BIOCIRCULARCITIES with a first Living Lab in Pazardzhik, Bulgaria

The first Local Living Lab of Biocircularcities in city of Pazardzhik was held on the 31st of March, online.

There were nineteen participants – mainly representatives from public administrations of Pazardzhik region, environmental organizations, and research and representatives of business. Some of the project partners also joined the event and presented its current achievements and project objectives.

The event started with a presentation of Biocircularcities project by the project manager, Mrs. Rosaria Chifari, from Foundation ENT. Main accent was put on characteristics of the project, the scope, she spoke about the pilot regions and the local events that are intended to take place.

Mr. Georgi Simeonov, representative of the Bulgarian partner REAP and Mrs. Marga Lopez from Foundation ENT both gave the presentation for the Bulgarian pilot region: Biowaste in the region of Pazardzhik.  Mr. Simeonov spoke about the current systems for management of biowaste from two waste flows: from municipal waste and residues coming from agriculture and forestry sector, afterwards Mrs. Lopez presented an overview of relevant legislation and good practices regarding the circular bioeconomy at an EU level, while Mr. Simeonov continued with legislative highlights at national and local level as well as some good practices of biowaste management coming from Bulgaria.

Afterwards, Mr. Georgi Simeonov  who was also a moderator of the event, asked participants to take part in an interactive collaborative session on Mural board – an active debate, marking the challenges facing the management of both flows reviewed in his presentation: municipal biowaste and residues from agriculture and forestry in Pazardzhik District. Participants shared a number of challenges during this interactive session, such as: lack of traditions and knowledge on utilization of forestry and agri biowastes, lack of financial incentives for such activities, low share of recycling; and for municipal wastes: inappropriate methodology for waste taxation, need of reforms to start separate collection of biowaste, non-utilization of sewage sludge, lack of consumer awareness about the importance of increasing the separate collection rates of different waste fractions.

After the first-round table, participants were asked to share their opinion and knowledge on potential strategies and best practices which can tackle the issues mentioned during the “challenges” session in the Bulgarian pilot region – Pazardzhik province.

The outcomes from the second debate were also quite interesting and included solutions like: 1) introducing the use of machines such as vending machines in order to stimulate separate collection of household waste; 2) using mobile off-road equipment for collection and treatment of forest biomass, i.e. introduction of innovative technologies for collection and treatment of forest biomass; 3) introducing SMART systems for monitoring and collecting household waste, changing the methodology for calculating the waste taxation  currently depending on household or commercial surface;  4) increasing awareness campaigns about the importance and benefits of source separating household/commercial biowaste and other waste fractions, 5) teaching students at schools about separate waste collection and the various benefits of recycling and informing more young parents responsible for raising our future generations on the importance of educating children on those topics. The change starts with us!

Presentations and other outputs will soon be available on the event page.