PROMOTING A CIRCULAR APPROACH TO MUNICIPAL WASTE MANAGEMENT

The European Waste4Think project, which aims to facilitate the transition of waste management in urban contexts to models of recycling and recovery of materials based on the principles of Circular Economy, has entered its final phase and is scheduled for completion at the end of November.

The challenge of Waste4Think is to improve waste management, not only in economic or operational terms, but also in terms of environmental and social impacts. For this purpose, each of the four pilot schemes draws on a number of the 20 ‘eco-solutions’ developed by the project. These include operating and planning tools to be used by local authorities; mobile apps to help citizens and businesses; educational campaigns at all levels from schools to technical professionals; ‘citizen science’ tools to encourage local people to come up with innovative solutions; and mechanisms to promote behavioural changes through empowerment.

The four municipalities were chosen due to the diversity of waste management challenges they presented. In Portugal, the popular coastal tourist resort of Cascais is implementing a “Pay-as-you-Throw” (PAYT) system in which residents use RFID keys to open a closed container. For the deployment, over 90 underground bins with filling sensors and locking mechanisms with RFID keys were installed. This is crucial equipment to enhance the efficiency of the collection service and to provide data for the management team.

Since these underground bins are for collective use by the local community, the PAYT model is also collective. At this stage, use is voluntary for waste streams (household, paper, glass, plastic). The fact that the PAYT model is also collective means that charges are calculated based on a variable individual component, as well as a collective component, based on waste collection and treatment charges in the pilot test area.

Published in: Nº60 FuturENVIRO May 2019