SCOW – Selective collection of the organic waste in tourist areas

Contact:                                                    Marta Vila Gambao                                              Website:

References: more info you can find here, here, here,  here


I recommend to all interested waste management stakeholders to consider analyzing the different outputs of the project, taking into account the vademecum guide, to focus on the different available documents depending on the interest of the reader.

SCOW results & outputs outlines the best strategies, measures and activities to develop an efficient and proper management of food waste in the Mediterranean Basin. SCOW is relevant not only for our „technical” result regarding collection or composting design, it also focuses in educational, organizational and economical strategies to be sure your biowaste management will be successful.”

Marta Vila Gambao – SCOW Technical Coordinator, Environmentalist, Head of Waste Management and Materials Cycle Area Agencia D’ecologia Urbana De Barcelona                     

WHERE: Europe, Implemented in Catalonia (Spain), Corsica (France), Genoa (Italy), Upper Galilee (Israel), Palestine and Malta.
WHEN: Implemented from 2013 to 2015
WASTE MANAGEMENT HIERARCHY: Recycling: Reuse – Reprocessing; Prevention: Replacement – Reduction
TYPE OF INSTRUMENT: Education, information, awareness raising, Infrastructure, Voluntary / promotional (e.g.: business support schemes, green public procurement, infrastructure, fiscal measures)
WASTE STREAMS: Organic residues (garden waste), Cardboard, Plastics, Other metals, Agricultural waste (garden waste), Food and organic waste, Paper, Textiles

About: The best practice SCOW (Selective Collection of the Organic Waste in tourist areas and valorization in farm composting plants), is a 3-year European project (2013-2015) funded by the ENPI CBCMED Program, aiming to develop low cost, technically simple and high quality biowaste collection and recycling models in territories with touristic areas and agricultural activity.

SCOW’s goal is to define an innovative and sustainable biowaste management system through effective collection and waste treatment into decentralized small-scale composting plants, located near biowaste generation sites, and, at the same time, where the compost could be applied.

The envisaged strategy is easily reproducible in other Mediterranean areas, reducing negative impact at source, using simple management of the biowaste collection and treatment.


Main objective: 

The main objective of the project was to develop an integrated waste management system, aiming to develop low cost, technically simple and high quality biowaste collection and recycling models in territories with touristic areas and agricultural activity.

Specific objectives:

1. To develop an integrated waste management system focused on biowaste source separation, ensuring an adequate collection and technologically simple treatment, closing the biowaste cycle by using the obtained compost in the agricultural activity.

Development of high quality & quantity source separation system of biowaste (including complementary prevention practices) available for citizens and for large producers in tourist areas, which will improve their waste management as well as the environmental public image of their activity (enhancing their Corporate Social Responsibility).

Designing and creating decentralized small-scale composting plants, using simple technology, and use (if possible) several agricultural holdings situated near the plants for waste processing. Has also been considered the possibility of giving an added value to the agricultural activity by generating an additional source of income for managing the treatment and selling the obtained compost.

There is the possibility of co-treatment of other agricultural organic flows as well.

2. To involve and empower different stakeholders to ensure the proper application of the project: municipalities, tourist activities, „existing recyclers” and farmers, collection and treatment companies and other complementary agents.

• Contribute to the improvement of the local organizations and tightens relationships between waste management stakeholders’ (with a public and private partnership).
• Enhance local waste management services and organizations at all levels.
• Improve the local environment conditions and local economy, especially agricultural and recycling sectors.
• Create waste management employment and improve the actual working conditions (also for the local existent recyclers involved).

3. Enhance the knowledge and the good practices elaborated by stakeholders involved in the SCOW project

• Guidelines and training programs
• Training, awareness raising and modification of habits of all participants. Training mentors and agents were involved in the collection and treatment processes.
• Active networks enhancing local management expertise for all the involved stakeholders, based on exchanging cross-border knowledge, solving doubts and problems and ensuring the application of good practices and correct results (project advisory and monitoring tasks).


Budget: ENPI CBC Mediterranean Sea Basin Programme (
• Total budget: 4,97 million €
• EU contribution: 4,47 million €
• Period of implementation: From 2013-2015, closed project

Local and regional resources have been used in some pilots / locations.


The achievement of SCOW Project objectives could be assessed by centralizing the outputs and indicators as follows:
• Best practices Database
It includes 14 records with detailed technical and economic information about collection and specially treatment systems using different decentralized composting models with good results and functioning.
• Training protocols, communication materials and info packs: here  and here.
• Handbook for small scale composting facility management
Easy-to-use handbook addressed to staff in charge of the composting plants, aimed at providing with information, indications and recommendations to operate in a proper way small scale composting facilities as well as to facilitate the management of any incidence.
Web-GIS – Monitoring forms
• Manifesto for proper food waste management in the Mediterranean Basin/Policy recommenda-tions. The document outlines the best strategies, measures and activities to develop an efficient and proper management of food waste in the Mediterranean Basin.
You are kindly invited to join the Manifesto initiative via:
Mediterranean Compost Network–  Network of entities involved in biowaste management and treatment in the MED area promoting initiatives aimed at high quality biowaste management and fostering means of communication and interaction among target entities.
Guidelines defining the SCOW model and monitoring
Handbook for compost marketing
Final Vademecum

INDICATORS (for year 2016)
• Number of models implemented: 14
• Municipalities involved: 50
• Citizens involved: 17.719
• Farmers involved: 61
• Large and singular producers: 601
• Tons of biowaste collected and treated: 8.185
• Quality of biowaste: <10%, in some places <2%
• Tons of high quality compost produced: 2.292
• Training sessions done: 94
• Trained mentors:53
• Communication activities: 82
• People informed: 29.269
• Number of agreements: 90
• Jobs generated: 29
Short description of the project and final quantitative results can be found here.

Urban metabolism relevance

SCOW’s goal is to define an innovative and sustainable biowaste management system through effective collection and waste treatment into decentralized small-scale composting plants, located near biowaste generation sites, and, at the same time, where the compost can be applied.

New collection schemes and decentralized small-scale composting facilities have been implemented in Catalonia (Spain), Corsica(France), Province of Genoa (Italy), Upper Galilee (Israel), West Bank (Palestine) and Malta, by the partners: Urban Ecology Agency of Barcelona (lead partner from Spain), Development Agency Gal Genovese (Italy), Local Councils’ Association (Malta), House of Water and Environment (Palestine), Upper Galilee Regional Council (Israel), SYVADEC (France), with the help of the partners MIGAL (Israel) and Environment Park (Italy).

The SCOW project had five associates structures: ACR+ (Association of Cities and Regions for Recycling and Sustainable Resource Management), ARC (Waste Agency of Catalonia), the Rabat SaléZemmourZaer Region, the DjerbaHoumt Souk Municipality and KEPA (Business and Cultural Development Centre). Their role is to diffuse the project results and to share best practices in the fields of biowaste management in the Mediterranean countries.

The project had an important influence on conceiving biowaste management and composting regulations in partner’s countries. Governments have taken into consideration the results of SCOW project when modifying relevant regulations.

Another aspect oriented towards urban metabolism was the CO2 emissions reduction, by using high efficient source separation and treatment of biowaste and climate change issues. Also during the project it has been used a simplified methodology to calculate the CO2 savings, following the use of the targeted strategy.

The project proved that biowaste separation may be applicable in touristic and remote areas, closing the loop for organic waste, without high economic and technological investments, and being an important strategy at country/international level.

Another environmental benefit of the SCOW project is related to soil protection, since high quality compost is obtained and used for gardening and agricultural fertilization.
The researched practice addresses on reducing biowaste disposal in touristic areas, improving land structure and fertility, reducing desertification (applying compost to soils), global warming (avoiding the entrance of biodegradable materials to landfills and capturing carbon in soil) and landfilling capacity needs (reducing waste entrance).

In addition, it will create new economic activity, even at waste collection and treatment sectors and compost selling. The experience would be able to be reproduced in other Mediterranean zones, reducing impacts at source, through a simple management of the biowaste collection and treatment with the idea of self-sufficiency.


SCOW’s goal was to define an innovative and sustainable biowaste management system through effective collection and waste treatment into technologically simple and decentralized small-scale composting plants, located near biowaste generation sites, and, at the same time, where the compost could be applied.

Environmental social actions


Engaged participatory processes

– Local authorities were involved actively during the project development and implementation.

– The local communities have also received the project in a positive way, although some gen-eral attitudes that include doubts and fears were considered normal at the beginning of the pro-ject implementation. This was the reason why each pilot was developed and implemented with minor differences, so as to be best understood by the population.

– The practice have been elaborated and implemented by local authorities, NGOs, research institutes professional associations, policy makers. Empowerment of local authorities and organizations has been a must.

– To implement the new collection and treatment facilities a high number of meetings, training sessions, workshops, etc. have been done. It is absolutely essential to work with the local community to reach high level of consensus and social acceptance of the project, reaching successful results.

– In addition, the project has been disseminated in multiple research articles, participation to conferences, workshops, newspapers, press releases, etc.

– The stakeholders had specific rolls in the project, on designing, evaluation testing, etc., being targeted Policy makers (Ministers: Environment, Tourism, Agriculture, Rural Development, Education), Local authorities and municipalities, Environmental lobbyists, Organic waste producers and citizens, Private consumers, Scientific centers and universities, Experts, practitioners and specialists, Waste management experts, Specialized media

The project have been customized depending on the needs and requirements of each implementation area, focusing on the following territories:

  • Palestinian Authority: The Jericho municipality (East of West Bank/Jordan Valley).
  • Israel: Upper & Eastern Galilee is the major tourist region. In the Upper Galilee Regional Council, there are 29 farming Settlements (“Kibbutes”) with 17.000 inhabitants, with 29 large scale agriculture farms, approximately a few hundred tourist businesses and 31 business of the industry sector.
  • Malta: Malta (composed of three islands) is a popular tourist destination and welcomes more than one million tourists per year. Agriculture is a popular activity and a large amount of the territory of the islands consists of fields and farms.
  • Italy: There are the following zones in Genoa’s Province: the municipality of Genoa, a touristic city, the coastal area of Genoa’s Province of 16 municipalities and Hinterland of Genoa’s Province of 51 municipalities. In the Province of Genoa there are 1.030 farms that operate in different sectors of agriculture (Genoa’s Municipality has the biggest number of farms – 189).
  • France: The Corsican territory is an unusual mix of tourist and agricultural areas. In Corse, there are farms all over the island and quality agriculture has been developed. There are two differenced areas in the island and both are tourist destinations: Balagne (North Corse) and Cinarca-Liamone (South Corse).
  • Spain: Have been conducted a study by Catalonian Government, in 16 areas from different regions developing local composting in small plants, due to their organic fraction production and their rural features. In these zones, there is a significant country tourism as well as beach tourism in the shore locations.
Sustainability and replicability

A strong point for the SCOW project when have been implemented was the sustainability, considering that:

• Had been very good received by authorities and final beneficiaries
• Has a high and wide impact
• Attracted easily local and regional complementary funding.
• The agreements with the local or regional authorities as well as with the bio-waste producers ensure the sustainability of the project.
• The new biowaste management policies that are appearing in partners countries will also reinforce the sustainability of the project.

New ENI program is in part focused to biowaste in similar terms to SCOW basis.

One more important conclusion, regarding project sustainability is that biowaste separation is possible in those touristic areas that are having the potential to provide very good material quality (in order to be able to produce high quality compost).
Compost marketing have not been evaluated in the SCOW project, this is an aspect that will be further assessed.


The project has been implemented on a global scale (in Europe and Asia), being customized for each of the 14 pilots. This creates the premises for a superior replicability of the project.

Success Factors
  • The potential tourist areas and farms must be identified, and a high level of awareness is needed.
  • Local stakeholders involvement and empowerment
  • High quality biowaste source separation (specially with Door to Door collection and compostable bags)
  • Low technology of collection and treatment, so low investment level and low costs for operation of the new systems.
Waste, Resources, Innovation.
Key Challenges

The main challenge of the project has been the calendar constrains.

Much of the allocated time was distributed to administrative procedures (budget changes, interim report, contingency, etc.), there have been bottlenecks when overlapping two procedures; there have been challenges in relationship with final beneficiaries-local authorities:  slow rhythms of Local entities for decision making and implementing actions (such as biowaste collection).


For more information, please check the deliverable, or contact the implementing body.

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