Third edition of #wasteinprogress presents successful international pay-as-you-throw (fair charge) selective waste collection systems

Eight cities, including Seattle and Berne, will present their “fair-charge” waste collection systems at the wasteinprogress International Waste Forum. The Forum, which will be held at the Fira de Girona from March 6 to 8, will have a marked emphasis on the transfer of know-how. Several Catalonian municipalities, companies and organisations will also present innovations in systems for the identification of waste disposers and control of access to containers. In addition, there will be a space at the Forum where companies can present new technologies.

The #wasteinprogress International Waste Forum returns to the Fira de Girona on March 6, 7 and 8 for the third edition of this consolidated event. Last year’s edition saw the presentation of eight successful case studies from all over the world on waste management in tourist resorts and at large events. This year, the focus is on experiences in pay-as-you-throw waste management schemes. The nine case studies to be presented will deal with how the concept of economic fairness has been implemented to encourage correct waste separation in cities or regions with average recycling rates of around 60% or more.

The cities, regions and organisations scheduled to present their management systems are:

  • Seattle (United States). With a population of 724,745 and a selective collection rate of 57%, it is the only city in the USA with compulsory selective collection of organic waste, not just from residential areas but also from apartment blocks.
  • Leipzig (Germany). The city, which has a selective collection rate of 60% and a population of 571,000, has over 15 years of experience in pay-as-you-throw systems. Its organic waste collection results are amongst the best in Germany in terms of weight and quality.  
  • Berne (Switzerland). The city has a population of 127,000 and a selective collection rate of 53%. Two pilot projects with bags of different colours for all fractions are currently underway.
  • Styria (Austria). The more than 1.23 million people who live in this region recycle 72% of their waste. The region has had containers with access control and a weighing system for the domestic rest fraction since 1993, when segregated organic waste collection was also introduced.
  • Veneto (Italy). With a population of 554,000, this city has a recycling rate of 85%, the highest of all the cities participating at wasteinprogress. The city has achieved a rest fraction average of 50 kg or less per person per annum and has set itself a 2022 recycling target of 96.7%.
  • Twente Milieu (Netherlands). Collection is carried out in containers. Rest fraction and organic waste containers have an identification and access system. The recycling rate is 70% and the population is 450,000.
  • Grand Besançon (France). The region has a population of 192,042 and a recycling rate of 68%. It manages the waste from 70 municipalities and waste collection is carried out on a door-to-door basis.
  • Aes-Bord Na Mona (Ireland). This entity serves 100,000 homes and 4,000 commercial establishments, with a recycling rate of 55%. Collection is managed through a system of contracts and direct payment between citizens and specialised private companies.  

Apart from the presentation of international experiences, there will also be a space at the event for entities, municipal councils and state bodies. Amongst others, there will be representatives from the Catalan Waste Agency, municipalities such as Argentona, Riudecanyes, Vilablareix and Canet de Mar, and supra-municipal entities such as the Área Metropolitana de Barcelona. The Municipal Council of Usúrbil in the Basque Country will also be in attendance as guests.

In addition to the case study presentations, #wasteinprogress will remain committed to being a meeting point for professionals in the sector and will feature the participation of companies that can accompany public authorities in the process of enhancing waste management. For this reason, the event is particularly aimed at technical professionals, elected representatives, and municipal service providers. Similarly, the Forum will continue to provide a shop window for business innovation projects, whilst acting as a space to facilitate interaction between public and private sectors.

Following the success amongst the public of last year’s event and the interest aroused within the sector, the organisers indicated their intention to make the content of this year’s event even more ambitious and of even higher quality. The main aim is for the sector to continue seeing the Waste Forum as a great opportunity to gain knowledge and share international experiences.

The objective is for participants to have a clear idea of waste management challenges in a context in which European legislation obliges the implementation of effective environmental policies. Amongst other obligations, Member States are required to implement the following guidelines:


  • To establish the costs associated with municipal waste management.
  • To create incentives for source separation and a change in habits and perception.
  • To implement fairer tax systems based on payment in proportion to waste generation, with special emphasis on the tourism sector.
  • To adapt to the recycling targets set out in European, state and regional legislation.
  • To make tourists and the tourism sector in general co-responsible for the management of the waste they generate.

According to the organisers of the International Waste Forum, Spain is at a turning point in terms of its waste management model. Progress has been made in recent years in the areas of selective collection and waste prevention but the limits have been reached in many cases. This situation, added to new European waste and circular economy legislation, and the rising costs of rest fraction treatment, makes it necessary to reconsider the current waste management model.

The third edition of #wasteinprogress will be held at the Palacio de Ferias, from 09.30 to 17.30 over the three days of the event.