After nearly a year since the meeting in Tallinn where the five INTHERWASTE pilot cities presented their ideas and different pieces of legislation they were targeting to modify in order to improve their waste management practices, all the project partner came together again, this time in Porto, to present the achieved progress.
Hosted and opened by the city of Porto and it’s vice-mayor Filipe Araújo, this meeting served as an important one which saw the unveiling of five action plans, carefully developed and tailored to the specific needs and circumstances in the five pilot cities – Tallinn, Krakow, Cordoba, Ibiza and Porto. Mr. Araújo, who is also in charge of innovation and environment, highlighted the fact that it makes him happy to be able to welcome the project consortium in Porto, as it is looking into improving waste management practices while taking into consideration the important limitations imposed by being UNESCO heritage cities at the same time. The meeting saw a diversity of legislative documents, which were identified by the cities to undergo certain adaptations and modifications in order to enable certain changes and new infrastructural, logistical or procedural changes. These documents ranged from strategic plans, waste management plans, and individual laws and other legislative acts.
While most of the improvements are looking at making waste disposal and collection visually less intrusive through buildings and facilities turned into “waste rooms”, several cities also wanted to enhance circular economy principles locally through introducing new pathways for bulky waste (furniture, appliances etc.). “Waste rooms”, already existing in Cordoba allow heritage areas and open spaces to be free of containers, whether underground or above ground, allowing tourists and locals to take advantage of the public space. These rooms host a number of containers for different waste fractions, usually larger than those in the streets, hidden behind a wall with subtle and discrete drawer look-alike opening where locals and tourists can dispose of their waste. The larger capacities of the containers also reduce the number of times trucks need to enter a heritage area. Reuse and repair centers on the other hand is something that few cities saw as an opportunity to enhance their circular economy performances and also involve local communities in these efforts through various socially responsible schemes. Other measures included underground containers or containers with a built-in compactor which allows fewer emptying turns for waste management companies.
The meeting also included few study visits, mainly of the areas the city of Porto identified for the implementation of their new practices in the Ribeira heritage area. The participants could see current waste management practices and what is expected to be brought in by the new action plans. Apart from this important milestone in the project’s lifetime, the project partners also started looking at an even bigger one which would occur in June next year, the Final Conference in Cordoba - something to look forward to!