Circular Economy in Cities: URBANREC final conference

From 06 November 2019 10:30 until 07 November 2019 12:00

Urban REC 3 ENG

Do you know that about 19 million tonnes of bulky waste are produced per year, 60% of it being landfilled? Although bulky waste is a challenging waste stream, we are far from a consistent approach at EU level to address this issue. Valuable products and materials are lost when they could be kept in the loop of product use and resource efficiency, in particular through reuse, repair, and recycling.
After more than three years of hard work on identifying and testing solutions for bulky waste management, it was time for URBANREC partners to present their answers at the URBANREC final conference held on 6 November 2019 in Brussels.

In the morning, participants took part in a policy dialogue hosted at the European Parliament. Welcomed by ACR+, high-level political figures - MEP Ms Maria Spyraki (EPP, Greece), Mr Antonios Sfakiotakis (Finnish permanent representation), and Mrs Emmanuelle Maire (Head of Unit B1 - Sustainable Production, Products and Consumption at DG ENV) - and representatives of the URBANREC Legal Working Group - Ana Isabel Crespo Soler (AIMPLAS); John Wante (OVAM); Piotr Barczak (EEB); and Sebastien Ricard (PAPREC) - discussed, after the presentation of the URBANREC project by AIMPLAS, the opportunities and barriers focusing on policy & legal aspects related to plastics, textile, and reuse, addressing the clarification of scope and monitoring; the place of reuse and how to facilitate it; and the boosting of the recycling market for non-packaging plastics and non-clothing textiles. The URBANREC legal working group also distributed its policy brief during this policy dialogue.

In the afternoon, participants had the opportunity to dig deeper into the results of URBANREC and the future challenges for the circular economy. After a presentation on research and competitiveness for a circular economy in cities with Marie Yeroyanni (European Commission), Jiannis Kougoulis, (EASME), and Andrea Winterstetter (VITO), the project partners IMOG, RAMPF, ECOFRAG, and IOS-PIB showed their key technical results and how these can contribute to a circular economy. A panel discussion involving the European Commission, Valencia Province, Bornova Municipality, and ACR+ members OVAM and Warsaw Municipality, focused on perspectives for circular economy approaches for bulky waste in cities. The afternoon ended with wrap-up conclusions by ACR+ and AIMPLAS. During the whole afternoon session, a permanent exhibition area was set with regional and technological demonstrators from URBANREC and posters of selected H2020 projects.


The agenda is available in pdf.


Special Working Group on the circular economy in urban areas: the challenges of reuse and recycling of plastics and non-clothing textiles 

On 7 November 2019, ACR+ animated a working group session together with IMOG and ACR+ member OVAM targeting specifically local and regional authorities, to share good practices and help improve their strategies regarding non-packaging plastics and non-clothing textiles. Two parallel sessions took place to address how to develop and implement a step-by-step strategy about re-use and recycling of these two streams. Participants discussed the following issues:

  • Governance: what stakeholders to involve, how and when
  • Targeting and Monitoring: how to set up quantitative targets, how to ensure that accurate data is gathered, how to make the link with climate policy and carbon impact
  • Citizens’ engagement: how to reach non-motivated individuals and move from awareness to commitment
  • Costs: how to make sure that the costs for the municipalities are covered
  • Public procurement: what tools (criteria, assessment tools) can efficiently support the use of public procurement

Experience and good practices from the participants were exchanged and roadmaps for implementation were drafted. The main takeaways are available here.


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