First Living Lab held in Pazardzhik

The first Local Living Lab of Biocircularcities in the Bulgarian city of Pazardzhik successfully took place online on 31 March.

The nineteen participants represented mainly public administrations of Pazardzhik region, environmental organizations, and research and representatives of business. Some of the project partners also joined the event to present its current achievements and project objectives.

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

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

Afterwards, Georgi Simeonov, also moderator of the event, invited participants to take part in an interactive collaborative session on Mural board. This active debate tackled the challenges faced in the management of both flows reviewed in his presentation: municipal biowaste and residues from agriculture and forestry in the Pazardzhik region. 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 roundtable, participants exchanged opinion and knowledge on potential strategies and best practices which can tackle the issues mentioned during the “challenges” session in the Bulgarian pilot.

The outcomes of this second debate were also interesting and included solutions like:

  • introducing the use of machines such as vending machines in order to stimulate separate collection of household waste;
  • 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;
  • introducing SMART systems for monitoring and collecting household waste, changing the methodology for calculating the waste taxation  currently depending on household or commercial surface;
  • increasing awareness campaigns about the importance and benefits of source separating household/commercial biowaste and other waste fractions,
  • 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 are available on the event page.