NAME OF BEST PRACTICE:
WHERE: Rennes Metropole (France), Brno (Czech Republic) and Lipor (urban area of Porto, Portugal)
WASTE MANAGEMENT HIERARCHY: Prevention& Recycling
TYPE OF INSTRUMENT: Educational & Voluntary
WASTE STREAMS: Organic residues (garden waste) & Food and organic waste
About: Miniwaste was a European project meant to develop methodologies for organic waste management. It aimed to demonstrate, in accordance with Waste Framework Directive 2008/98/EC, that it was possible to significantly reduce the amount of organic waste (food and green waste) at the source in a mastered and sustainable way, and to monitor actions for waste reduction in an efficient and helpful manner. The aim was to design, implement and assess an innovative and sustainable strategic plan to minimize municipal organic waste in EU Member States.
- The main objective was the implementation of the demonstration projects at different scales in Rennes Métropole, Brno and Lipor.
- Development and implementation of a set of monitoring procedures in order to assess the quantity of composted waste and the quality of the compost produced, in compliance with the EU standards, and to compare the efficiency of different possible kinds of compost bins. The main goal was to provide citizens and local authorities with flexible solutions well adapted to their needs.
- Dissemination of the deliverable and the results obtained by the partners in order to provide key guidance for European authorities being confronted with this issue.
- Knowhow: provided by local authorities having experience in composting (Rennes Metropole and Lipor) and by Irstea (research entity providing answers to the specific questions concerning resource management, land use and development).
- Funding: the project was funded by LIFE+ programme: Total budget amount: 2.289.402 EUR (out of which EU contribution 1.126.626 EUR).
- Human resources: 6 technical experts, around 15 team members
• According to the different studies, between 300 and 800 kg of municipal solid waste is generated each year by each inhabitant of Europe.
• Of this amount, between 100 kg and 250 kg is organic waste; where 10% of this organic waste can be avoided by limiting food waste (eco-shopping, eco-cooking, and eco-behavior) and almost 30 to 70% can be composted, including at source (see ACR+ “-kg” campaign).
Taken measures: Rennes Metropole, Lipor and Brno have developed comprehensive strategies to reduce bio-waste at source on their territories:
• These strategies cover in particular the distribution of individual composter bins to citizens, the promotion and support of collective composting sites (in household buildings, schools, etc.), and the development and running of composting demonstration sites.
• The three cities/region are also supporting networks of composting guides and assistants, who will be able to promote composting and train citizens on how to compost.
• Other activities at pilot (test) or large scale include in particular indoor composting with witness households weighing their bio-waste and fight against food waste in restaurants and schools.
• a compilation of ten good practices on composting extensively described in terms of process, success factors and challenges
• three kinds of monitoring procedures (protocols) on the basis of research performed in the field and in the lab: assessment of the effect of composting on waste quantity, assessment of composters used for community composting and assessment of compost quality.
• a web tool developed and tested in 2012 in order to help cities and regions to assess and monitor the efficiency of bio-waste prevention strategies implemented on their territory.
• Over the duration of the Miniwaste project, 3,667 composter bins were sold by Rennes Métropole and 2,128 composter bins were sold in garden centres in 2010 and 2011. Thus a total of 5,795 composter bins were purchased in the area. The objective of selling 5,000 composter bins in three years was achieved.
Urban metabolism relevance
The project emphasized the efficiency and sustainability of awareness actions by offering a better way of controlling waste prevention using computerized tools and analysis software to understand people’s behaviors, simulate and interpret different scenarios, to analyze costs in detail and to define more accurately the real gains in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The project has promoted the idea of circularity in the use of resources, joining municipalities across the continent and acting as an innovator and demonstrating the material flows in the hands-on approach of circular economy, closing the loop on organic waste trough individual and large scale composting of organic waste.
The set of tools used in the project activities shows a holistic approach and evidence based decision making, taking into account material flow analysis. The production of waste is increasing, as economy and population grow. Meanwhile, the capacity of existing facilities to treat waste is often reached. Under these circumstances, the bio-waste constitutes one of the main waste flows targeted for prevention and reduction actions.
Through efficient use of analysis and informational tools, MiniWaste project proves that a significant quantity of bio-waste can be increasingly diverted from landfills and can be re-used (as fertilizer in agriculture) thus closing the loop on resource use.
Engaged participatory processes
The project results were reached by:
– Encouraging the practice of collective or individual composting for food waste and green plant waste (grass, leaves and small branches);
– Developing sustainable gardening practices (mulching and grinding) for green plant waste;
– Supporting food waste reduction initiatives.
The Project had an extended participatory approach, with direct involvement in the process from different types of stakeholders – municipalities, citizens, technical experts, private companies, research institutions etc.. Moreover, a large number of meetings, trainings, visits, interviews, questionnaires, discussions took place over the implementation period. Several participatory actions, focused on prevention and reduction of organic waste at source have been taken, promoting behavioral changes. The demonstration programmes have been implemented in 3 different EU States (France, Czech Republic and Portugal), both at pilot (Brno) and large scale (Rennes Métropole and Lipor).
The participation of ACR+ in this project ensured the access to an extended engagement process. Association of Cities and Regions for Recycling and sustainable Resource management (ACR+) is an international network of members who shared the common aim of promoting the sustainable consumption of resources and management of waste through prevention at source, reuse and recycling. It currently has nearly 100 members, mainly local and regional authorities as well as national networks of local authorities representing around 1200 municipalities.
MiniWaste has been launched for the purpose of designing, implementing and assessing innovative and sustainable strategic plans to minimize municipal organic waste in EU member states. The project benefit by the experience of municipalities that already have used innovative bio-waste reduction techniques. Moreover, it used training techniques for involved citizens and ensured their engagement while contributing to the composting process in their households, understanding their responsibility towards the environment. The practice has a clear focus on the social aspects, promoting demonstrated economical, sustainable solutions for organic waste.
Sustainability and replicability
Reducing organic waste can mainly be obtained by limiting food waste and by practicing collective or individual composting of food and green waste (grass, leaves, and small branches). These actions can be easily implemented by each and every citizen, do not involve special funding, but mostly self-discipline and time.
Moreover, taken into account that almost 6000 individual composters were sold and it used training techniques for involved citizens, the project ensured the sustainability of the entire process, with measurable outcomes. The project results could be easily replicable to other municipalities, the aim of the project was to test different scenarios, to promote at least 10 easy to use best practices in the field of home composting and it was tested, the results achieved demonstrate the impact of the project. Miniwaste project also developed a tool which aims to support communities in charge of waste prevention on their territory, to define, implement and evaluate actions to reduce organic waste.
Within the framework of the Miniwaste project, ACR+ was responsible for developing an inventory of knowledge – and therefore to identify and describe good practices regarding bio-waste prevention in Europe that could be duplicated by local and regional authorities.
Rennes Métropole (RM) has a huge experience in promoting home composting. Since 1995, more than 15.000 composters have been distributed to citizens. At present, 30% of the inhabitants in individual housing compost their biowaste. Following the success of home composting, RM launched a project for community composting in 2006. Two years later, 85 collective compost sites are in place representing almost 1.000 committed householders.
To improve knowledge about composting and for a better understanding of the actual situation (in terms of awareness, necessary improvement of composting equipment and process), RM has developed a partnership with Irstea organization, under the program Eccoval “Towards greater citizen engagement for composting and use of their household waste” funded by the Brittany Region. Miniwaste as demonstration project constitutes the logical follow up of this R&D project.
Furthermore, the strong partnership and committed to the goal municipalities involved in the project are considered key factors of success. The solutions provided by the project were carefully designed to ensure sustainability, involving citizens in the decision making process.
Composting is a process that takes time and space is a key factor. Moreover, a dissemination campaign and clear commitment of the local authorities is another key element. Another important challenge for some countries is related to a clear legislation on composting. This particular project aimed at achieving multiple results and had some challenges related to budget and citizens involvement. It overcame those challenges with the support of partners and technical experts who identified the best solutions for individual cases.
For apartments, an innovative solution has been adopted in Portugal in this respect – composting in apartments using electrical composting machine.