Every little effort today is a big step for tomorrow

From my early childhood, I always wanted to live more sustainable. I always prefer to take a bicycle or going on foot if possible. For over a decade, I am vegetarian and I am trying to buy as much local food as possible. Of course, I prefer the vegetables from my father’s garden. That’s why I would like to produce my own organic and bio food in the future. Like most people of my age, I have no experience and no time. So, with the help of many Erasmus students and partners, I have started developing The smart greenhouse houzGREENhouse, a fully automated greenhouse with robotic hands, controlled with artificial intelligence, fed with organic fertilizers and grown with natural sunlight. I applied to a business idea competition Podjetna Primorska 2017 and I won as the best idea in category Navigator.

In the last couple of months, I have been working to reduce the amount of waste I produce in my home. I am buying cleaning powders and soap with the refill option. I came to the shop with my own bottle that I refill. Every Saturday, my dear and me, we buy vegetables in the marketplace and we always use our cotton bags. I do not go to the store if I do not have my bags with me. We currently live in a 60 square-meter apartment, where we warm ourselves to the inverter air condition, which is quite an energy demanding appliance. For the sake of a more sustainable life, I started to develop a tiny house on wheels called houzEKO. The aim of the project is to make the most sustainable home possible. It won’t need any fundation as it will be movable and it will use local resources (rainwater, solar cells, heating from the toilet). This tiny house will be also a new product in my portfolio.

When I decided to start my business, the goal was clear from the beginning. Establish a company that will be socially responsible and based on a circular economy.

David Kodarin

What is a circular economy?

A circular economy is an economic social system in which all waste is used as a further raw material that is recycled, repaired or recycled. Waste is minimized or even eliminated. This creates a complete circulation of matter as nature is used to. In short, all the substances must conclude a closed circle. So far, companies have operated on the principle of a linear economy: they have created goods, the buyer used it and then turned it off as waste that was accumulated in the landfill. Such systems used excessive amounts of energy. Several institution started to put pressure on non-ecological manufactures to change their manufacturing process into a more ecological and sustainable one. In order to extend the life of the existing object as long as possible, it is repaired, reused, renewed or repeatedly recycled. The circular economy design template is pushing companies to no longer sell products but rent them as a service. You will want a new TV in you will not buy it, but hire it. The producer will still be the owner of the television. When something goes wrong with the TV, the manufacturer will make sure that it will be repaired or replaced. With this kind of thinking, all products will be better and will have a much longer life. Biological materials, such as food, organic waste, wood, textile fibers, and even human waste, are also very important in recycling. In the field of sustainable sanitation a Slovenian company KAKIS is leading in the field of processing human waste. Organic waste must be effectively returned to the environment as a compost or fertilizer so that the soil obtains the nutrients for the plants. Similarly, these waste can be processed into biomass. The cornerstone of the circular economy is also the efficient use of energy, possibly from renewable sources and the abandonment of chemicals.

The concept of a circular economy was created as a pressure of a growing population and the reckless use of natural resources in relation to the environmental load. Waste is no longer waste but tomorrow’s raw material.
Circular economy in Slovenia

I very much like the phrase expressed by Miss Mag. Ladeja Godina Košir, the initiator of the platform Circular change: “Pro-activeness in a systematic, strategic approach to promoting the introduction of the principles of a circular economy into Slovenian societies, public administration, local environments and changing consumer behavior patterns offers many opportunities for development.” Personally, I am very optimistic and I think that Slovenia can do a lot in this area and even become a leader in this segment. We have one of the most beautiful nature in the world and we have people who are hard working. It is only necessary to spit in your hands and to work very ambitiously.

The circular economy is an arrangement that strives for the most efficient use of various resources so that we keep them as long as possible in the production and consumption cycle. It is best described by the terms collection, maintenance, extended in reuse, processing, recovery, and recycling. It is based on the principles of the logic of the action of nature, where nothing is lost and has all its purposes. It starts with the thoughtful design of products and services and business models and continues with their economic use, taking into account the entire life cycle of the resources used

said the former Commissioner for the Environment, Janez Potočnik explained to the participants at the conference at the Mons Hotel in Ljubljana.

Potočnik stressed that the change in the circular economy is inevitable. He added that a sustainable economic model should be validated from an environmental, economic and social point of view. The European Union must not be afraid of change and must strive towards innovation, investment and a better quality of life.

hayrack – a typical Slovenian structure to dry hay or grass

I wanted to point out the ancient “circular” habits, such as the hayrack. Meadow produced large quantities of grass annually. The grass was dried on a wooden hay, which was adequately protected by the roof, which allowed it a long lifetime. Dried grass or hay was used in the livestock barn. The hay used together with animal manure was composted and used as a fertilizer. So the same grass ended again in the earth. This is called a complete natural cycle, as the raw material is repeatedly used and processed.

European Commission

In December 2015, the European Commission adopted an ambitious fresh outlook on the circular economy. It is aimed at assisting European businesses and consumers, moving towards a more circular economy and the use of sustainable resources. The aim is to create better benefits for the environment and for the economy. In other words, the best possible is to exploit all raw materials, products and waste, and increase energy savings and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The package of measures for the transition requires urgent action from the members of the European Union. Countries, regions and cities need to adopt strategies and measures to learn or accelerate circular economy models in their own environment, thus increasing the impact of sustainable development. The package provides funding from the European Stratum and Investment Funds. Funds of € 650 million from the Horizon 2020 program and € 5.5 billion from the Structural Funds for waste management and investments in the circular economy at the national level.  

Infrastructure, energy and natural resources

Trends show that over the next 30 to 40 years, cities will increase, and the need for infrastructure will double in comparison to today’s. So almost half of the infrastructure in 2050 is not yet built. In this area, it is a great opportunity to establish new principles in conserving and reducing energy, increasing efficiency and reducing waste. KAKIS develops a dry toilet that will turn human waste into biomass for heating. Sewage will be significantly reduced, the need for drinking water will be minimized and the need for heating energy will be very low.

“Circular economy is inevitable”

Changes bring us a safer future. As we love our mother, so we must take care of our planet. Both are just one and both return love and warmth to us. Let’s be respectful of nature and its surroundings. Let’s keep up with the times and let’s not be afraid of the changes.