Circular economy opportunities in Slovakia
By 2050 the material use of Slovakia will, according an estimation of current values, increase by 50%. The automotive and construction industry – which are key sectors of the economy – will account for the majority of this growth. Ambitious to limit this increase, Slovakia is working on a circular roadmap which will provide a thorough overview of the business opportunities of the circular economy in Slovakia. The main objectives of the Circular Roadmap are to improve waste management, decrease the environmental footprint, use natural resources effectively, support innovation progress, and increase the country’s competitiveness.
Thinking about doing business in Slovakia? Below you will find information on policy landscape, circular economy strategy, and selected priority areas!
Facts & Figures
- Population (2021): 5,46 mln
- Nominal GDP (2019): €15,863 mln, world rank: 45th
- Purchasing power: €26,999
- Export from the NL (2020): €1.06 Billion
- Economic growth (2019): 2,3%
- Ease of doing business rank (2020): 25/190
- Corruption index (2019)49/100
- Unemployment rate (2020): 5,8%
- Currency: €
- Time difference NL: +0.00 hrs
Circular economy indicators
- Global innovation index (2019): 39/131
- Municipal waste recycling rate: 36.3%
- Circular material use rate: 5.1%
Image: Policy landscape (relevant legislation, strategies, programmes, plans, roadmaps and milestones)
Environmental policy goals
By 2050 a 50% increase in material use of Slovakia is estimated compared to current values. The automotive and construction industry – which are key sectors of the economy – will account for the majority of this growth. The new modern Greener Slovakia – Strategy of the Environmental Policy of the Slovak Republic until 2030 highlights three main environmental challenges in Slovakia: waste management, air quality, and habitat protection. It also states the stagnation of the waste management system and emphasizes the need to transition to a circular economy. Increasing the gate fees will be an important tool to discourage landfilling.
An important milestone will be the publication of the Circular Roadmap (in 2022), which will provide a thorough overview of the business opportunities of the circular economy in Slovakia. The main objectives of the Circular Roadmap are to improve waste management, decrease the environmental footprint, use natural resources effectively, support innovation progress, and increase the country’s competitiveness.
Priority areas stem from the last expert discussion both from the governmental and non-governmental spheres are the following:
- Sustainable production and consumption
- Economic instrument
- Food and biowaste
Waste prevention programme
The New Waste prevention program of the Slovak Republic for the years 2019 – 2025 was established in 2018. The new waste prevention measures include environmental education; application of the principles of green public procurement; implementation of voluntary instruments in the field of environmental policy (e.g., Eco-design, EMAS); adequate organizational, personnel, and financial coverage via increase landfill fees (2022); linking the activity with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the preparation of the National Investment Plan of the Slovak Republic for the years 2018 – 2030.
We see three priority areas when it comes to circular economy opportunities and need: Buildings & infrastructure, the Automative battery market, and Waste management & RecyclingDutch Embassy in Slovakia
Buildings & Infrastructure
The construction industry is one of the key sectors of the Slovak economy and the largest producer of industrial waste in the country. All industrial construction activities combined account for 16 % of total industrial waste generation. Meanwhile, the recovery rate of construction and demolition waste was only 51% in 2018. The demand for living space is increasing that projects a growing trend of demolishing and reconstruction of old building stock. The renovation of apartment buildings in Slovakia reaches 3% per year, which is an above-average rate in Europe-wide comparison. The renovation of buildings is a top priority of Slovakia’s National Recovery Plan. Planned investments are around EUR 500 million for family houses and EUR 200 million for historical buildings. The environmental policy goals of the Slovakia and the current trends of the construction market create a need for new waste disposal sites with advanced recycling solutions.
Automotive battery market
The automotive industry has a strong tradition in Slovakia and is the most important sector and driving force of the Slovak economy. Over the past 20 years, it has been an important source of foreign direct investment and the country has become the global leader in car production per capita. Due to the upcoming e-mobility trends, a growth is expected in electric car production. The battery industry’s vision anticipates the roll out of battery production on a bigger scale through the construction of giga-factories. Recycling of batteries in Slovakia is above the EU target in all categories. However, the increased volumes of battery waste will open new market possibilities for the re-use and recycling of batteries. Besides that, the emerging need for charging infrastructure will also create business opportunities for the Netherlands as a global leader in this market.
Waste Management & Recycling
The country’s environmental policies consider waste management and recycling key tools to stimulate Slovakia’s transition towards a circular economy. The current state of the country’s waste management sector is desperate, more than half of the waste ends up in landfills, making Slovakia one of the most backward countries in the field of waste management.
The utilization of secondary raw materials shows an emerging trend in the country. The platforms, associations of processors, recyclers, and manufacturers providing virtual space for trading are becoming significant players in the market. However, there is no uniform database in Slovakia comparing processing capacities across all classes of materials. Companies are seeking such databases to find a suitable technology for processing or suppliers for their material.
There is also demand for foreign expertise and innovative waste management solutions for municipalities as well as manufacturing companies. The Dutch organization Circle Economy is currently in cooperation with the capital city Bratislava to prepare a scan on its material flow and work out recommendations to enhance the city’s circularity.
CE think tanks/research institutes
- Circular Slovakia
- INCIEN – Institute of Circular Economy
- Slovak Environment Agency
- Slovak Green Building Council
- UNIVNET R&D in the area of recycling and waste recovery in the automotive industry
- The Netherlands Chamber of Commerce in the Slovak Republic
- Slovak Chamber of Commerce
- Slovak Business Agency
- Slovak Battery Alliance
- Buildings for Future
- Slovak Plastic Cluster
- Bioeconomy Cluster
Useful reports & links
- Circular Economy – Future of the Development of Slovakia
- Greener Slovakia Strategy
- Waste Prevention Program for 2019 – 2025
- Waste Management Information System
- Low Carbon Development Strategy
- SARIO – Slovak Investment Agency
- Business opportunities in Slovakia
- Doing Business in Slovakia
- Natur-Pack (for waste legislation schemes)