The top representatives of five research universities (University of Economics in Bratislava, the Slovak University of Technology, the Technical University of Košice, the University of Žilina and the Technical University of Zvolen) together with the Automotive Industry Association of the Slovak Republic established a new association UNIVNET with a goal to carry out research and development activities and recovery of waste.
Waste resources in Slovakia: we landfill a lot, we recycle little.
According to the latest data, in 2018 the generated waste in the volume of 2,252 million tons, the production of waste increased by almost 10% in Slovakia year-on-yea. Most of the waste, nearly 50%, went to landfills, although landfilling is a worse alternative to incineration in the waste management hierarchy than incineration - only 7% (157,000 tonnes) in incinerators. Recycling is the most environmentally friendly way to process municipal waste, but Slovakia is one of the weakest EU countries in this category, with a recycled waste share of 36%. Leaders in recycling are Austria and Germany, which can recycle up to 70% of municipal waste.
Slovakia has a lot to catch up in the area of waste management, and there are many challenges ahead of the country in terms of greener waste management and a better waste management efficiency.
UNIVNET: unifying universities, new research and a gateway to the world
Therefore, the Slovak University of Technology came up with the initiative to combine several research universities (University of Economics in Bratislava, Technical University of Košice, University of Žilina and Technical University of Zvolen) and together with the Automotive Industry Association of the Slovak Republic founded the UNIVNET association with the goal to recycle and recover the waste, especially in the automotive industry, because it is the dominant part of industry in Slovakia.
"The association will develop and coordinate its own scientific research activities and at the same time it will have the ambition to act as a national focal point and a gateway in establishing and expanding international research collaboration on research and development of new waste technologies in the context of a recycling society" , said the Dean of the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering of the Slovak Technical University (STU), Ľubomír Šooš.
The Rector of Slovak Technical University (STU), Miroslav Fikar, appreciated the connection of strong partners in the area that concentrates the acute challenges of today and for which STU has the necessary know-how and a strong research potential. "I believe that UNIVNET will help the better cooperation between universities in Slovakia and at the same time it will open our researchers next door to the world which will result in more contacts and international cooperation in the European research area," he said.
"The project content from the UE in Bratislava will focus mainly on the impact of the automotive industry on the recycling society and the current and future economic risks related to the orientation of the Slovak economy on the automotive industry". This sentence has underlined the Rector of the University of Economics in Bratislava, Ferdinand Daňo.