On 1 December 2021 the SMART WASTE partners from Tuscany, Apeldoorn and Kolding gathered online for a new meeting of the SMART WASTE Focus Group, the last of the year. By continuing to share practices and expertise on innovation in waste management, those meetings not only support the interregional exchange of experiences at work in the project but also contribute to the ongoing development of the SMART WASTE draft Action Plans.

The meeting covered several topics: municipal food and green waste separate collection and recycling, proper management of wastewater sludge, circular economy of waste from construction and demolition activities.

Regarding municipal food and green waste separate collection, the main topic discussed was effective ways to overcome the difficulties to develop a separate collection in high-rise buildings, which commonly lack physical space to host bins for separate collection of such waste. A well-established tool, in Tuscany, is home composting, where possible. In Denmark, on the contrary, home composting is not welcomed because of heavy investment in anaerobic digestion plants which need to be fed with both food and green waste. In Apeldoorn, a simple and effective solution, among others, is the use of small collection points in the neighbourhood where citizens can bring garden leaves for collection.

On wastewater sludge management, a common issue in both Italy and Denmark is how to deal with pollutants in such waste and which technologies are apt to treat such pollutants (heavy metals, micro plastics etc.), for instance anaerobic digestion versus waste-to-energy.

Last but not least, participants of the focus group exchanged experiences on the management of construction and demolition waste (C&D waste).

In Tuscany, and in Italy overall, a good network of private recycling plants for C&D waste is operating with good results, in terms of EU recycling targets. The main barrier for the sector is the underdevelopment of end-markets for recycled materials. For example, Green Public Procurement in that case is mandatory for the public sector on a national level but may prove difficult to put into practice, especially for small municipalities, due to public expenditures restrictions.

In Denmark there is still some resistance from the private sector to develop good practices such as selective demolition, since such an approach may prove cost-ineffective depending on the case.
Apeldoorn shared the good experience of the municipality in reusing construction and demolition waste for public purposes.

Photo by Randy Fath on Unsplash