Within the BIOREGIO project, four Good Practices have been identified so far in the Nitra Region, Slovakia. Good Practices are cooperation models or technologies, which are successfully proved in practice and fulfil the criteria stated at the beginning of the BIOREGIO implementation.
Overview of the Good Practices
Programme to Support Integrated Rural Development LEADER NSK
LEADER NSK operated by the Office of the Nitra Region is a unique instrument for funding small-scale projects to support circular economy (CE) in rural areas. It is based on the principles of the generally-known EU initiative LEADER, but it uses entirely the budget of the Nitra Region and reflects local needs through the "bottom-up" principle. Final beneficiaries are the Local Action Groups. Thanks to the BIOREGIO project, new sub-activities related to CE were introduced into it, e.g. design of bio-waste strategies or support of bio-waste processing technologies. Since its extension, the demand and the number of projects increased. Projects have achieved more efficient waste separation and higher environmental awareness of citizens.
Examples of waste collection points in the municipalities of the Nitra Region established with the support from LEADER NSK Programme
Separate Collection and Recovery of Biodegradable Waste
Association for Separate Waste Collection of the Ponitrie Region launched a successful project for more than 80,000 inhabitants in the Nitra Region. Project is aimed to reduce the amount of landfilled municipal waste by separating its components and mainly the bio-waste as its largest part. The Project addresses the comprehensive waste management of plastics, paper and glass in a unified manner. Bio-waste is crushed and modified in own composting plant and then it is returned back to the municipalities. Thanks to its systematic work, the Association contributed to a significant reduction of municipal waste and illegal landfills. For the project, the Association was awarded the "Golden Ant" prize in 2018 in the category "Communal Waste Management". The project also launched very good cooperation within the local community (willingness to separate the waste, communication among self-government, municipalities, etc.).
Waste management facilities of the Association for Separate Waste Collection of the Ponitrie Region
Separate waste collection and composting of biowaste on a municipal level
Small municipality Veľké Turovce (754 inhabitants) located in the most underdeveloped area of the Nitra region successfully operates a separate waste collection and a small composting plant using its own resources. The municipality is a member of a regional Association for a separate collection. The municipality decided to build a small composting plant and buy necessary equipment from its own resources. Composting plant is operated by 1 – 5 employees, depending on the season. Thanks to its active approach, the municipality reaches the highest average amount of separated waste per capita – 50 kg (the average of the Association is 25 kg). This example shows that effective waste management is possible to operate even for a small village using its own resources.
Separate waste collection and small composting plant in the municipality of Veľké Turovce
Production of biofuels from crops and oils
The Envien Group focuses on saving natural resources by producing biofuels from agricultural crops and oils. It is the largest group interconnecting the most significant biofuel producers in Slovakia. Three production plants are focused on producing bioethanol from maize; producing biodiesel from rapeseed oil, used cooking oil and other oils; and producing rapeseed oil. These production plants represent a waste-free production system since each main product together with side-streams has market applications. Main biofuel products are blended to obtain conventional mixtures of diesel and gasoline. Since 2007 only one plant has produced more than 1M m3 of bioethanol, which has replaced almost 750,000 t of petroleum for petrol production, thus saving about 1M tons of CO2.
Production plants of the Envien group
Good Practice examples from the Nitra Region show that CE can be developed by different means, e.g. funding schemes, effective work of associations, enthusiasm of self-government but also advanced technologies. For further progress, cooperation among stakeholders plays a crucial role. Based on the cooperation between Slovak University of Agriculture and the Nitra Region, bio-based CE issues have been involved in binding documents and the first related projects have been successfully implemented. Cooperation within associations and active approach of some municipalities show that developing bio-based CE at the local level does not require large financial resources but brings many positive changes in the local environment.