On 29 November 2019, lead partner ARRR hosted its first SMART WASTE local stakeholder group meeting. The participants included representatives from Tuscany Region offices, SMEs, public companies, industry, University, and Research Centers.

The meeting started with a brief presentation of the Interreg Europe program and the SMART WASTE project. Hosts were provided, in advance, with a draft evaluation methodology to test Tuscany ERDF OP 2014 - 2020 ability to support innovation in waste management.

Participants agreed upon several key points on ERDF OP support to the SMART WASTE's main topic of supporting innovation in waste management through better local policies. The following key issues were addressed during the meeting:

  • There is a need to support well-established effective technologies and approaches by adapting them to current public policies goals, not focusing on pure research-oriented projects only;
  • EU funding should also support waste management infrastructures investments costs;
  • Check for room to mitigate de minimis aid regulation effect on access to public funding;
  • ERDF should provide support according to private and public companies real needs in term of innovating waste management;
  • Access to ERDF funding should be simplified, with specific reference to administrative procedures;
  • ERDF OP priorities to support innovation in waste management should also include waste prevention, developing a market for goods produced from waste recycling, support education (both in the public and private sector) concerning green public procurements developments and requirements;
  • Approve, through regional law, simplified procedures for operation permits to ERDF funded projects.

The meeting ended with the mutual commitment to further assess if and how SMART WASTE can contribute to ERDF OP current and next programming period, taking into account this meeting results and, moreover, the very near end of the current programming period.