As part of the NovIKroG Project, Novo mesto is planning to establish the first centre for circular public procurement in Slovenia, the purpose of which is to help public institutions in the execution of public procurement of environmentally friendly products and services, and directing companies to stay competitive and participate in similar tenders. The transition from linear thinking, in which products are thrown away after use, to the concept of a circular economy, according to which a product can be used again and again or at least for as long as possible, follows global environmental protection guidelines, and at the same time is a response to real and increasingly relevant challenges of lack of raw materials and the ever rising prices.
“The NoviKroG Project is looking for opportunities to circulate materials, products and services in the local environment and to close local material loops. This means that it explores opportunities to reuse or recycle materials, products and services that have their origin in the local environment and can be reused in the local environment. We will try to prove that reusing materials and waste in our local environment is possible and also makes sense. In doing so, we will focus on what we have in our environment and the opportunities that our economy offers. We will focus on the waste materials that are present here – the greatest potential might be shown in glass, textiles, perhaps in plastics, furniture or wood, or in services. In doing so, we are focusing on finding innovative solutions that will represent a competitive advantage in the coming years, when the raw materials that are available today will no longer be taken for granted or will be very expensive,” Peter Geršič, the project manager, presented the goals at yesterday’s press conference at our municipality.
Mojca Žganec Metelko, director of the Knof social enterprise, which in practice deals with testing the reuse of materials, explained that with circular material flows we extend the life cycle of objects, we reduce transport costs, the consumption of new materials and energy, and thereby significantly reduce the burden on the environment. Each object we produce has its own life cycle, from the very concept, to obtaining materials, manufacturing and use, possible recycling, to the end of the life cycle, when the object is no longer useful. There are several ways of recycling: objects can be reused in the same form for the same or another purpose, with “downcycling” we reduce the value of the original material/object, with recycling the original material/object preserves its value, and with “upcycling” we improve the value of the original material or object.
As said Dolores Modic, a representative of the Norwegian University of Nord, which, together with the Faculty of Industrial Engineering (FINI) in Novi Sad, represents the scientific research part of the NovIKroG Project expressed her views on the project. Namely, an analysis is being carried out monitoring individual areas of public procurement for circular public procurement and the competences required for their effective implementation on the part of both clients and providers in the form of surveys and in-depth interviews with representatives of municipalities, public institutions and companies. In this way, we want to bring the circular economy from theory to practice ˗ into concrete circular or green public procurement. Taking all this into account, we will help each other with knowledge and good practices from the north of Europe and with ideas from other similar projects from all over the world, as the researchers share their ideas at scientific conferences. This kind of international conference will be organized by FINI on November 24 and 25, 2022 in Šmarješke Toplice.
Clients and providers will be assisted in the implementation of circular public procurement by a circular innovation centre, which will be established within the Novo mesto Development Centre and will connect stakeholders from the fields of research, economy and local self-government through awareness-raising, information, training and the dissemination of good practices. “The circular innovation centre will be aimed at helping the economy as well as public institutions, as our aim is to transfer as much knowledge as possible in the field of circular public procurement to neighbouring or all interested municipalities,” is the vision of the first Slovenian circular innovation centre, which will come to life within the next year and was presented by Vesna Maksimović, the representative of Novo mesto Development Centre. As she said, there is a lot of interest in the knowledge of how to carry out circular public tenders and how to provide suitable products for them.
Even before the circular innovation centre is fully implemented in practice, information on the efficient implementation of circular public procurement and good practices in the field of circular economy can be obtained on the project’s website www.novikrog.si, where the results of the project and concrete tools for providers and subscribers will be published. The following e-mail address is available for initiatives, good practices, questions and problems in implementing a circular or green public procurement: email@example.com.
Our municipality has been intensively developing sustainable models in the community for several years. In addition to areas such as sustainable mobility and energy efficiency, we have recently also developed green orientations, which carry the common message of a circular and sustainable understanding of handling raw materials and waste. Thus, in 2020, together with practically all municipal public institutions in Novo mesto, we successfully carried out a joint circular public procurement for the supply of hygienic paper from KEMSO (tetrapak) packaging. We continued our activities by studying the possibility of further development of the circular economy, which also includes circular public procurement, through the European project CircLocal, in which we collaborated with partners from the Netherlands and Portugal.
Six partners participate in the NovIKroG Project, which is co-financed by the Norwegian Financial Mechanism with funds in the amount of 799,980 euros: Komunala Novo mesto, Development Centre Novo mesto, Faculty of Industrial Engineering Novo mesto, Knof Social Enterprise, Nord University from Norway, and as a leading partner the Urban Municipality of Novo mesto. The duration of the project is 24 months and it started in May 2022.