Technologies 4.0 for smart urban waste management

Technologies 4.0 for smart urban waste management
The European Waste4Think Project seeks the implementation of information and communications technology in the management of waste generated in urban environments to enable cost savings and promote sustainability

With the goal of moving towards the construction of more sustainable and environmentally-friendly cities, the European Waste4Think Project aims to design smart urban waste management solutions through the use of information and communication technologies.

The project, which has a three-and-a-half year duration and a total funding of 9 million euros, is being led by the Deusto- Tech – the Institute of Technology, responsible for the design, management and planning of the initiative.

The consortium in charge of carrying out the initiative is made up of a total of 19 partners from SMEs, public agencies and universities in Spain, Greece, Portugal, Italy, Denmark and Germany.

ZABALA Innovation Consulting is member of the consortium of Waste4Think and shall have different roles in the initiative mainly related to the exploitation of results, managements, as well as dissemination and communication activities, with the aim of achieving and improving the results expected for the project.

The main objectives of Waste4Think consist of reducing waste generation by 8%; achieving a 20% improvement in the classification of urban waste in order to facilitate its reuse and recycling; reducing waste management costs by 10%; and lowering greenhouse gas emissions by this same percentage (-10%).

The project is structured around the validation, in 4 European pilot schemes, of a total of 20 highly innovative solutions directed towards the monitoring, collection and processing of data in real time, the creation of integrated software tools, the launch of innovative awareness-raising campaigns, the introduction of serious games, the design of mobile applications and the construction of two pilot plants for the treatment of organic waste and nappies with the aim of making progress in the construction of smart cities and laying the foundations of the circular economy.

Among the different solutions which Waste4Think wants to integrate and validate are waste generation prevention initiatives which include actions such as the promotion of the use of reusable nappies or zero waste systems in public administrations, nurseries and schools.

These solutions will be tested in four pilot projects implemented in the village of Zamudio in Spain, the southerly Greek city of Halandri, the Portuguese municipality of Cascais and the Italian city of Seveso.

The choice of locations is in response to consideration being given to areas with different levels of industrialisation and different social, demographic and geographic features, as well as the different realities on matters concerning waste management.

Major model transformation

Waste4Think seeks to promote a major transformation of the model which will enable to stop current management practices towards the establishment of a paradigm based on the principles of the circular economy.

In order to do this, it will search for 20 eco-innovative solutions which will cover the whole value chain through the establishment of a holistic methodology of data management and processing. 

The solutions include the development of advanced ICT tools, but also envisages a non-technological dimension which is based on promoting changes in mentality and habits and the assessment of  recycling and reuse mechanisms.

Ultimately, it is about creating synergies between the partners with the aim of drawing up scenarios that will enable the implementation of new systems of governance, management of resources and creation of new business models.

In addition to DeustoTech and Aclima and ZABALA Innovation Consulting, the Waste4Think project consortium consists of ARS Ambiente, Zamudio City Council, Halandri CityCouncil (ΔΗΜΟΣ ΧΑΛΑΝΔΡΙΟΥ)l’Agència d'Ecologia Urbana de Barcelona (BCNecologia)Comune di SevesoEmpresa Municipal de Ambiente de Cascais (EMAC), Environmental Biotechnologies (EnBio EPE)Green TechnologiesLegambiente LombardiaMoba Mobile Automation AGNational Technical University of Athens (NTUA)Serious Games InteractiveSoftline, and University of Patras.