ESPO Award 2014 Shortlisted Project: The Port of Koper: No Waste, Just Resources!
This project from Luka Koper in Slovenia looks at the role ports can play in creating an innovative approach to waste management by encouraging the re-use and reprocessing of waste products into environmentally-friendly materials.
The 2014 ESPO Awards celebrate the role that ports can play in maintaining the natural environment and contributing to a sustainable future for all. The five ports shortlisted for this year’s Award, Huelva, Koper, Lisbon, Marseille and Rotterdam all demonstrate innovation in projects that improve environmental standards.
ESPO is proud to present the shortlisted projects, before the winner is announced at a ceremony at the Albert Hall in Brussels on 4 November.
ESPO: Congratulations! You have been shortlisted for the ESPO Award 2014 together with four other port projects. Could you briefly describe your project?
Luka Koper d.d: Waste material presents a serious ecological, social and economic issue, and its reduction is essential if we are to protect the natural environment and preserve it for future generations. As a socially responsible enterprise, Luka Koper decided to take an environmentally sound approach, especially as regards the salvage and recycling of those by-products and materials previously regarded as unwanted. Accordingly, the project’s basic aim has been to reduce the amount of waste through encouraging its reuse or reprocessing into environment-friendly materials. This stance has ultimately led to the introduction of measures which engender significant social and economic benefits, as well as the promotion of new and innovative approaches to environmental protection. These measures are: the use of paper mill sludge as an anti-dusting agent, the introduction of a heating system that uses recycled wood, the operation of the waste separation centre and composting plant, and the reuse of marine silt as a construction material.
ESPO: What is the innovative environmental added value of the project?
Luka Koper d.d: In the context of the No Waste, Just Resources! project Luka Koper has striven to identify new approaches to reduce the environmental impact of port operations. Innovation derives from the re-use of waste materials that are produced either within the port or locally. At the outset we focused on those issues that the local community found particularly problematic, such as dust emissions from the coal depot, the disposal of dredged sediments, energy consumption and waste generation. A solution for all four issues was found in viewing waste material as a by-product, which - when no longer treated as a waste material - becomes a resource.
The reuse of marine silt as a construction material has already caught the attention of a company who is interested and willing to experiment the usage of marine silt as raw material for the production of building materials.
The innovative aspects of the project have been a reduction in the environmental impact of port operations, extensive consideration of local community opinion, the recycling of waste materials in the implementation of a sustainable management system ensuring the productive reuse of unwanted by-products over their entire lifecycles, co-operation with local institutions and the creation of employment.
ESPO: Why do you think your project deserves to win the 2014 ESPO Award?
Luka Koper d.d: The goal of our project is to reduce the environmental impact of port operations thereby improving the local environmental conditions for the people working and living around the port. These are key success factors for the societal integration of ports. Through the project we demonstrate that this is also possible using waste material which is reused or reprocessed into environment-friendly materials. Our project leads to environmental improvements for the benefit of the wider port and local community. We addressed the typical port-city concerns such as local air pollution, waste production and disposal, fossil fuel consumption, and the disposal of dredged material.
ESPO: What are you going to do if you win the Award?
Luka Koper d.d: It is the third time that the Port of Koper has been shortlisted for the Award. Needless to say it is an award that is of great importance to us because it represents the recognition of our work on the environmental field. Being the only commercial port in Slovenia, the ESPO Award is the only benchmark model that sets the position of Port of Koper between other European ports. Although we cannot compete with the biggest ports in terms of facilities and resources we are very proud to be one of the trendsetters of European sustainable development politics, thanks to our highly professional and tireless colleagues. So, if we win the Award, we are going to congratulate and extend the success firstly to all the persons involved directly and indirectly in this project and we are going to promote our achievement very proudly within the port and local community.
ESPO: Besides having the ESPO Award winner statute, what would the Award further mean to you?
Luka Koper d.d: The ESPO winner status will mean for us a confirmation that we are going in the right direction, and would encourage all of us to continue working and searching for new projects, new collaborations and new ways of using waste material as resources for reducing port environmental influences.
We hope that our results can be an inspiration and a helpful model also for other ports in their work of taking care of the environment and that the local community will recognise our efforts to reduce negative effects of port operations. We are aware that our future and our development plans depend also on the support of local communities.
ESPO: How would you make your experience in developing the project available to others?
Luka Koper d.d: We are already sharing our experiences with other ports within different international associations we are members of, within individual European projects and Sister port agreements with ports all around the world. During the year we organise a lot of visits through the port for experts and people interested in port operations, and we will use those opportunities to promote our achievements. Finally, we will share it with the stakeholders as part of our Environmental Report. Our project will be available to all interested in on our web sites “living with the port” www.zivetispristaniscem.si and on www.luka-kp.si.