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.