Technologies 4.0 for smart urban waste management

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Presentation of the European Waste4Think Project

  • The European Waste4Think Project seeks the implementation of information and communications technology in the management of waste generated in urban environments to enable cost savings and promote sustainability.
  • The three-year initiative, led by Deusto Tech, has been allocated funding of 9 million euros.
  • WASTE4think will be developed through four pilot projects located in different European municipalities.

With the goal of moving towards the construction of more sustainable and environmentally-friendly cities, the European Waste4Think Project, which began this week in Bilbao, aims to design smart urban waste management solutions through the use of information and communication technologies.

The project, which has a three-and-a-half year duration and a total budget of 9 million euros, is being led by the University of Deusto Institute of Technology, Deusto Tech, responsible for the design, management and planning of the initiative.

This initiative officially began following the project’s kick off meeting, held yesterday and the day before yesterday (13 and 14 June) at the venue of the University of Deusto, in Bilbao, and in the Basque municipality of Zamudio.

The aim of the meeting was to officially launch the project with partners of the different pilot schemes as participants, as well as to establish the lines of action that will be taken during the project.

The consortium in charge of carrying out the initiative is made up of a total of 19 partners from SMEs, public agencies and universities in Spain, Greece, Portugal, Italy, Denmark and Germany.

The Basque Environment Cluster (Aclima) shall have a leading role in the initiative, overseeing the communication and dissemination of the results of the project, with the aim of facilitating the transfer of the technologies among the participants.

The main objectives of Waste4Think consist of reducing waste generation by 8%; achieving a 20% improvement in the classification of urban waste in order to facilitate its reuse and recycling; reducing waste management costs by 10%; and lowering greenhouse gas emissions by this same percentage (-10%).

The project is structured around the validation, in 4 European pilot schemes, of a total of 20 highly innovative solutions directed towards the monitoring, collection and processing of data in real time, the creation of integrated software tools, the launch of innovative awareness-raising campaigns, the introduction of serious games, the design of mobile applications and the construction of two pilot plants for the treatment of organic waste and nappies with the aim of making progress in the construction of smart cities and laying the foundations of the circular economy.

Among the different solutions which Waste4Think wants to integrate and validate are waste generation prevention initiatives which include actions such as the promotion of the use of reusable nappies or zero waste systems in public administrations, nurseries and schools.

These solutions will be tested in four pilot projects implemented in the village of Zamudio in Spain, the southerly Greek city of Handri, the Portuguese municipality of Cascais and the Italian city of Seveso.

The choice of locations is in response to consideration being given to areas with different levels of industrialisation and different social, demographic and geographic features, as well as the different realities on matters concerning waste management.

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Major model transformation

Waste4Think seeks to promote a major transformation of the model which will enable to stop current management practices towards the establishment of a paradigm based on the principles of the circular economy.

In order to do this, it will search for 20 eco-innovative solutions which will cover the whole value chain through the establishment of a holistic methodology of data management and processing.
The solutions include the development of advanced ICT tools, but also envisages a non-technological dimension which is based on promoting changes in mentality and habits and the assessment of recycling and reuse mechanisms.

Ultimately, it is about creating synergies between the partners with the aim of drawing up scenarios that will enable the implementation of new systems of governance, management of resources and creation of new business models.

In addition to DeustoTech and Aclima, the Waste4Think project consortium consists of ARS Ambiente, the Zamudio City Council, the Halandri City Council (ΔΗΜΟΣ ΧΑΛΑΝΔΡΙΟΥ), the Urban Ecology Agency of Barcelona (BCNecologia), the municipality of Seveso, la Municipal Environmental Company of Cascais (EMAC), Environmental Biotechnologies (EnBio EPE), Green Technologies, Legambiente Lombardia, Moba Mobile Automation AG, the National Technical University of Athens (NTUA), Serious Games Interactive, Softline, the University of Patras and Zabala Innovation Consulting.

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This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement 688995.
The dissemination of results herein reflects only the author’s view and the European Commission is not responsible for any use that may be made of the information it contains.