Zero Waste Europe is happy to introduce the blog series “Meet our members”. Through this series of monthly interviews we want to give you a chance to get to know our members and the work they are doing.
Meet Jaka Kranjc from Ecologists without Borders
Hi Jaka, can you give us a brief introduction to Ecologists without Borders’s focus?
EBM (Ecologists Without Borders) is a non-profit founded in 2009 and one of the leading Slovenian NGOs dedicated to improving the state of our environment — focusing on efficient resource use and active citizenship. We believe in a world without waste, so most of our activities deal with waste at its source, be it through various prevention and eye-opener projects, the national Zero Waste network of municipalities, policy work or spurring on cross-sectoral collaboration. Among others, we’re also an active member of Zero Waste Europe, Let’s do it world! and Break Free From Plastic to try to justify our name.
How long have you been in the field and what got you into (Zero) Waste?
I have been in the field since just before I was to complete my forestry studies. In fact, becoming an activist in 2009 was so intensive and transformational that I haven’t managed to complete them at all. The budding grassroot movement that eventually mobilized 13% of the country to get out and clean was a good challenge, a perfect opportunity to use all I have learned and to learn incomparably more. Its success led to the proper birth of EBM, the more focused work on waste prevention and eventually to Zero Waste. I don’t know where I heard about it first, but I do remember several keynotes from Joan Marc Simon in the early tens.
What is your current role in your organisation?
Formally I’m the Secretary General, which does entail some leadership and administrative duties, but most of the time I’m just one of the experts.
I also take care of our technological stack, handle interns, work within our international networks and field the bizarrest questions we receive.
I’m like a gas, I expand to fill the available (problem) space, meaning that sometimes there’s not enough of me in some areas and hopefully more rarely, that I’m just a bunch of hot air.
Tell us more about one ongoing campaign/activity you’re working on?
Currently we’re in the middle of a project on plastics. It is partly about sensibilisation on SUP, partly exploring the real end-of-life of plastic, partly setting up a tracking methodology and partly about shop and item self-assessments. It will feed into our policy work well, since we’re hoping to reveal some currently unavailable sectoral statistics.
If there was one thing that you would like your organisation to be known for, what would it be?
I guess to be widely known as the go-to organisation when it comes to questions of Zero Waste in Slovenia. More substantiated, I’d like us to be known by our positive impact.
How would you describe the growth of the Zero Waste movement in your country? What is your perspective for the future?
As a reverse hockey stick: rapid kickstart with slow, but steady growth. The outlook is good, both in terms of public acceptance of the lifestyle approach and in terms of our municipality network. On the national policy level there is good reason to be optimistic, but of course this work is nowadays nominally less associated with Zero Waste.
You can find more about EBM and their work here.