Report: Prevention and Recycling of Urban Waste

An Inventory of Approaches in 18 European Cities

Did you know that Europe produces 930 million tonnes of waste per year, including 132 million tonnes of household waste 1 ?

These 132 million tonnes of household waste, piled 30 metres high, would fill 1,000 football fields! In 1990, 68% of municipal waste was landfilled and 18% incinerated. In 1975, the Community Institutions began to introduce policies and measures to improve waste management. For example, the Member States were required to draft waste management plans and to introduce policies for prevention, recovery and recycling, with incineration and landfilling considered less desirable solutions (for a description of the Community regulatory context, see page 22).

Cities, where population density and therefore production of waste are higher, play an essential role in the management of municipal waste. For this reason, two networks of European cities - ACR+ and Energie-Cités - along with Agrital Ricerche, an Italian research and study centre, jointly presented a proposal to the European Commission (DG Environment) for a project intended to increase awareness on the part of local authorities and the media in four EU Member States - Spain, Italy, Ireland and the UK - concerning the need to elaborate local waste management strategies. This project is based on the experience of the REMECOM network (European Network of Measures for Classification of Household Waste; see page 2) as an example of exchanges between cities regarding methods of analysis and measurement of the volume of household waste at local level.

Media-Com : a means of increasing awareness and a collection of examples of "good practice"

ACRR has participated in the MEDIACOM project, co-ordinated by Energie-Cities in the framework of a convention with DG Environment.

The report "Prevention and Recycling of Urban Waste : An Inventory of Approaches in 18 European Cities"  was published in English, French, Italian and Spanish in January 2000.

The final publication has been sent to ACRR members and to municipalities and local authority representatives mainly in Spain, Italy, UK and Ireland.

You can download the publications free of charge:

As a result of this proposal we have produced Media-com, a method for raising awareness of waste management based on descriptions of "good practice" in 18 cities in eleven countries of the EU. Some of these cities participated in the REMECOM network and adopted its methodology, while others chose to remain independent of REMECOM, in hopes that their own waste management practices could serve as an example to others. All these practices are described in an attractive, non-technical style and are supported by statistics and simple technical information, as well as illustrations. This document, which could also be termed a collection of "good practices", constitutes a source of information and ideas for local authorities and the media. We sincerely hope this document is a positive contribution to all initiatives taken in Europe to improve local management of household waste and thereby to promote integrated and sustainable urban development.

1 : Figures for 1990 Source : Commission Communication on a re-examination of the Community strategy for waste management - COM (96) 399 final.

For more information, you can freely download the full table of contents here:

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For non-members, the report can be ordered by filling in the form. You will receive the report after payment of the invoice. See price list here.