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Moving towards Life Cycle Thinking by integrating Advanced Waste Management Systems

Periodic Reporting for period 3 - Waste4Think (Moving towards Life Cycle Thinking by integrating Advanced Waste Management Systems)

Reporting period: 2018-12-01 to 2020-02-29

Nearly 9% of the waste generated in the EU comes from households, which means an average of 475kg per person every year. Overall, 26% of municipal waste is still sent to landfill, 27% incinerated and only 47% of municipal waste in EU is composted or recycled. This means that 80 million tons of recyclable materials are thrown away or ‘wasted’ annually. Among recyclables, biowaste (and especially food waste) is the most sensitive fraction as its management (as resource for material or energy recovery) is a key point into a good waste management system. Moreover, about 75% of food waste may be avoidable so efforts on prevention should be intensified. Waste management represents a cost of billions of Euros in our public budgets and in environmental terms means over 3% of total GHG emissions in Europe (over 100 million tons of GHG).
The challenge is to improve the waste management not only in economic or operational terms but also considering the environmental and social impacts.
To this end WASTE4THINK sets out to move forward the current waste management practise into a circular economy motto. To make so, we have integrated and validated 20 eco-innovative solutions that cover all the value chain from innovative social actions to prevent waste generation, to ICT tools and economic instruments to enhance collection and recycling and two new processes for the recovery of high-grade valuable materials from waste. The benefits of these solutions have been enhanced by a holistic waste data management methodology based on ICT tools built over the components of the FIWARE community. These tools have been demonstrated in 4 complementary urban areas in Europe: Zamudio (ES), Seveso (IT), Halandri (GR) and Cascais (PT).
The most relevant impacts obtained are: a 15% increase in waste sorting, 11% saving of management costs, 47% reduction of GHG emissions and more than 120.000 interactions with citizens.
These results come mainly from the introduction of food waste separate collection, improvement of the waste collection scheme and deployment of PAYT strategies, with the accompaniment of an intensive social action plan. All together has led to an increase of resources recovered (so, relevant impact savings such as in GWP) and waste diverted from landfill (again, with a relevant reduction of biowaste sent to these facilities and the consequent GHG emissions).
Waste4Think is a project created by, with and for people.For this reason, a social responsible research and innovation has been developed during the whole project promoting specific activities to foster citizen empowerment. Different approaches of this integral solution have been implemented and tested in 4 pilots sites:

Cascais – towards a Pay-As-You-Throw (PAYT) model
This tourist coastal city with high seasonal variations in population has implemented the following actions:
• Introduction of monitoring systems in containers and on trucks
• Optimisation of collection service taking into account the filling level of the containers
• Introduction of a collective PAYT, in addition to incentives to encourage participation in prevention initiatives and awareness campaigns

Halandri – New circular model based on biowaste
This business city has been focused on:
• The implementation of a circular economy model based on biowaste. Waste sorting in origin and selective collection has been implemented for fermentable household waste to produce a biomass product from food waste for the production of biofuels and compost
• The development of a treatment plant for recovery of high grade products from nappies
• The creation and implementation of instruments to facilitate long-term planning and citizen participation in decision-making

Seveso - Objective: zero waste
The population of this residential city has a high degree of awareness. So, the aim has been to improve their results by:
• Implementation of a PAYT system based on the use of tags in bags
• Innovative social awareness campaigns have been running to support the new management model such as Funny Door to Door, educational actions in schools and the promotion of zero-waste meal events
• Participation of small number of households (Virtuous Households towards zero waste) in a continuous training and a very strict monitoring as example for the rest of the population

Zamudio – Citizen empowerment as an instrument of change
This small and highly industrialised city has improved their waste management system by:
• The creation of zero-waste ecosystems
• A collection truck monitoring system to enable collection optimisation based on container weighing and smart locks
•Implementation of three different PAYT models (domestic, catering/hotel and industrial) by citizen co-creation processes
To achieve these objectives specific Environmental programmes have been carried out in each pilot including innovative social actions based on games and apps.

Finally, different tools to improve operation and management, waste collection and medium and long-term planning have been deployed demonstrating their potential to improve the waste management systems from environmental, technical, economical and social dimensions.
Waste4Think suposses a breakthrough compared to the current commercial solutions in the field of urban waste management for several reasons. A multi-actor approach has been applied thanks to the integration of different solutions that cover all the waste value chain. Different stakeholders can operate at the same time in the Waste4Think Suite that has raised to a level that makes these eco-solutions reliable for municipalities or waste management companies.

The activities performed in Waste4Think contribute to policy making at different levels Looking at the Waste Directive (EU) 2018/851, it is clear that high recycling rate is the main target. Waste4Think Pilots are an example of how targets that up to time ago were considered unachievable can be reached if right instruments are used.

Project results are very targeted also at policy implementation as the case of the definition and approval of innovative economic instruments (PAYT) implemented in Seveso, Cascais and Zamudio with satisfactory results. Good examples of impact on environmental policies are also the set up of biowaste collection in Halandri and food donation in Zamudio. The innovative treatment of biowaste and diapers in Halandri addresses as well new technological approaches to waste management.

The activities performed have contributed with the identification of legal barriers that block the advance towards a new management model. To overcome these barriers, other alternatives have been implemented and contributions to regulations have been submitted to the corresponding authorities.
Zero Waste Eco event in Zamudio
First data from organic waste collection in Cascais
Waste4Think Smart City category winner in the Katerva Awards 2018
This is a sample of dissemination material created for the project
Waste4Think Deusto Social Impact Brefing published
Eco Event in Seveso
Serious Games