3 European Zero Waste islands you need to know你不得不知的欧洲三大零浪费岛屿
Imagine the island where officials, people and visiting tourists truly care about the environment. Imagine the waste separate collection so good that is has a giant impact on the reducing soil, water and air pollution, on the health of its inhabitant, on greenhouse gases emission and landfilling reduction. That is not only utopian dream anymore! We are happy to introduce you three European islands that are already following the green path.
Bornholm Island, Denmark
The garbage-free story of this Baltic Sea island started with an old incinerator that needed to be replaced. The local government took the opportunity to change the system and made a decision that instead of updating the existing plant, they would invest the money to completely innovative green project – transition towards zero-waste community! The old incinerator plant will be amortized in December 2032 and officials have a big ambition – by this time all the waste will be reused, recycled or turned into resources.
Following the idea of a governmental paper “Denmark without waste. Recycle more – incinerate less”, the waste that would otherwise have been incinerated would now be recycled. People already effectively recycle common waste fractions such as paper, plastics, glass or metal and as Bornholm island is also known for its fishing villages, materials such fishing nets will also be included in the recycling system!
We all know that sharing is caring, so if you live on the island and need to mow the lawn, but well, you don’t have any mower, for example, you can simply borrow / rent one! Combining the principles of circular and sharing economy is the key point to adopt the “5R” of zero waste strategy – refuse, reuse, reduce and recycle. As for the last one (rot), organic waste will be used to fertilize the soil in fields, gardens and parks.
And that’s not all – Bornholm aims to be carbon-neutral by 2025! With these new strategies, Bornholm’s population of 40 000 people and 600 000 annual tourists will be soon living their (and ours) zero waste dream!
Zlarin, “small undiscovered jewel” on the Adriatic coast – as local people call their sunny island, is a combination of two main colours: golden as its sunset and blue as the sea. But now they have full right to add a new colour: green!
The effort of anti-plastic fighters paid off and Zlarin adopted the best innovative solutions that made it the very first Croatian island without any disposable plastics! You will not find plastic bags any more, they are all replaced by paper or canvas bags; your summer mojito drink will be served without plastic straw; plastic bottles will be replaced by old good glass and during the events you will drink fresh tap water instead of bottled one! Other daily-used disposables like cups or cutleries will be replaced by more environmentally friendly solutions.
Zlarin as a small island with the population of less than 300 people was an ideal place to try out this project which was fully supported by its inhabitants and tourists. This transformation will not only help the local environment and stop further sea littering, it also sets a great example for the others!
If we are looking for the perfect example for the transformation of waste going to zero, let Sardinia be our hero! 17 years ago, Sardinia was the worst performing region in Italy in waste management; they separated only 3,8% of their waste and the rest was sent to landfills or incinerated. Today this unpleasant status has changed and Sardinia became the best performing island in the Mediterranean. Starting with less than 4% of separation, in 2016 they separated 56% of its waste and they aim to reach 80% separate collection of waste by 2022!
Sardinia has already proven to be serious about going zero waste and their ambitious target does not seem impossible to reach. What is the key for their success? They implemented a series of strategies which turned to be very essential factors:
Bio-waste separation. If the bio-waste is treated properly, it can result in high-quality compost that will be used as organic fertilizer to contribute to sustainable growth of all the yummy vegetables in the region.
Door-to-door collection. The change from bring-in points to door-to-door collecting seems to also play an important role! The separated waste is collected by mobile collection points which are reducing not only the illegal dumping, but the burden and stress of residents and tourists in terms of dealing with waste. Separation has never been easier and flexible. In Oristano, the island’s best performing city, with its 32 000 inhabitants, they reached with door-to-door collection 75,6% waste separation!
Visual signs for sorting. Better to see it once, then read it once. Guiding waste separation signs are prepared with pictures and many also contain translation versions, so throwing out your garbage correctly on the beach will not be any trouble anymore!
Next time we are able to think about traveling and holidays, let’s keep these three islands in our mind!