Circular Economy in the Raw Materials Sector

Minerals, metals and other raw materials are crucial for the technologies we rely on every day, from lightbulbs to smartphones to wind turbines. As technology advances, industry demands a higher quantity and wider diversity of these raw materials.

Securing a sustainable supply of raw materials in Europe requires a transition toward a circular economy including reduced waste and improved recycling. In 2020-2021, Skills for the Future students from around Slovenia will work with industry mentors to take on the challenge.

Slovenia Idea Camp

On September 23-24, 2019, 100 students from across Slovenia gathered for a two-day Idea Camp in Zreče. In only 48 hours, students developed innovative solutions to real industry challenges set by leading companies Domel, Sij Acroni, and Talum Aluminium. Each of the three challenges focused on advancing the circular economy along the raw materials value chain.

The 20 student teams worked together with mentorship from the companies and expert trainers from Znanost na Cesti (Science on the Street), a science communication initiative of the Department for Nanostructured Materials of the Josef Stefan Institute, a leading research institute in Ljubljana.

The winning teams came up with the following ideas:

100% recyclable aluminium alternative to the single-use plastic bag
A vacuum cleaner constructed of recycled components and materials that allow for easy reclamation of materials
A decorative lacquer derived from slag (waste product from steel production)
A toothbrush with a recyclable aluminium stem and decomposable bamboo head
We Are Looking for Mentors!

Join us and share your knowledge and experience with student teams a few times over the academic year.