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EU and Czechia go circular and plastic-free

An important part of MIWA's activities is awareness raising about waste prevention. This October we organized a panel discussion about Circular economy in the Czech Senate.

The discussion was entitled "Circular economy in European legislation and Czech practice" and it was co-organized by the Czech Senate and MIWA.

As one of the panelists, Vladimir Koci said that circular economy is a mysterious thing for many of us - "we talk about it a lot, but nobody has seen it yet."

Therefore, let's make things clear from the start:

Circular economy is basically a regenerative system in which the waste is used as a resource, opposed to the current linear system take-make-dispose. As such, circular economy designs out waste and pollution and keeps products and materials in use. (Source: Ellen MacArthur Foundation)

The panelists:

- Ing. Jaromír Manhart, director of the Waste department, Ministry of Environment

- Ing. Pavlína Kulhánková,  director of the Industrial ecology department, Ministry of industry and trade

- Mgr. Marek Havrda, M.A., M.P.A., Ph.D., impact strategy advisor, MIWA

- Ing. Vladimír Kočí, PhD., dean of the Faculty of environment protection technology, University of Chemistry and technology

- Vojtěch Vosecký, MSc., Institute of Circular Economy

- Illektra Kouloumpi, Circle Economy, Netherlands


So what did the panelists have to say?

Overall, the discussion felt rather optimistic, as we are (slowly but surely) shifting from theory to practice, which was confirmed by Marek Havrda, who said that we are finally trying to bring the concept of the waste management pyramid into reality. Nevertheless, we are still on the very beginning of the transition of the economies from linear to circular and it is now up to the countries to set both quantitative and qualitative objectives and create incentives to encourage circular solutions.

The international guest, Illektra Kouloumpi from Dutch organisation Circle Economy, presented examples of some existing circular concepts from different countries - e.g.reverse vending system for PET bottles in Norway or the plastic-free aisle in the Dutch supermarket Ekoplaza.

All these efforts that will eventually lead to a waste-free production and consumption are of course great, but we need to bear in mind that before implementation, we have to evaluate their impact on the environment. This was pointed out several times during the debate as well as the term "LCA" (Life Cycle Assesment). LCA is a method of environmental impact evaluation of a product in all life stages (production, use, disposal). The thing is that if we take all these stages into account, the overall impact might not be as positive, as it may seem in the beginning.

More about the legislation

You can see the whole debate here: 

The panel debate and the following discussion with the audience were both fruitful and we got to know many interesting insights. Therefore, we are motivated to continue our educational activities and we are looking forward to the next event!

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