The European project Waste4Think presents itself at the ISWA Congress as a model of Circular Economy in waste management

  • The project is led by DeustoTech and Aclima, and it involves Zamudio (Biscay) together with Halandri (Greece), Cascais (Portugal) and Seveso (Italy)
  • The Word congress of the International Solid Waste Association is held at Palacio Euskalduna from october 7th to october 9th, and it will adress the latest scientifical and technical innovations for a sustainable management of solid urban waste

The European project Waste4Think has presented this Tuesday, october 8th, in a work conference in the context of the International Solid Waste Association (ISWA) world congress that is being held in Bilbao, the latest advances so far, thanks to new technologies and citizen involvement techniques, that are allowing an approach to solid urban waste management which is close to the Circular Economy paradigm. The local municipality of Zamudio is taking part in this project, together with the cities of Halandri (Greece), Cascais (Portugal) and Seveso (Italia), which is exploring different ways in which innovations could be applied to waste management and encourage the 3Rs of Circular Economy (reduce, reuse, recycle).

The work conference has been held at Palacio Euskalduna, and its opening involved the general manager of Spri, Alexander Arriola; the director of Aclima, Olga Martín, and the counselor of the Eco-Innovation H2020 project that fosters the Waste4Think Project, Sotirios Kanellopoulos. Different topics have been addressed during the day, including the impact that food waste has on the environment, strategies for monitoring and evaluating environmental programs, and different existing European projects. The afternoon session was opened by the president of ISWA, Antonis Mavropoulos, and the general manager of the Public Society of Environmental Management (IHOBE), Jesús Losada, took part in the cloruse act.

«Last year, the European Union created a group of 20 experts to define the key factors on which the future European economy strategy should be based; and, amongst them, the experts highlighted the importance of people and of the environment», Arriola explained. He highlighted as well that  on the environment. It is precisely this cooperation, he has remarked, taht s explained the importance of cooperation to get re«this is the first time that a group of experts has placed the environment on the center of their worries», and that, in line with this, in its innovation strategy, the Basque Government contemplates that «advanced manufacturing cannot be dealt with without being environmentally conscious».

For his part, the project officer for Waste4Think, Sotirios Kanellopoulos, has explained the importance of cooperation to get results that have a real impact on the environment. This cooperation, he has remarked, is precisely one of the main strengths of the Waste4Think Project, which has got a very good cooperation level between technology providers and potential customers. Besides, he has highlighted the advances of the project in configurating Pay As You Throw (PAYT) models that really work to reduce waste generation and to improve recycling rates. And, on the other hand, he has spoken of the advances made in the developing of applications and technological solutions that, apart from raising the involvement of citizens, are producing great insight on the factors related with waste generation, so that decissions can be made to make it more efficient.

In this same line, Ainhoa Alonso, head unit at DeustoTech Energy (which leads the project), has remarked that one of the strengths of the Waste4Think project is, precisely, that it is «not just a technological project», buat a «citizen-driven» project that promotes both technology and social innovation.

The director of Aclima, Olga Martín, for her part, has highlighted the importance of working on the promotion of circular economy, one of the baselines of the work that the Basque Environment Cluster (Aclima) carries out in the Basque Country, and one of the key lines of the Waste4Think project.

In regards with Waste4Think, the cities of Halandri (Greece), Cascais (Portugal), Seveso (Italy) and Zamudio have presented their particular experiences and lessons learned in their work to improve urban waste management thanks to new technologies and arising the involvement of citizens.

Halandri started from a rather basic recycling system and is focusing on source separation and selective collection of kitchen and supermarkets waste, as well as disposable nappies in order to produce biofuels and hihg-quality compost. So far, the project has got to decrease considerably the volumen of waste sent to landfill, and it is getting interesting results in biomass production with applications such as compost and energy source.

On the other hand, the residential area of Cascais, near a coastal touristic site, is working on enhancing the efficiency of the waste collection service through the use of RFID keys and sensors, and is studying the impact that Pay As You Throw (PAYT) models have on recycling rates.

As for Seveso, which began the project with very high recycling rates (75%), they have been working on increasing awareness and individual behaviour, and they have introduced measures such as orange bags for nappies and sanitary diapers, or work with waste monitoring technologies. This has allowed them to increase selective waste collection to a rate of 85%.

For its part, Zamudio is working as well on designing a PAYT model that will take into account the different realities in the municipality (residential, commercial, hospitality and industrial). They are working as well on an intensive awareness and evironment educational programme, together with the use of technologies to improve efficiency in waste management and to raise separation and recycling rates.

ISWA Congress

The ISWA World Congress is a global meeting of the International Solid Waste Association (ISWA) which includes high level plenaries as well as technical site visits and a cultural a social programme where waste management profesionales, government officials, industry leaders, policy makers, scientists and young professionals meet to Exchange views and opinions to advance scientific and technical knowledge for sustainable solid waste management.

Since its beginning, the ISWA World Congress has been considered as the industry’s leading solid waste management event. Its 29th edition, which will be held in Bilbao betwenn the 7th and the 9th october, is expected to attract over 1,200 delegates from across the globe.

This year, the congress will be based on a scientific programme which will be focused on sustainable waste management, circular economy and resource efficiency, highlighting the future strategies, new & smart technologies,  landfills and closing dumpsites, waste management in developing countries, waste to energy, waste reduction, prevention, reuse and recycling, climate change, health, urban mining, the problem of marine litter, and environmental responsability, among others.


Waste4Think is a European project, in the context of the European H2020 strategy, which is working for four years in applying new technologies, along with citizen involvement related techniques, to improve urban waste management. Four European cities are taking part: Halandri (Greece), Sevesi (Italy), Cascais (Portugal) and Zamudio. They are different in size, industry level and tourism attraction, so that final conclusions may be extrapolated to the rest of Europe.

The participation of Zamudio is led by DeustoTech and Aclima, and different technological partners are being involved.