Investigating how locals would handle medical e-waste in Maribor, Slovenia

If all e-waste collected in Slovenia in 2022 was loaded onto lorries, the line would stretch as far as 30 kilometres. Zeos, a non-profit organisation founded by Slovenian producers and retailers of electrical and electronic equipment, has been ringing the alarm bell as according to their internal estimations, this amount could double by 2050 and the total volumes of e-waste, also these hoarded in households or discarded wrongly, are even higher. This calls for immediate action and locals are eager to participate in the change.

At the second Sustain-a-thon of the DiCE project in Maribor on 30th March 2023, 31 participants including health and social care professionals, recycling companies and enthusiastic citizens gathered to share their views on how to improve the situation. This time, Games for Health partnered up with the Regional Development Agency for Podravje-Maribor and EKOSIJ to deliver this insightful event.

Personal experiences with e-waste and the underlying motivation to recycle were at the core of this session. Participants were divided into smaller groups to be able to better express their opinions. Once the general introductions were done, they dived into discussing different digital health devices, as well as other electrical and electronic products such as toys equipped with electronic parts and batteries. Taking into account both motivational and practical factors, the partakers came up with no less than eleven creative solutions to educate the population and motivate consumers to properly recycle digital health devices, and other waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE.) These solutions will be further analysed by our project partners to determine their feasibility before moving onto the next stage.  

This second DiCE Sustain-a-ton in Maribor was an excellent example of intergenerational cooperation including every age group from university students to pensioners. Project partners were able to perceive a comprehensive overview of the needs, based on personal preferences, and habits in addition to age.  

The atmosphere at the sustain-a-ton was not only creative but also very personal and friendly which led to informal conversations at the end of the workshop with the determination to join efforts in preserving the environment. 

The sustain-a-thon in Maribor was  prepared and conducted in cooperation with three DiCE project partners:  

Games for Health is an Eindhoven-based company that develops applications for behavioural transformation in everyday life. They believe that play is the way to get flexible people and adaptive organisations that are capable of proactively dealing with a rapidly changing world.  

Regional Development Agency for Podravje – Maribor, is a research group in regional development, using the living lab approach to support the local and regional community on its way to sustainable development. 

Ekosij is managing waste electrical and electronic equipment in Slovenia. 

DiCE aspires to base its decisions and strategies on real life experiences and examples to ensure that its results and findings will have a long-lasting impact. Read also more here about the first sustain-a-thon that took place in Belgium.

Nanett Kalapos
April 5, 2023