Waste4Think - Moving Towards Life Cycle Thinking by Integrating Advanced Waste Management Systems

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The main objective of this project, coordinated by the Institute of Technology DeustoTech at the University of Deusto, Spain, is to move current waste management practices forward into a circular economy pattern which demonstrates the value of integrating and validating a set of twenty eco-innovative solutions that cover the whole waste value chain.

The benefits of these solutions are enhanced by a holistic waste data management methodology, which is practised in four urban areas in Europe:

  • Zamudio, Spain, is a highly industrialised area with a widely spread population that makes use of a separated kerbside collection system;
  • Halandri, Greece, is a large suburban city with a wide range of businesses with a very basic waste management system;
  • Seveso, Italy, is a residential town that uses a door-to-door collection system;
  • Cascais, Portugal, is an extensive and highly touristic coastal town that has an advanced collection system.

WASTE4THINK is coordinated by the Institute of Technology DeustoTech and structured around nine work packages (WPs) meant to achieve the project’s objectives in an efficient manner.

 

The objective of work package one (WP1) is twofold. On the one hand, this work package describes all the actions and requirements for setting up sites for the project’s pilot activities. On the other hand, it describes the project’s expected impact through its technological and non-technological actions, deployed on its pilot sites.

The main objective of work package two (WP2), “Development of Computer Assisted Integral Waste Management Systems,” is to develop IT tools that support waste managers in operation and planning systems. For this purpose, an appropriate data management platform for waste is deployed to retrieve, store and exploit recorded data. This platform optimises integral waste management holistically by taking into consideration factors such as socio-economic variables, patterns in population generations and geospatial data. Those IT tools provide the building blocks needed to construct the rest of the project’s solutions. Finally, an incentive planning tool is implemented to support the adoption of solutions that are based on the circular economy.

The objective of the third work package (WP3), “Implementation of alternatives for the recovery of high-grade materials,” is to demonstrate, within the context of a circular economy, innovative approaches for waste streams that are currently either handled in a non-optimised way or diverted to landfills. More specifically, the main principles of a circular economy are applied to kitchen waste, disposable nappies and expired food products. This creates products of high value and/or energy and thus decreases their diversion ratio to landfills.

The activities of the fourth work package (WP4), “Creation of Innovative Social Actions,” are to:

  1. define new social actions to promote prevention and citizen empowerment;
  2. implement a set of teaching units and serious games to increase the impact of the social actions and foster mutual learning;
  3. carry out a citizen science activity for the co-creation of innovative solutions based on eco-designs;
  4. design three apps to foster transparency and citizen engagement.

Work package five (WP5), “Definition of new Economic Instruments” defines proper regulations and incentive schemes, at the level of municipalities, aimed at introducing innovative Pay-As-You-Throw (PAYT) systems or other penalty and/or reward schemes effectively.

Work package six (WP6), “Exploitation of Eco-innovative solutions,” identifies and makes use of tools that are ready for the market in order to introduce eco-innovative solutions. These solutions are tested and deployed by the project’s partners, thus facilitating connections with other cities and potential investors who are interested in sustainable urban environments.

The objectives of work package seven (WP7), “Dissemination and Communication,” are to:

  1. implement an ambitious Dissemination and Communication Plan to structure and manage an effective communication strategy and to ensure public coverage of the project’s results at the piloting level.
  2. promote the project by organising various events, participating in top level conferences and fostering cooperation among similar projects to engage citizens, public administrations, stakeholders, the scientific community and other initiatives and platforms in the European Union.

Knowledge and information transfer through multiple channels and networks is centrally coordinated and managed under work package eight (WP8), “Project Management.”

Finally, work package nine (WP9), “Ethics,” defines a set of ethical issues that may affect the project’s activities.

The project’s partners want to create a set of open educational resources for teaching subjects in the areas of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) that enhance people’s understanding of actions in waste prevention in which students can take part. In particular, the following actions are carried out in order to achieve this:

  • A data analysis: to create a detailed product specification.
  • The development of open educational resources in which three different types of resources are created.
  • The development of STEM lesson scenarios about environmental issues: that are prepared based on the principles of inquiry-based learning and the 5E methodology, which consists of five stages – engage, explore, explain, elaborate and evaluate.
  • The development of project scenarios: which are composed as a set of interactive educational project scenarios meant to support teachers with professional methodologies and IT tools. Each project consists of a complete idea for a project, step-by-step instructions and materials with editable tools, such as project cards, timetables and a core curriculum.
  • The development of mobile location-based games: that are based on waste patterns which use data collected through sensors in waste containers in schools and municipalities. The games encourage children to leave their desks and follow sequences of game-based activities in real spaces. Those are then displayed on their mobile devices as maps. Groups of students need to follow a predefined pathway to reach specific places or areas around their schools and complete tasks in the game, while learning more about waste management. This game also enhances the students’ collaborative and outdoor skills.
  • The localisation of the project’s materials into the languages used by the project’s partners and according to the circumstances of local environments.

 

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