Balkan Green Ideas 2023: Nurturing Innovation for a Sustainable Future
From October 23rd to 26th, 2023, the town of Budva, Montenegro, played host to the 12th edition of the annual Balkan Green Ideas program. This dynamic platform brought together 18 national finalists from six Western Balkan countries, all united by a common goal - to champion innovative green concepts that promise to shape a more sustainable tomorrow.
This year's competition was fierce, with participants showcasing an impressive array of eco-conscious ideas. The international and independent jury faced a tough decision, ultimately selecting five standout initiatives divided into two categories.
In the "Green Concept Ideas" category, each winner was granted $5000 to help bring their vision to life.
1. Puterka. Gardening for Children (Albania) This visionary concept centres around the establishment of a unique "mobility" store, offering an array of gardening products tailored especially for young green thumbs. The star attraction is the "Gardening for Children" book, a treasure trove of knowledge guiding children through the joys of nurturing 38 indoor plants. Complete with packets of edible plant seeds, a handy manual, and easy-to-follow instructions, this initiative promises to cultivate a love for nature from an early age.
2. Recycling PET Revolution (Bosnia and Herzegovina) promises a revolutionary approach to PET packaging disposal. By strategically placing collection bins in every local community within Zavidovići, this endeavour aims to streamline the recycling process. The ingenious redemption system, fueled by recycling proceeds, will channel resources towards meaningful community enhancements, marking a significant step towards a greener future.
In the "Advanced Green Ideas" category, where $10,000 was awarded to each winner, the creativity and impact were truly remarkable.
1. Zadrugarstvo (Serbia) stands as a testament to the power of inclusivity and innovation. Based in Kragujevac, this social enterprise is dedicated to empowering adults with developmental disabilities through meaningful work programs. At the heart of their operation is an inclusive workshop specializing in recycling and crafting the handmade paper from discarded cigarette packs. Not only does this initiative champion environmental sustainability, but it also champions social inclusion.
2. Mirjana Josifoska (North Macedonia) is a testament to the transformative potential of textile waste. By repurposing leftover scraps from hat production, this brand creates a range of biodegradable accessories like scrunchies. These products decompose within a matter of weeks, leaving behind no trace of waste. This venture not only minimizes environmental impact but also reimagines waste as a resource.
3. BeBeep (Montenegro) heralds a new era in sustainable transportation solutions. This platform offers users a convenient and cost-effective way to share long-distance travel expenses such as petrol and tolls with fellow passengers. Safety is paramount, with a robust rating system and secure online payment options, ensuring peace of mind for all users.
The Balkan Green Ideas program is more than a competition; it is a catalyst for change, a testament to the power of local communities, and a celebration of innovation.
The 12th edition of Balkan Green Ideas was organized by the Balkan Green Foundation, with institutional support from the Rockefeller Brothers Fund Western Balkans Program, in cooperation with partner organizations Partners Albania for Change and Development, Mozaik Foundation, VentureUP, Fund for Active Citizenship, ARNO and Trag Foundation.