18 Dec 2019                      COLLECTORS Newsletter #4


Ending the year on the right foot

The COLLECTORS project has come a long way in 2019, its penultimate year. Early in 2019, the Consortium wrapped up the first of three phases of the project, devising two helpful tools for waste management practitioners: an online database of almost 250 waste collection systems and a library of sources about the collection systems included in the database.

Next, we picked and analysed 12 case studies of best practices in waste collection, looking at their economic, environmental, social acceptance, and value chain implications. The case studies highlighted the fact that improving municipal waste collection leads to an overall lower environmental impact, while keeping net costs stable and a high level of satisfaction for residents.

More recently, we launched the implementation phase – the last one – of the project in autumn 2019 in order to channel the knowledge we have accumulated into guidelines for the implementation of waste collection systems and policy recommendations. Thus far, preliminary discussions organised with representatives of European cities and regions has enabled the Consortium to better understand their expectations.

Throughout the year, we have communicated within the Consortium and engaged with external stakeholders in order to validate our findings at two Regional Working Group meetings and public conferences: in Warsaw in June and, more recently, in Thessaloniki in December.

The latter gathering focused on finding pathways to transition from municipal waste management systems to circular economy strategies. The conference presented the challenges faced by Greek municipalities, as well as the new strategy implemented by the city of Thessaloniki to overcome them. It also highlighted the fact that municipal waste management systems need to transition to more market-oriented strategies that better align with the need of the recycling industry for higher quality applications.

The Consortium is thankful not only for the quality of the presentations and discussions, but also for the coverage that the event enjoyed. Thanks to our host – the municipality of Thessaloniki – and to ReWEEE project, our co-organisers, we were featured on television in Greece. This means that our work is reaching a wider public than the pool of experts and policymakers with whom we normally work.

All in all, 2019 has been a busy, but fulfilling year. But that is not to say that we will rest on our laurels in 2020, for we are working on a few more initiatives before our final conference in June: the publication of the implementation guidelines, as well as three webinars highlighting the main findings of the project in a practical way.

Before we embark upon all this, however, we will take a break during the holidays to reflect on what has been done and recharge our batteries for what is awaiting. On that note, we would like to wish all the project stakeholders, supporters, partners, and followers a very Happy Holiday Season and a fulfilling New Year! The COLLECTORS Consortium thanks you heartfeltly for your invaluable contributions to our project. We hope to be able to count on your support in 2020 and to see as many as you as possible at our final conference in Brussels.


Fourth COLLECTORS public conference discusses challenges and opportunities for waste collection systems

On 11 December, the COLLECTORS project organised its fourth public conference in collaboration with the ReWEEE project. The conference was opened by Nikolaos Zeimpekis, City Councillor in charge of waste management at the Municipality of Thessaloniki, which was also the host of the event. The overall focus of the event was how to transition from municipal waste management systems to circular economy strategies.

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Experts analyse local decision-making processes at fourth RWG

The fourth Regional Working Group (RGW) meeting of the COLLECTORS project was held in Thessaloniki on 10 December. Nine experts representing eight European regions participated in the workshop. The aim of the meeting was to discuss and to analyse the decision-making challenges related to improving waste collection systems at the local level.

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Ramboll advises the EC on reducing the environmental impact of plastics

A team of experts led by Ramboll is supporting the European Commission in an 18-month project to prepare guidance documents and implementation actions for Member States following the adoption of the new EU Directive 2019/904, on the reduction of the impact of certain plastic products on the environment.

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VTT to lead research project on recyclable and compostable electronics

VTT, together with a dozen partners, will research the potential for developing recyclable and compostable electronics and optical materials using renewable resources as part of a two-year project. Funded by Business Finland to the tune of €4.2 million, ECOtronics aims to develop materials that can be safely recycled, composted, or even that decompose in nature.

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EUROCities and Oslo launch Plastics Declaration

EUROCITIES and the city of Oslo have launched a Plastics Declaration committing cities to curbing plastic use and developing a strategy to significantly reduce plastic waste by 2021. The declaration has 23 signatory cities to date.

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The city of Oslol. Source: Christoffer Engstrom/ Unsplash

ACR+ kicks off carbon campaign for public authorities

On November 19, ACR+ launched a campaign titled “More circularity, less carbon”, which aims to help cities and regions connect their circular economy strategies with their climate change mitigation efforts. To kick off the campaign, ACR+ hosted a panel discussion in Brussels that coincided with the European Week for Waste Reduction (EWWR).

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Repic (UK): Closing the gap between WEEE projections and actual collections

Repic, the UK’s largest WEEE producer compliance scheme and a member of COLLECTORS project partner WEEE Forum, has published a report titled Understanding WEEE and EEE flows to support implementation of policy objectives. Exploring the scale of potential WEEE available for reuse and recycling, the report can be accessed online.

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Circular economy underpins much-anticipated European Green Deal

On 11 December, the European Commission unveiled the European Green Deal – a comprehensive set of measures that illustrates the vision of the institution for a climate-neutral continent by 2050. The document comprises a series of 50 steps to be undertaken in seven areas in order to mitigate the EU’s environmental and climate impact.

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World's largest polluters set up $1.5bn fund to improve waste collection in SE Asia

The Alliance to End Plastic Waste, a consortium of companies comprising 30 of the largest polluters in the world, has set up a $1.5bn fund to improve waste collection and recycling in developing countries. The focus will be South-East Asia, which is the destination for much of the world’s exports of recyclable materials and where the problem of plastic leakage into waterways is at its most severe.

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Waste collection and transport in new EU green taxonomy report

Part of the EU’s efforts to establish a so-called green taxonomy – that is, investment guidelines and criteria to channel private investments in sustainable practices and sectors – a technical report looking at the potential activities and sectors to be included in the taxonomy was published in June 2019. On 5 December, EU negotiators agreed on the key activities to be included in the taxonomy, deciding, crucially, to exclude gas and nuclear energy.

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Report of recommendations for improvement of single systems and optimum operations conditions of waste collection systems

This report provides the environmental assessments of 12 case studies on waste collection in Europe using the life-cycle assessment method devised by COLLECTORS. It analyses how improving muncipal waste collection can reduce the environmental impact for the three waste fractions covered by the project.

Read the report


COLLECTORS Final Conference
June 2020
Brussels, Belgium

European Union logo This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 776745.
The sole responsibility of this publication lies with the author. The European Union is not responsible for any use that may be made of the information contained therein.
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