Circular economy brings opportunities and challenges

Awareness that the exploitation of natural resources is limited has encouraged us to seek for environmental and sustainable way of using them. As well, the direction of EU is clear – it has committed itself to becoming the world’s first climate-neutral bloc by 2050. And transition to the circular economy will contribute a lot towards realization of European Green Deal.

Also SRIP – Circular economy (The Strategic Research and Innovation Partnership – Networks for the transition into circular economy in Slovenia) works in this direction and aims to connect Slovenian business subjects, educational and research institutions (RRI), non-governmental organisations and other interested parties, in collaboration with the state, into new value chains according to the economic principles of closed material flows.

SRIP – Circular economy, a cluster was established on the basis of the Slovenian Smart Specialisation, S4 in November 2016.

As said Dr. Dragica Marinič, SRIP – Circular economy Coordinator: »SRIP-Circular economy and Slovenia have a goal to be a circular economy hub that will set the reference standard for top professionals and foreign investors through its knowledge, R&D infrastructure, breakthrough technologies and services, as well as its regulatory support environment.«

Circular economy encourages innovations

Besides offering great opportunities to the companies a transition into circular economy brings also many challenges, among them also how to keep different resources in the production and consumption cycle as long as possible

It encourages innovations and as results there are more sustainable and innovative products that can save money as well as provide higher quality of life.

Connecting for maximising the effect

SRIP – Circular economy, managed by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Štajerska region of Slovenia, is connecting key stakeholders for the transition to the circular economy with the aim to maximise the effect on shaping economic conditions which will enable faster growth, development, and competitiveness throughout the  all Slovenian regions . Today they are connecting 75 members.  

Learn from best practices

This year’s 40th PODIM edition will pay attention also to circular economy by sharing best practices and exchanging experience with top speakers and experts.

4 members of SRIP – Circular economy from Slovenia will share their best practices at PODIM DX:

    • Skaza company,
    • IOS Institute for Environmental protection and Sensors,
    • ICP – Pulp and Paper Institute,
    • National Institute of Chemistry,
  • and besides them also NatureWorks LLC Italy.

The Skaza company cooperates with the principles of sustainable development. 85 % of their products are already recycled, from bio-base or plant origin materials. They offer solutions created for the next generation of plastic materials and are focused on the research and development of new materials as well as committed to renewable sources. They introduce materials on a bio-base and from recycled plastics and using Industry 4.0. technology. At PODIM you will have opportunity to learn from CEO Bart Stegeman who said:

»A production environment like SKAZA is like a 3D model – complex. Making this complexity visible is one of my main competences. I enjoy doing things differently and with this exceed expectations.«.

NatureWorks LLC Italy is a world-leading biopolymers supplier and innovator with its Ingeo portfolio of naturally advanced materials made from renewable, abundant feedstocks with performance and economics that compete with oil-based intermediates, plastics, and fibers.

Their transformational technology creates a whole new raw material with a unique mix of performance attributes not found in traditional plastics, fibers & chemicals. At PODIM you will have opportunity to meet Mariagiovanna Vetere, the Global Public Affairs Director at NatureWorks.

IOS, Institute for Environmental protection and Sensors is an innovative company from Slovenia. They are implementing R&D and advising on the area of the circular economy as well as marketing new engineering concepts e.g. Water4Future / Wate(R)euse, waste, marketing of sensors in the field of food quality, environment (FreshSens), security, personal protection (OptiSens). They also research and develop a wide range of different materials. At PODIM Prof. Dr. Aleksandra Lobnik, the CEO at IOS and a professor at the University of Maribor, will share their best practices with you.

ICP – Pulp and Paper Institute, Slovenia is a leading development center for fiber materials, with its knowledge, experience and advanced technologies contributes to the acquisition, exploration and use of natural and renewable sources. With development engineering, consulting, comprehensive testing and industrial simulation it helps its clients from various industries to optimize technological processes, develop new products, improve materials and introduce innovative biomaterials, thus ensuring their market competitiveness and sustainable development. At PODIM Janja Juhant Grkman, Dr. Tea Kapun and Barbara Šumiga will share with you their best practices.

National Institute of Chemistry, Slovenia is basic and applied research aimed at areas of long-term importance for both Slovenia and the world: materials research, life sciences research, biotechnology, chemical engineering, structural and theoretical chemistry, analytical chemistry and environmental protection, whereby the Institute is aligned with the needs of domestic and foreign pharmaceutical, chemical, automotive, and nano-biotechnology industries. The Institute’s work is also in tune with the priorities of the EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation, which places the circular economy at the forefront. At PODIM you will have opportunity to listen to Prof. Dr. Robert Dominko, who is leading a group of researchers at the National Institute of Chemistry, particular on network of research & testing centers on advanced materials for batteries.

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