Best innovations in the field of circular economy selected

August 16, 2022
fingers adding a piece of the puzzle showing the circular economy model
Photo: Shutterstock

Belgrade, August 16, 2022 - With the support of the Delegation of the European Union in Serbia, the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in Serbia and the Ministry of Environmental Protection selected the best project proposals received in response to the Challenge Call for Innovative Solutions in the Field of Circular Economy. This public call was announced as part of the "EU for the Green Agenda in Serbia" project in March this year.

Over 170 interested candidates participated in the four Info Days organized by UNDP and the Ministry of Environmental Protection, and almost 40 proposals for innovative solutions were received. The expert jury chose as many as 29 project proposals that will receive mentoring and technical support for further development. In the first phase, the selected teams will receive training in areas such as business planning, product promotion, market research, as well as assistance in the preparation of specific analyses, project documentation, etc. The Acceleration phase, for the technical elaboration of projects for co-financing, starts at the end of August and will last until December 2022.

After the end of this phase, at least 5 of the most mature and promising proposals will be provided with co-financing for implementation in practice. Part of the co-financing, in the amount of 360,000 euros, will be provided from the Project funds, while the candidates will also be trained on how to access complementary sources of financing. Additionally, UNDP will organize a presentation of all the 29 projects and solutions - to commercial banks and the donor community, to secure further funding.

Companies from the private and public sectors, as well as local self-governments, participated in the Challenge Call, and ideas were proposed for new or improved business models and technologies that will lead to more efficient use of resources and the reduction and reuse of waste in production processes, such as:

  • solutions for primary waste selection,
  • recycling of biodegradable waste, paper, metal, rubber, sludge, and construction waste,
  • solutions for increasing energy efficiency by generating energy from waste,
  • solutions for adapting the infrastructure in cities to climate change with the use of recycled materials.

Moreover, there were ideas proposed for establishing "industrial symbiosis", i.e. partnerships that allow the waste or by-product of one producer to be used as a resource of another producer, such as, for example, a solution for the use of waste generated during the production of fruits and vegetables - for the production of natural cosmetics.

The implementation of these ideas will contribute to the reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, as well as the implementation of the Green Agenda in Serbia, and will also lead to the creation of new jobs, including jobs for marginalized groups.

The list of selected project proposals can be found on this LINK.

The "EU for the Green Agenda in Serbia" project is funded by the European Union and implemented by UNDP in partnership with the Ministry of Environmental Protection,  and in cooperation with the Embassy of Sweden and the European Investment Bank.