On 10 October 2018, a bilateral meeting was held in Nice, on the South coast of France. INTHERWASTE partners from Krakow, Porto and Tallinn took part in the meeting. The study visit was focused on giving bulky waste a second life – the circular economy initiative, which was launched just a few months ago at the recycling centre in the Les Moulins district.

Jerome Taverne, a director of the Galice – the association responsible for a technical management of the site – showed participants around the most important parts of the recycling centre and explained how it works. Bulky waste collected in the district is sorted to separate reusable and non-reusable waste. Next, a process of conditioning and repairing is provided to give the waste a new life. Manufactured products made from the waste are exhibited to citizens, who are able to buy them for low prices or in exchange of other items they bring. Since the recycling centre began operating, 80 tons of bulky waste have been collected, of which 5 tons have been transformed into products (a total of 900 products) and subsequently sold or exchanged.

The recycling centre is not only focused on repairing bulky waste, but also serves a wider social purpose. The site employs people who have difficulties in the labour market. Nine out of 12 workers on the site are employed temporarily through an integration programme, providing them with the opportunity to gain confidence in their capabilities of finding a better job. The centre also works to integrate citizens. A botanical and pedagogic garden has been built within the area, which people can bring their plants to, and collect fruits or herbs from. The plants grow on natural compost from nearby composters, so they are 100 % ecological. Volunteers are responsible for the maintenance of the garden.

The centre has also the educational function – it spreads awareness around environmental issues. Nature lessons are conducted on site, so pupils have an opportunity to see the process of planting. Workshops for youngsters are conducted in the workshop of the centre as well. This enables them to find out what recycling is and produce some of their own items from waste, such as robots.

This meeting took place as the 1st phase of the project comes to an end. The next INTHERWASTE meeting will take place in Tallinn on 7-8 November, during which project partners will work on the preparation of their action plans.