill site).

European Week for Waste Reduction

For the second time Slovenia joins the European Week for Waste Reduction, which will this year take place between 19 and 27 November. It is a three-year project started by the European Commission in 2009 with purpose to encourage waste reduction, to emphasise the importance of waste prevention and to inform consumers about simple measures to reduce the amount of waste. In addition to separate waste collection, in the EU prevention of waste generation, which is in waste management hierarchy in the first place, is being increasingly emphasised. 

Large amounts of waste

In 2010, people in Slovenia generated around 864,000 tons of municipal waste, which is about 422 kg of municipal waste per person; about 0.5% or 3,500 tons was hazardous municipal waste, which is about 1.7 kg per person per year.

Municipal waste generated by households and in some service activities (trade, hotels and restaurants, education, etc.) is not the only problem; in terms of the amount and presence of hazardous substances, a major problem are wastes generated in production and service activities. In Slovenia around 5.4 million tons of waste (including stocks from previous years 5.7 million tons) was generated in 2010 in these activities, of which almost two thirds in production and about a third in services. Almost 98,000 tons or 1.8% of the total amount of waste generated in production and services was hazardous waste; around 82% of hazardous waste was generated in production activities and 18% in service activities.

Chart 1: Quantities of waste (including stocks from previous years) by the source of production, Slovenia

Source: SORS

For comparison, the latest available Eurostat data for 2008 show that in the EU-27 about 2.62 billion tons of waste was generated, of which about 9.9% or 259 million tons of municipal waste, 85% of which by households and the rest 15 % in production and service activities. The share of hazardous waste in the total amount of waste was around 3.7%.

Structure of waste reflects consumerism

A detailed structure of all waste generated in 2010 in Slovenia shows that they represented:

  • almost 57% (3.5 million tons) mineral, solidified and stabilised wastes (including mostly soil excavation, construction and demolition waste and other mineral waste) and incineration waste, including ashes, slags and boiler dust; 
  • 16% (986,000 tons) mostly recycling wastes (paper, plastic, metal, wood, glass, textile and rubber) and to a lesser extent discarded equipment (discarded vehicles, electrical and electronic equipment, parts of machinery and equipment);
  • 12% household and similar wastes (mostly mixed municipal waste); 
  • 8% chemical wastes, health care and biological wastes; 
  • 5% animal and vegetal wastes appropriate for aerobic and anaerobic treatment; 
  • 2% common sludges.

Structure of household waste

In 2010 Slovenian households generated about 701,000 tons of total waste generated, mostly mixed municipal waste (67%), followed by packaging (9%), biodegradable waste from gardens and parks (6%), bulky waste (5%), paper and cardboard (3%), construction waste (3%), wood (2%), biodegradable kitchen waste (1%) and other waste (4%).

The amount and structure of household waste reflects a consumer-driven society: increase in consumption expenditure (emphasis on goods, which sooner or later become waste) leads to more waste.

Chart 2: Household consumption expenditure and household waste, Slovenia

Source: SORS

As a curiosity, an American study shows that only 1% of the products last longer than six months and the remaining 99% become waste within six months of purchase.

Waste management

In Slovenia more than 5.9 million tons of waste was recovered in 2010 (including wastes from temporary storage) and around 1.6 million tons were disposed.
As regards waste recovery, 84% of waste was recycled (including composting), 5% was incinerated for energy and 11% was included in other waste recovery procedures. 
As regards waste disposal, 72% of waste was disposed by landfilling, 2% was disposed by incineration and 26% was included in other waste disposal procedures.

Too much municipal waste ends up on landfill sites 

The share of recovered waste is significant mainly due to recovery or recycling (including composting) of waste from production and service activities, but waste management in the field of municipal waste still remains a problem.

In Slovenia around 80% of municipal waste is generated by households. More than two thirds of municipal waste are mixed municipal waste. Treatment of this waste is expensive; in addition, in a large part of Slovenia the technology for material and energy recovery of mixed municipal waste is not yet available. This waste is thus still mostly disposed at landfill sites. Separately collected fractions (paper, glass, plastic, metal, wood, textile and rubber) do not have such a large impact on the environment since they are included in further processes of recovery and recycling.

In Slovenia more than 825,000 tons of waste was landfilled in 2010:

  • around 76% of waste was disposed at landfill sites for non-hazardous municipal waste,
  • just over 23% of waste was disposed at industrial landfill sites and 
  • less than 1% of waste was disposed at landfill sites for hazardous waste.

Of 623,000 tons of waste disposed at 43 municipal landfill sites (of which 18 are in the process of being closed) about 81% was mixed municipal waste, around 8% other municipal waste (from gardens and parks, separately collected fractions, bulky waste, waste from street cleaning, etc.) and over 11% other non-hazardous waste (construction waste, wastewater treatment and other waste from waste management facilities).

According to Eurostat data, in 2009 the average annual amount of municipal waste disposed at landfill sites for non-hazardous waste in the EU-27 was 191 kg per person, which is about 37% of the total amount of municipal waste generated in that year (512 kg per person). In Slovenia of the 422 kg of municipal waste per person generated in 2010, about 64% (272 kg per person) was disposed at municipal landfill sites.

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