Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

H2020

Waste4Think Report Summary

Project ID: 688995
Funded under: H2020-EU.3.5.4.

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - Waste4Think (Moving towards Life Cycle Thinking by integrating Advanced Waste Management Systems)

Reporting period: 2016-06-01 to 2017-11-30

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

Nearly 9% of the waste generated in the European Union 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 specially 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 then 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 propose the integration and validation of 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 will be enhanced by a holistic waste data management methodology based on ICT tools built over the components of the FIWARE community. These tools will be demonstrated in 4 complementary urban areas in Europe: Zamudio (Spain), Seveso (Italy), Halandri (Greece) and Cascais (Portugal).
The most relevant expected impacts are: a 20% increase in waste sorting, 10% saving of management costs, and 10% reduction of GHG emissions.
The consortium of the project is made of 19 partners from 6 European countries that will work together during 42 months with an overall contribution from the EC of €9M.

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

At the beginning of the project, the consortium was focused in the analysis of requirements of the 20 eco-solutions. Also, the Sustainability Model (WESTE) was defined, which comprises a description of the status of the Waste Collection System in terms of sustainability criteria. Following this, a baseline and the first evaluation of the pilots progress have been made.
Once the project overcome its first semester, the following actions started:
1) Development of tools based on FIWARE:
- A customized dashboard able to show the waste management system status (actual and future), thanks to long term forecasting models.
- An improved collection module able to optimize the collection routes taking into consideration traffic and incidences reported.
- Circular economy best practices databases have been built for the creation of a circular economy planner to foster their implementation.
2) Creation of innovative learning materials:
- 2 digital projects and 2 STEAM lessons.
- 2 serious games to provide training on how to sort waste and to train on eco-design principles.
3) The first versions of the mobile apps will be available for testing soon by citizens.
4) 2 innovative treatment plants to recover energy and materials from food waste and nappies have been installed in Hallandri. The first tests have been carried out.
5) Different economic instruments, based on PAYT, have been defined for 3 pilots. In Seveso, PAYT has been already implemented obtaining better results than expected.
In addition, Social Actions Programmes were defined for each pilot to describe the environmental education strategies that are going to be developed in each municipality. Several actions have been started:
- Innovative awareness campaigns as the “virtuous households” and the “funny door to door sensitization on residual waste”
- Zero waste events
- Campaigns to foster the use of reusable nappies, the separation of food waste and the use of reusable recipients and bags.
- Co-creation activities to define the PAYT schemes to be implemented in the different pilots, along with informative campaigns.

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

Waste4Think will provide a breakthrough compared to the current commercial solutions in the field of urban waste management. Even it is at an early stage, some remarkable progress has arisen.
A methodology to holistically assess the efficiency of the system and the monitoring of the strategic and operational objectives in the pilots have been defined and named as WESTE. WESTE, based on a set of environmental, social, technical and economic (ESTE) Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) allows benchmarking the sustainability degree of a case study.
First steps to move towards the Zero Waste concept have been done by the definition of different zero waste environments (events, ecosystems, sustainable local trade, food waste protocol, green procurement, PAYT and sustainable social actions) and all the actions carried out to involve the different stakeholders and social engagement (focus groups or citizen science activities). This information will be the basis for all the ICT tools to be deployed in Waste4Think and support decision making in urban waste management.
Having a better knowledge about the overall system by the integration of all the information related to waste management, eases the analysis of the transferability and replicability to other regions.
The activities performed in the framework of Waste4Think also contribute to policy making at different levels Looking at the final draft of the revised Waste Framework Directive (Dec’17), it is clear that high recycling rate will be the main target. Waste4Think Pilots will be 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 like PAYT. A good example of impact on environmental policies is also the set up of food waste collection in Halandri. The innovative treatment of food waste and diapers to be tested in Halandri addresses as well new technological approaches to waste management.
Additionally, it's important not to neglect the focus of Waste4Think on the social component in order to establish good policies.The willingness to separate waste rather than technology is more related to how effectively citizens have been sensitized and pushed to improve their habits in a proactive way, which requires social actions and high involvement from policy makers and other stakeholders. The innovative use of technologies (apps and digital learning materials).
Finally, the experience gained and the synergies among the partners describe the best possible scenario to launch new governance and business models. In this sense, it is remarkable the fact that, until now, 39 new green jobs have been created as result of the execution project. Among these, it is worthy to mention the jobs created in the municipales to enforce sensitization and citizen science cro-creation bottom-up activities.

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