In recent years, technology and innovation have reached the field of waste. They offer an excellent opportunity to improve policies aiming to minimise waste generation and reach resource efficiency. However, the degree of introduction of innovative equipment and practices varies significantly from one territory to another. This is why WINPOL, a new Interreg Europe project, has just been launched. It gathers European cities and regions committed to mainstream the use of intelligent equipment and related waste management policies on their territories and beyond.
The kick-off meeting of the project WINPOL – Waste Management Intelligent Systems and Policies – took place in Gijón (Spain) on 5-6 September 2018, hosted by EMULSA, the municipal company of urban environment services of Gijón and lead partner of WINPOL. The project consortium of this Interreg Europe funded project also includes Mehedinti County Council and Drobeta Turnu Severin City Hall (Romania), SNAGA – the company for waste management and other utility services of Maribor (Slovenia), the Municipality of Heraklion and the Region of Crete (Greece), ERA – the Environment Resources Authority of Malta, the City of Antwerp (Belgium), as well as ACR+ – the Association of Cities and Regions for sustainable Resource Management as advisory partner.
These 9 partners will join forces during 54 months to improve regional and local waste management policies by promoting intelligent equipment and innovative planning derived from it. They will do so in two different phases. During the phase of “Interregional Learning” they will identify good practices, exchange experiences and elaborate action plans on the transfer of good practices and experiences on their territories. All good practices identified will be compiled in a handbook, available to all. Several study visits are foreseen during this first phase to understand the situation on the partner territories and to discover good practices from other cities, namely Bergen (Norway) and Ghent (Belgium). The second phase, “Monitoring of the Action Plan Implementation”, will focus on the implementation of the action plans produced with the aim of improving partners' policy instruments.
The study visits started already during the kick-off meeting in Gijón as project partners discovered the programme and equipment used by EMULSA to support waste management in the city. Among others, partners saw how the itineraries for collection vehicles are planned and how the system to open and collect containers for organic waste is operated through an individual card for citizens. Another study visit was organised by COGERSA, the company for solid waste management in the province of Asturias. After a visit of the highly interactive and visual educational centre, partners got acquainted with the installations of the central landfill for Asturias, learning about its evolution and foreseen projects, focusing in particular on the anaerobic digestion plant.
In the coming months the partners will organise Information Days on their territories to inform local audiences on the project start. These events will be held in the Mehedinti County (Romania), Maribor (Slovenia), the Region of Crete (Greece), Malta, Antwerp (Belgium) and Gijón (Spain). The next meeting of the project partners is foreseen in February 2019 in Brussels (Belgium). Until then, you can follow the project on its website and Twitter.