Newsletter october 2012

Miniwaste final conference – Full programme now available!

The Miniwaste final conference will take place in Rennes (France) on 20-21 November 2012. It will exhibit the results of the project and highlight the main tools public authorities can use to address bio-waste prevention on a local or regional scale.

After three years, the Miniwaste project is reaching its end – the perfect time to meet and have a look at what has been achieved! The one-and-a-half-day conference at Rennes will present the project’s outputs and include discussions amongst bio-waste experts and workshops with smaller groups. The participants will also be among the first to test the computerised tool developed to monitor bio-waste prevention activities.

On the first afternoon, participants will get a complete view of what is done in Europe regarding bio-waste prevention, followed by a debate comparing the strengths and weaknesses of various bio-waste management strategies (separate collection, anaerobic digestion, home composting, etc.). During a networking cocktail that will conclude the first day, participants will have the opportunity to try out the computerised tool developed as part of the Miniwaste project.

The morning session of the second day will be 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 computerised tool set up by the Miniwaste partners) and green waste mangement. The afternoon will present the actions organised and the results obtained by Rennes Metropole, Lipor and Brno in mobilising citizens and stakeholders to reduce bio-waste at source on their territory. Eventually, a roundtable will give the floor to public authorities’ representatives in order to discuss strategic choices regarding bio-waste management at local or regional level. A traditional ‘goûter breton’ will wrap up the conference and give the participants the chance to continue their discussions over a selection of local specialties.

The full programme is available on the  Miniwaste website . More information :

The Miniwaste web tool – Getting ready to go!

In order to help cities and regions to assess and monitor the efficiency of bio-waste prevention strategies, Rennes Métropole has been entrusted to develop a computerised tool. Over the summer, Miniwaste partners and other public authorities tested a first version of the tool. Their feedback will allow careful adjustments to ensure that the web tool will be ready to go at the Miniwaste final conference in November 2012.

Main Outlines of the Tool 

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.

The tool has 3 functions:
  • Territory Diagnosis to find out which bio-waste prevention actions are possible and useful on an authority’s territory. The diagnosis relies on the entry and analysis of various indicators: demographic, economic, waste-related, existing prevention practices, etc.
  • Provision of materials and information (scenario sheets, procedural sheets, protocols) to facilitate the implementation of identified actions
  • Collection of indicators to monitor the implementation of each activity, and enable a visualisation of results (graphs).

The First Test Phase

Several volunteering public waste management authorities made use of the summer holidays to test the Miniwaste web tool on their territory. In Phase 1, the participating authorities were invited to test the Diagnosis module, and to provide feedback on the use of the tool (ergonomic aspects) and one or more diagnosis simulations.
In a second test phase, the Results and Monitoring modules will be tried out.

You will be able to try out the computerised tool at the Miniwaste final conference in November.

The tool will eventually be available for download on the Miniwaste website.

Together we can make a difference - Community composting in Europe

The Miniwaste Inventory of good waste prevention practices is a collection of ten European waste prevention initiatives mainly focused on bio-waste reduction. Three of them - from Flanders (BE), Zürich (CH), and Freistadt (AT), respectively - aim at fostering community composting.

Community composting in Flanders, Belgium

The first initiative comes from the region of Flanders, Belgium, and has its origins in 1996. The Flemish Waste Agency (OVAM) facilitates the set-up of community composting parks in districts where residents either cannot compost their bio-waste themselves or where no vegetable, fruit and garden waste collection system is in place. These parks exist in all forms and sizes - from small initiatives to larger ones with more than 100 families participating – and are maintained and cared for by trained volunteers, the so-called ‘key-holders’. In 2008, 69 active community composting parks across 46 local authorities were in place, diverting an annual 2- 15t of organic waste each. The amount of waste fees saved by each participating family can be estimated between €40-80 per year.

A number of preconditions have to be fulfilled to run a community composting park, and this activity requires continuous follow up. The instruments used in Flanders include in particular:

  • a tax incentive (pay-as-you-throw scheme - PAYT) in combination with subsidies to purchase the necessary compost infrastructure and equipment,
  • information: invitation letters for meetings, district meetings, posters in the hall of apartments, brochures, newsletters, billboards, guidelines rules on small boards at the community composting park, training for key-holders and local authorities,
  • monitoring by the key-holders, the Master Composter, and the environmental officer of the respective local authority.

Community composting in Zürich (Switzerland)

In 1992, the Swiss city of Zürich launched a comprehensive community composting programme to promote composting as the most suitable and beneficial solution for disposing of kitchen waste. Together with housing companies, the city provides advice and support to residents interested in establishing a community composting park. Depending on the number of households involved, silos, boxes or heaps are set up in a green area next to apartment buildings where residents can drop off their kitchen waste. Volunteers ensure correct composting and are responsible for the maintenance of the parks. In 2008, over 900 community composting parks were in use, servicing about 21,500 households and producing about 1.42 million litres of compost. The annual added value created by the parks arises up to an estimated €150,000.

The success of the programme is due to the combination of incentives to reduce organic waste (PAYT system) and subsidies that facilitate the creation and set-up of new parks. In order to involve the local population, the provision of information is central to the scheme: invitation letters, feedback meetings, posters, a bi-annual newsletter and copious, precise information across the parks make sure that residents are well-informed and can participate actively. A Compost Advisor offers training and support. Detailed monitoring and research carried out by the city keep track of the scheme and offer suggestions for development.

Farm proximity composting in Freistadt (Austria)

To divert organic agricultural waste from residual waste, the Freistadt municipality (Austria) started establishing farm composting plants fed through a system of selective collection in the early 1990s. The 300 professionally trained farmers treat about 300,000 tonnes of collected organic waste per year, acting as both bio-waste collectors and hosts of composting plants. 70-90 per cent of the compost they produce is used by the farmers on their own agricultural land. Almost half of the total bio-waste generated by the households in the area is treated this way.

Instruments used included in particular contracts and agreements between participating farmers and municipalities, subsidies (to set up and run the composting plants), training courses for partaking farmers, and communication campaigns to raise awareness for bio-waste sorting among the local population.

Take a look at the full inventory to know more about these cases and the other Miniwaste good practices.

Focus on a Partner : Rennes Métropole


Each issue of the Miniwaste newsletter focuses on one of the five Miniwaste partners (Rennes Métropole, ACR+, Lipor, Brno and Irstea). This time, the project coordinator Rennes Métropole, comes under the spotlight.

Rennes Métropole is the urban agglomeration of the city of Rennes in northwestern France. The local authority is responsible for the prevention, collection and treatment of the municipal solid waste produced by the greater area’s 38 municipalities. Committed since 2001 in optimizing waste management Rennes Métropole signed on 25 November 2009 one of the first local waste prevention programmes with the French Agency for the Environment and Energy (ADEME). The objective is to reduce the production of household waste and similar waste by 7% in 5 years.

One of the priorities of the Rennes Métropole Department of Waste Recovery is the promotion of home composting: it is involved in managing several national projects dedicated to minimising organic waste (including cooperation with Irstea on the research and development project ECCOVAL focused on the factors favouring active participation in home composting activities), and has pioneered the installment of composting bins in an urban environment. Since 1995, more than 18,000 composters have been distributed, leading to a 30 per cent composting rate in individual housing. A similar project to encourage community composting was launched in 2006. Two years later, 85 collective compost sites were in place (215 sites today), representing almost 4,000 committed households. For its efforts, Rennes Métropole received the title of showcase site by ADEME within the national programme for the support of home composting (PNSCD).

As leader of the Miniwaste project, Rennes Métropole has impulse the definition and the implementation of three main objectives for the project: the definition of a methodology and tools to reduce the amount of organic waste produced; the creation of a minimisation plan to define communication and monitoring actions on the project; the production of a guide for European municipalities envisaging similar initiatives.

Through Miniwaste, Rennes Métropole expects to raise the percentage of its population aware of the benefits of home composting to 70 per cent. Over 300 collective composting projects will be set up. 5,000 individual compost bins will be distributed. A network of about 1,000 trained inhabitants, including compost masters, will forward the good practices identified by the project partners regarding composting and food waste reduction.

Other projects in Europe

Pre-waste is a three-year project (2010-2012), co-funded by the INTERREG IV C programme of the European Commission. The project aims to significantly reduce waste production and hazardousness, in particular by delivering waste prevention best practices implemented in Europe, indicators and monitoring tools, and guidelines for planning and implementing waste prevention programmes at local or regional level. The results of the project will be presented and discussed during the Pre-waste final conference, to be held on 7 November 2012 in Brussels, within the frame of the European Waste and Resource Days, organized by ACR+.

Green Cook is a project co-financed by the INTERREGI IV B programme (2010 – 2013), which is aimed at reducing food wastage and to make the North-West Europe a model of sustainable food management by in-depth work on the consumer / food relationship thanks to a multisectoral partnership.

ISWM-TINOS is mainly focused on the promotion of the concept of Integrated Solid Waste Management by the development, the demonstration and the implementation of an ISWM System for approximately 100 households of Tinos Island (Greece) in line with the provisions of Directive 2008/98/EC. The ISWM System will include:

  • the setting of a scheme for the separate collection of recyclables (glass, metal, paper, plastic) as well as of biowaste and
  • the aerobic treatment (composting) of the collected bio-waste through a prototype unit which will be designed, constructed and finally set to Tinos Island.

The setting of the system will be based on an Integrated Solid Waste Management Plan developed in the framework of the project and for the specific needs of the selected participating community of Tinos. Moreover, it is in the scope of the project to investigate the possibility of Anaerobic Digestion treatment of biowaste as an alternative of composting treatment. To this end, the anaerobic digestion of the biowaste will be investigated at the operating unit at the premises of the University of Verona in Italy using biowaste which shall acquire the same characteristics with biowaste generated and collected in the selected area of Tinos Island.

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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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