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 are being enhanced by a holistic waste data management methodology based on ICT tools built over FIWARE community. These tools are being demonstrated and validated in 4 complementary urban areas in Europe with different socio-economic and demographic characteristics. This disruptive approach enables Waste4Think to provide a breakthrough solution compared to the current commercial ones in the field of urban waste management.
The most innovative aspect this project presents is the combination of social actions and ICT based solutions that enable the achievement of the following objectives: increase 20% waste sorting rate, 10% of savings in management costs and 10% reduction of GHG emissions.
The overall objective of Waste4Think is to provide local authorities with the necessary tools to turn local economies into zero-waste ecosystems where waste is seen not as a problem but as an opportunity for economic and social growth. We can say it is an opportunity to empower society by encouraging public engagement and by acting as a driver for creating new business models and green jobs as well as new, fairer and more sustainable forms of governance,
The consortium of the project is made of 19 partners from 6 European countries that will work together during 42 months with an overall budget of more than 10M€.