Newsletter December 2012

A successful closure to the Miniwaste project in Rennes

The Miniwaste final conference took place in Rennes (France) on 20-21 November 2012, in the middle of the European Week for Waste Reduction. Gathering around 170 participants, mainly bio-waste experts and decision makers, the conference exhibited the results of the project and highlighted the main tools public authorities can use to address bio-waste prevention at local or regional scale.

After three years of implementation, the Miniwaste project is coming to an end – a perfect time to meet and have a look at what has been achieved! On the first day of the conference, participants had the opportunity to get an overview of what is done in Europe regarding bio-waste prevention, in particular thanks to an inventory of good practices delivered by ACR+. A debate in which the strengths and weaknesses of various bio-waste management strategies (separate collection, anaerobic digestion, home composting, etc.) were compared showed that there are various good instruments to deal with bio-waste. To conclude the first day, participants were given the chance to try out the computerized tool developed as part of the Miniwaste project.

The second day was very practical and interactive: four workshops covering the issues of engagement of citizens to compost, food waste management, monitoring tools (with a particular focus on the protocols developed by Irstea and the computerized tool set up by the Miniwaste partners) and green waste management took place. Furthermore, representatives from Rennes Métropole, Lipor and Brno presented the actions they organised and the results they obtained by mobilising citizens and stakeholders to reduce bio-waste at source. Finally, a roundtable with public authorities’ representatives discussed strategic choices regarding bio-waste management at local or regional level. Again, it was challenging to choose among the preferred options from the panellists’ interventions as all of them contributed highly to the 3R principle.

The conference highlighted that, despite the fact that no unique practice to address bio-waste existed, efficient tools are now available which help cities and regions to prevent bio-waste, such as good practices, methodologies on bio-waste quantification and quality assessment of compost, and a web tool aimed at helping decision-makers to implement and monitor efficient bio-waste prevention strategies and actions. “Sustainable and long-term changes must be supported by public authorities”, said Jean-Louis Merrien, Vice-President of Rennes Métropole. Considering that European legislation sets waste prevention as the top priority when considering tackling waste, the tools developed within the Miniwaste project can be of great help at local and regional level in order to comply with legislative obligations and to reduce the 200 kg of bio-waste produced on average by each European citizen.

You can have a look and download all presentations given at the conference on the Miniwaste website.

Miniwaste guidelines help cities to address bio-waste prevention

On the basis of the compiled results obtained by the Miniwaste partners during their demonstration actions and the various outputs of the project, Rennes Metropole has issued a guidance document for municipalities who are confronted with the issue of bio-waste. This document provides a comprehensive overview about bio-waste prevention strategies and Miniwaste tools.

What actions to prevent bio-waste in Europe ?

Miniwaste has issued comprehensive methodological factsheets covering the various strategies that can be implemented in a city to reduce bio-waste, targeting specific audiences (households and non-households, restaurants, etc.). There are for example details given how to implement composting initiatives in individual households or at the foot of grouped housing buildings or in public spaces (parks, etc.). Other factsheets are addressing the implementation of awareness campaigns to tackle household food waste or the use of animal feeding or of vermicomposting.

In 2010, ACR+ analysed in detail 10 case studies, 9 of them specifically related to bio-waste, and published them in a Miniwaste inventory of good practices. These case studies include for instance successful examples of home or collective composting schemes in Italy, the UK, Portugal, France, Belgium, Switzerland or Austria, a campaign against food waste in the UK, and a comprehensive scheme to prevent garden waste in Belgium.

The success factors for efficient bio-waste prevention strategies

The guidance document highlights furthermore the importance of building a strong partnership between the public authority in charge of waste prevention and other stakeholders such as households, building managers, associations, other public authorities, etc. A targeted and adjusted communicating is also essential, based for instance on awareness raising movies, goodies (lunch boxes, etc.), as well as on the use of proximity communication channels (exhibition stands, door to door visits, etc.). Finally, projects must provide support to and ensure collaboration from the participants in the bio-waste prevention actions, in particular by providing training sessions, following people practicing individual or community composting, or animating a ‘master composters’ network.

The main steps to prepare and monitor bio-waste prevention actions

A bio-waste prevention strategy should include the following steps:
  • Territory diagnosis
  • Defining the most relevant actions
  • Impact assessment
For all of these steps, the Miniwaste web tool provides significant help. The tool highlights a number of indicators, as for instance the number of the population or the average size of gardens. On the basis of the information provided by the user (or default data in case this information is missing), the tool identifies the most relevant actions to be implemented. Consequently, the tool offers the possibility to follow each implemented action (regarding resource, participation, collected waste, avoided waste, etc.) and to display the results in user-friendly graphs.

The resources needed

Eventually, the guidance document stresses the importance of putting enough resource in the bio-waste prevention action. The document specifically focuses on staff and people working on the actions, and on the budget needed (equipment, communication tools, surveys, training, etc.). For every action the Miniwaste guidance document makes some estimates on the basis of the demonstration actions implemented by Rennes Métropole, LIPOR and Brno on their territories.

The guidelines will eventually be available for download in the “Tools” section of the Miniwaste website.

The Miniwaste web tool gives direction and follow-up to prevent bio-waste

Helping cities and regions to understand what bio-waste prevention actions are the most relevant to their territory and to follow-up the results of their implementation are the goals of the Miniwaste computerised tool. After being tested in several European cities during summer 2012, this webtool has been presented officially during the Miniwaste final conference in Rennes in November 2012.

The computerised tool consists of a set of Excel worksheets and PDF documents. It includes three modules (‘Diagnosis’, ‘Results’ and ‘Monitoring’) to define waste prevention actions and follow their implementation, and the Miniwaste Inventory of good practices as benchmark or a source of inspiration.

In order to make the best use of the tool, it is recommended to lower the security level of Excel ‘macros’ and to read the tutorial first. The tool is multilingual (English, French, Portuguese and Czech) and its parameters are modifiable (for instance in order to allow translation in additional languages, to change the calculation ratios, etc.).

In the Territory Diagnosis module, the user needs to fill in data for 13 indicators for its territory (7 are mandatory, the others can be replaced by default values) and 24 indicators for each sector of this territory (9 indicators are mandatory). For each sector, the tool will provide the percentage of relevance of waste prevention actions and the potential of reduction that can be expected.

The Monitoring module is independent to the territory diagnosis module, meaning that the user can either use the monitoring module to follow-up actions identified through the diagnosis module or monitor actions that have been selected or implemented without using the Miniwaste tool. The last module presents the Results of the bio-waste prevention actions on the basis of the data filled in the monitoring module.

Participants to the Miniwaste final conference had the chance to try out the computerised tool. The tool will be available for download on the Miniwaste website in January 2013.

Miniwaste inventory – Tackling garden and food waste in Belgium and the UK

The Miniwaste inventory is a collection of ten good practices on bio-waste prevention, in particular related to decentralized composting, smart gardening and food waste prevention. These European initiatives can be duplicated by local and regional authorities. In particular, two actions highlighted in the Miniwaste inventory are specifically targeting food and garden waste.

The ‘Love Food, Hate Waste Campaign’ in the UK

In order to reduce the huge amount of food wasted by consumers in the UK each year by changing their shopping and cooking habits, the Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP) launched the “Love Food, Hate Waste” campaign in 2007.

The campaign consists of two pillars:
  1. Raising awareness and enabling action among individuals and households through WRAP actions by revealing the seriousness of the problem and its environmental and financial implications and
  2. Involve relevant stakeholders, and encourage and enable actions by underlining the positive message of change and revealing easily understandable and applicable solutions.
The campaign is implemented by local authorities in their jurisdiction who are supported and assisted by WRAP. The information on the issue is spread via TV and radio advertising, panels, information booths, the campaign website, notice boards and other tools. Trained volunteers (‘love food champions’) organise meetings and courses to share tips, advice, and improve best practices. Other stakeholders, especially retailers and branch organizations, were invited to participate in the campaign by informing their customers about labels, providing guidance on storage, recipes, etc.

Participants in the pilot reduced avoidable food waste by 2.2 kg/household/week (4.7 to 2.5 kg/hh/w), and also became increasingly conscious about the amount of good food they throw away. In January 2009, two years after the launch of the campaign, 1.8 million households were taking steps to reduce food waste, avoiding 137.000 tonnes of food waste and saving of €379 million a year. Major retailers in the UK participate in the scheme.

Detailed information about this food waste reduction campaign, as well as other case studies, can be found in the Miniwaste inventory of good practices.

Closed-Loop Gardening in Flanders (Belgium)

Municipalities in the region of Flanders (Belgium) promote closed-loop gardening for their citizens in both urban and rural areas. The action began in 1992 with the development of a comprehensive home composting programme. Over the years, new and additional aspects of bio-waste prevention were included, expanding the programme to its current form.

Cooperation agreements between the participating municipalities form the basis of the closed-loop gardening programme, while PAYT-systems serve as an incentive to decrease the amount of (bio-) waste given for collection. Furthermore composting courses, home composting demonstration sites, and the distribution of subsidised composting bins ensure that citizens have the capacity to compost. If necessary, 2800 trained volunteers (Master Composters) offer information and assistance. Communication campaigns and events, such as the annual ‘June Compost Month’, were implemented in order to raise awareness on the issue of bio-waste prevention.

The amount of organic waste in the residual fraction dropped dramatically since 1995: from 104kg/inh/y in 1995 to 46kg/inh/y in 2006. While 68 per cent of citizens practise one or another form of closed-loop gardening (home composting, shredding, mulching, keeping chicken, repairing walls, etc.), 41 per cent of them have taken up home composting. As the 2015 target of 42 per cent has thus almost been reached, Flanders now seeks to improve the qualitative aspects of home composting.

More information about the Flemish Closed-Loop Gardening programme and other case studies can be found in the Miniwaste inventory of good practices.

Focus on other projects: Chianti and Grand Besançon on the way to reduce their waste 

Two regional LIFE+ projects are under the spotlight: the “Chianti Waste Less” project in Italy and the “Waste on a diet” project in France. Both projects aim at contributing to the success of the European and national policies on waste prevention and sustainable consumption by offering examples of local and regional waste reduction. These projects will thus provide EU Member States with relevant case studies for the establishment of national waste prevention programmes, due by December 2013 (as prescribed by the Waste Framework Directive).

Chianti Waste Less

The aim of this project is to implement and monitor an integrated waste prevention and reduction programme in a significant territory, internationally known as Chianti (Province of Florence). The programme implementation is also based on the mobilisation and the encouragement of a broad range of local stakeholders and the public. By taking up action they are furthermore demonstrating to other territories that waste reduction and sustainable development could be effectively achieved by means of integrated and participated approaches and concrete commitments, actions and tools.

During the 40 months duration (September 2010 – December 2013) of the project it is expected to achieve the following results:
  • Reducing municipal waste sent to landfill or incineration by 15% in 5 years;
  • Reducing municipal waste production by 30 kg per capita in 2 years, by a further 30 kg per capita in 5 years, and eventually achieving a reduction of 100 kg/inhabitant by 2020, some 15% compared to 2007;
  • Lowering CO2 emissions produced in the Chianti territory
In order to achieve these ambitious targets, seven partners have teamed up in this LIFE+ co-funded project: Province of Florence (lead), Environment Italy, Safi (waste management company of Chianti), Municipality of Barberino Val d’Elsa, Greve in Chianti, City of San Casciano Val di Pesa, and City of Tavarnelle Val di Pesa.

Together, the partners set up a project action plan consisting of four components:
  1. 1.Implementation of a waste prevention and reduction programme in the Chianti territory :
  1. Des actions partagées et concrètes de prévention et réduction des déchets au moyen d’un engagement  et d’une  coopération efficaces entre acteurs ainsi que par la promotion de changements dans le  style de vie des citoyens,
  2. Management and incentives tools: revision of collection schemes, accounting systems, collection fees, regulatory frameworks
  3. Promotion of the use and marketing of recycled materials
  1. Evaluation of the effectiveness of the integrated programme by developing a monitoring-tool out of the results gained from the implementation of the different actions;
  2. Establishment and consolidation of a local stakeholders pool with the competence needed to guarantee the implementation and the success of the project actions;
  3. Communication and dissemination of the project results on a local, Italian and European level thanks to the involvement of different strategic partners and international networks of local authorities (such as ACR+ and ICLEI)
Read more about the Chianti Waste Less project and subscribe to the project’s newsletter on the Chianti Waste Less website.

Waste on a diet

The project entitled “Waste on a diet” (July 2012 to June 2015) aims to reduce waste, increase re-use and recycling, and to limit the incineration and storage of waste in both rural and urban areas. This project is based on an important local issue: one of the two local incineration plants is getting old. As a consequence, the local elected representatives have decided to look for alternatives which avoid having to replace it. Moreover, the project will address two specific targets: collective housing and rural waste recycling facilities.
In order to reach the above mentioned objectives, the project will concentrate on a number of activities around two major axes:
  1. Limiting waste (reduction of 25% in five years) and treating organic waste locally
  2. Increasing material and organic waste recycling at Household Waste Recycling Centres (increase of 17% in five years)
More specifically, the project includes the following actions:
  • Support for waste disposal management in collective housing
  • Awareness-raising campaigns for waste prevention in collective housing
  • Development of local composting facilities in group housing
  • Optimisation of household waste recycling centres
  • Development of a dismantling centre for bulky objects
  • Communication and publicity (in particular using various networks like ACR+, AMORCE, etc.)
The “Waste on a diet” project concerns the whole zone covered by the SYBERT authority and a population of 230,000 inhabitants. 100,000 of whom are concentrated in an area of 30 square kilometres while the rest is spread over an area of 1500 square kilometres.
Find out more information about the “Waste on a diet” project on Grand Besançon’s website.

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What is Miniwaste

a 3-year European project funded by the LIFE+ programme of the European Commission that aims to design, implement and assess an innovative and sustainable strategic plan to MINImise municipal organic WASTE in EU countries, up until 2012.

With the financial support of the LIFE+ Programme of the European Commission

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