Register to III Estonian Zero Waste Conference!

Register here to III Estonian Zero Waste Conference! 

III Estonian Zero Waste Conference titled “Circular Systems are a Reality” is taking place at Estonian University of Life Sciences in Tartu on October 2nd and 3rd, 2024. 

As the title says, this year our focus is on already existing systemic zero waste solutions. Zero waste cities and systems are not a theoretical possibility but living examples all over Europe and we wish to bring together some of them. The host city of this year’s conference is Tartu, that carries the title of the European Capital of Culture 2024 that has also put considerable effort into environmentally friendly event management. Our event is part of the side programme of Tartu 2024.

You can buy either one day or two day tickets to the conference.  Registration is open until there are places or until September 25th!  

Agenda of the conference 

Wednesday, Oct 2nd

Day is moderated by Kadri Kalle (Let’s Do It Foundation)

9.30-10.00 Doors open, morning tea and coffee 

10.00-11.00 Opening of the conference: Learning and Circular Systems

11.00-11.30 Coffee and tea break 

11.30 – 13.30 1st round of workshops (descriptions below) 

  1. What data is needed to get started with the Zero Waste journey? 
  2. How to organize Zero Waste events: what it really takes to have an impact (in Estonian)
  3. How to make separate collection of biowaste work? 
  4. What is needed for reuse to survive? 
  5. Can we speak of waste without conflict and confrontation? 
  6. Advantages of innovative and sustainable business models 

13.30-14.30 Lunch 

14.30-16.30 2nd round of workshops 

  1. What data is needed to get started with the Zero Waste journey? (in Estonian)
  2. How to organize Zero Waste events: what it really takes to have an impact
  3. How to make separate collection of biowaste work? 
  4. What is needed for reuse to survive? 
  5. Can we speak of waste without conflict and confrontation?
  6. Advantages of innovative and sustainable business models 

16.30-16.45 Coffee and tea break 

16.45-17.00 Closing the 1st conference day 

Optional networking evening at Aparaaditehas Courtyard (separate venue reserved for conference participants) 

Thursday, Oct 3rd 

Day is moderated by Kadi Kenk (Let’s Do It Foundation) 

9.00-9.30 Doors open, morning tea and coffee 

9.30-10.30 Discussion “We have our goals set, what measures are the right ones to get there? 

Discussion participants: Joan Marc Simon (Zero Waste Europe), Janek Balõnski (Ringo), Triin Pikk (Tartu 2024), TBC. Moderator: Kadi Kenk 

10.30-11.00 Coffee and tea break 

11.00-13.00 Living Library with zero waste organisations from all over Europe (descriptions of organisations below) 

Confirmed organisations (more will be added): 

13.00-14.00 Lunch 

14.00-15.30 Discussion with conference participants. Moderator: Kadri Kalle 

15.30-16.00 Closing the conference and looking ahead 

16.00-16.30 Networking 

Conference workshops on Oct 2nd

1.What data is needed to get started with the Zero Waste journey?

We will investigate the Zero Waste certification logic and dive into the data which is needed to start the Zero Waste journey. Practical groupworks cover zero waste municipality and business certification criteria. Participants can choose the group based on the interest. 

Workshop leaders: 

Kaisa Karjalainen is a Director of Mission Zero Academy. Kaisa is responsible for the development of the Academy and the management and expansion of its service offers. An expert in accelerating systemic change, Kaisa has an educational background in environmental engineering and is currently pursuing a leadership and service design MBA.   

Kristiina Kerge is an expert in IT-solutions with positive environmental and social impact. She has contributed to the growth of several environmental initiatives. The latest development is Sustaxo – a tool for SMEs to self-assess their GHG impact. Combining environmental challenges with smart technology is her passion. She is also a PhD student researching circular economy topics. 

Siret Kapak works at the Estonian University of Life Sciences as a chief specialist for sustainability which also includes the university’s waste management development. In additon to it she is also a PhD student at the same university. She has passed Zero Waste trainer and ambassador trainings and has been also a trainer for Zero Waste ambassadors in Estonia.

2. How to organize Zero Waste events: what it really takes to have an impact 

From festivals and international conferences to smaller events and community gatherings – there is always some environmental impact. Every event organizer should and could think about ways to achieve (almost) zero waste events. In this very practical workshop, we will create a conceptual understanding of what to focus on, how to actually plan and get going, and what challenges organizers are most likely to experience. The workshop leader is also happy to share his failures and learnings. 

Workshop leader: 

Raimo Matvere is a co-founder of Acento, an event sustainability management agency that has worked with international conferences, festivals, sporting events, as well as with municipalities and event venues. Raimo himself has been the head organizer of large public events and festivals (up to 25k guests) and has extensive experience in implementing sustainability principles in his events, as well as in helping others succeed in the field of sustainability. 

3. How to make separate collection of biowaste work? 

Separate collection of biodegradable waste is mandatory in the EU. The task is seemingly simple – separate the biodegradables at the source, take them to a treatment facility by a separate truck, turn it into compost and reuse the nutrients found in the compost. Yet it does not work in many local governments. During the workshop, we will review each link in the chain of collection and treatment of biodegradable waste and discuss how source separation affects the quality of compost and limits or promotes the recycling of organic matter. 

Workshop leader:
Mait Kriipsalu is a professor of Water Protection and Waste Management at Estonian University of Life Sciences. He has been working together with professional organisations and the waste and water sector as well as providing education to students and post-graduates, already for 30 years.   


4. What is needed for reuse to survive? 

Reuse solutions are popping up all over the world, but not all survive. This workshop explores the critical factors necessary for the sustainability of reuse business models across various sectors. Participants will examine the current reuse landscape, identify barriers, and explore different reuse solutions. 

Workshop leader:
Katarina Papp is a circular economy expert at the Tallinn Strategic Management Office. She is also the founder of RingKarp, a company that offers reusable containers for restaurants and cafes, and a community leader at Planet Reuse, a network that connects reuse companies and other stakeholders. Additionally, she is the founder of the zero-waste exhibition “Let’s Go to Zero!”. 

5. Can we speak of waste without conflict and confrontation? 

Estonia is in the process of waste reform. This has highlighted differences of opinions in everything. Starting from how to best do it and ending with the question if we need a reform in the first place. Is conflict an inseparable component in the matters of waste management? In this workshop we will be sharing practical tools that you too can use to become more successful when advocating for what is important for you – the best waste management system in the world! 

Workshop leader:
Kadi Kenk is a trainer and public speaker on the topics of excelling circular economy, community engagement and societal change management for solving global problems. Her work field covers all sectors: doing international advocacy on reuse with institutions, consulting local governments, training NGOs and businesses. Currently she is also a doing circular economy research as a PhD student in Estonian University of Life Sciences. 

 6. Advantages of innovative and sustainable business models 

Have you ever thought about the main differences between linear and circular business models from an entrepreneurial perspective? If so, we warmly invite you to join our workshop to expand your thinking and share the insights you’ve gained so far. If this is a new concept for you, we would love for you to join us and explore the topic together, as there is much to discuss! 

You can expect an informative overview of sustainable and innovative business models provided by our experienced trainer and collaborative discussion on the benefits these models offer to the environment, businesses, and consumers. 

Workshop leaders: 

Mayri Tiido is a seasoned adult educator and entrepreneur with 12 years of experience. She promotes the circular economy in Estonia through training and awareness. Certified in CIRCO circular design and trained at the University of Cambridge, she is a member of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation network and lectures on sustainability at the Estonian Business School and the University of Tartu Pärnu College.

Mariliis Martsepp is a project manager of green services in Enterprise Estonia and a circularity enthusiast. Main services offered are circular design and ESG masterclasses, that guide enterprises to operate in a sustainable manner.

The Living Library on Oct 3rd

The Living Library is a format where instead of books you can explore people and their stories. In our case these are people from different organisations working on zero waste and who have many experiences to share, both successes and failures. In the Living Library you can go from table to table, sit together with one of our “books”, and have a chat with them about their stories and ask them questions about these learnings. 

Confirmed “books” at the Living Library: 

Ismael Casotti Rienda from ZERO, Portual 

ZERO – Association for the Sustainability of the Earth System is a Portuguese non-profit organization of national level, engaged with five main areas/topics (Waste and Circular Economy, Water and Oceans, Climate Change-Energy and Mobility, Soil and Land Use, Biodiversity-Agriculture and Forestry). Our work is divided between the advocacy work (core business of the organisation) and project development and implementation, with strong interaction and engagement of national, regional and local stakeholders, such as public entities, municipalities, companies, schools and citizens. ZERO is a mentor organisation for both the Zero Waste Cities and Zero Waste Business programmes.

Ana Golja from Ecologists Without Borders, Slovenia 

Ecologists Without Borders is the leading Slovenian experts on zero waste, creating good practice examples with several cities, businesses and anyone else willing to learn. 

Marina Tomović from Zero Waste Montenegro and a representative from hotel The Chedi, Montenegro

Zero Waste Montenegro and The Chedi showcase that with innovation and collaboration, zero waste can become a reality even with a under-developed waste management system on a country level. With no waste separation, Deposit Return Scheme, Extended Producer Responsibility, or reuse schemes in place in Montenegro, The Chedi shows that with dedication and creativity, and community engagement, a luxury five star hotel can significantly reduce, reuse and recycle their waste while maintaining cost-effective waste management. 

Maija Krastina from Zero Waste Latvija, Latvia

Zero Waste Latvija is a non-governmental organization dedicated to promoting waste reduction and circular economy in Latvia.


Kaisa Karjalainen from Mission Zero Academy, Europe 

Mission Zero Academy accelerates the implementation of zero waste strategies across Europe by providing tools, training, consultancy, and certification systems. With a continent wide network of zero waste mentors, they guide organizations on their zero waste journeys, regardless of their starting point. 

Johanna Reiland from Bax, Spain

Bax is a collaborative innovation consultancy. We work with changemakers to build the pilots, tools & solutions that take on Europe’s most pressing societal and environmental challenges. We promote the highest priorities of the waste hierarchy by reducing and refusing waste through the communal use and reuse of resources. We do this by organising the urban sharing economy of goods and piloting innovative sharing solutions. Our pilot project COMPARTImenT features the first sharing stations in public and private spaces in Barcelona providing hundreds of people with alternatives to owning.

Liina Kanarbik from Tallinn Strategic Management Centre, Estonia 

The circular economy department in Tallinn Strategic Management Centre is responsible for the waste and circular economy management in the city of Tallinn. The guidelines for organizing sustainable events and using only reusable dishes/cutley in the public events held in the city of Tallinn will be introduced. 

Triin Pikk from European Capital of Culture Tartu 2024, Estonia

Tartu 2024 is the main event in Estonia this year and the largest regional cooperation project between Tartu and Southern Estonia. The creative concept for Tartu 2024 is the Arts of Survival, which means knowledge, skills, and values that will help us lead a good life in the future. These are the knowledge, skills, and values that we endorse, cherish, share with, and learn from Europe. The four most important Arts of Survival featured in the Tartu 2024 programme are uniqueness, sustainability, awareness, and co-creation. 


Our conference is organised with the support of the European Commission Represenation in Estonia, Estonian Business and Innovation Agency, City of Tartu, Association of Municipalities of Tartu County, Estonian University of Life Sciences, and co-financed with the funds from European Regional Development Fund, EUK, CURE+ and TREASoURcE. 

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