The URBANREC project enables activities to be carried out that show how to manage bulky waste better in four European regions (the Province of Valencia, Spain; Flanders, Belgium; Warsaw, Poland; and Izmir in Turkey).

The URBANREC project has managed to get the most relevant parties in the waste management chain in Europe involved and has also enabled different countries with very different recycling percentages to exchange their experience and expertise.

The Plastics Technological Institute in Valencia, AIMPLAS, coordinates the URBANREC project, in which 21 European entities are taking part, including small and big companies, research centres and public administrations.

As part of the Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme, the European Commission has chosen to fund the European URBANREC project. This new model for managing bulky waste, in which seven European countries are taking part, will receive €8 million in order to introduce it from 2016 to 2019.

Spain is represented in the URBANREC project by public bodies such as the Valencia Provincial Government (Diputación de Valencia) and the Valencia Inland Consortium (Consorcio Valencia Interior); and private entities such as the companies Ecofrag, Colchones Delax and Blueplasma Power.

Ecofrag has successfully managed the following types of sold waste:

  • Mattresses (foam, springs and latex).
  • Mixed furniture.
  • Wood.
  • Plastics.

OTHER DATA ABOUT THE PROJECT

Budget:
This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme via the grant with project no. 690103.
European Contribution (86%) €8.618.970,39

Implementation deadline
42 months (2016-2019)

Eighty per cent of Europeans currently live in urban areas that generate a great amount of waste and consume a lot of resources. It is essential that cities and towns get involved in order to reach the environmental sustainability goals on a global level.

Waste management has become an environmental challenge for local European authorities, especially as regards waste for which there are currently no profitable valorisation methods, such as bulky waste (furniture, mattresses, bed frames, upholstered items, gardening equipment).

Out of the 19 million tons of bulky waste collected every year in Europe, more than 60% ends up in landfills. The main causes of this situation are the difficulties in finding end-uses for the waste treated, the high management costs, logistics problems and a lack of specific legislation.

In order to find solutions to this environmental challenge, a European project has been launched known as URBANREC - New approaches for the valorisation of urban bulky waste into high added-value recycled products.

Expected results:

  • A 50% reduction in total bulky waste dumped within the four areas under study: Spain (Valencia), Belgium, Poland and Turkey.
  • Valorisation of 80% of the bulky waste handled, with an estimated profit of 225.6 euros/ton.
  • A 15% improvement in the re-use of bulky waste in the regions being studied by creating a network of social companies and non-profit associations.
  • A 20% cut in CO2 emissions resulting from the management of bulky waste,which prevents it from being dumped or incinerated.
  • Improved management of bulky waste in the recycling centres and strategies for sorting at source, cutting costs by 30%.
  • Development of high-value recycled and renewable products; additives to produce biofuel, adhesives, textiles and foams to manufacture mattresses, plastics and wooden materials to make street furniture.
  • The introduction of awareness-raising campaigns, reaching 12,000 citizens in the province of Valencia.
  • Plans for steps to compensate citizens in order to encourage re-use and recycling of bulky waste in urban areas.

Examples:

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