Logo : R4R Regions For Recycling

ACR+ report on bio-waste selective collection


In the framework of its Observatory on waste management performance, ACR+ published in 2016 a report analysing several bio-waste selective collection schemes in Europe.

The report builds on the work done by ACR+ and several of its members in the R4R project, and provides quantitative data about bio-waste collection in 6 territories using DREC methodology. The report also compares bio-waste collection practices from these 6 territories.

The territories covered by the report are the following:

  • Catalonia, Spain
  • Flanders, Belgium
  • Lisbon, Portugal
  • Milan, Italy
  • Southern Region, Ireland
  • Styria, Austria

This report aims to provide cases about how some cities and regions selectively collect and treat bio-waste, with the view to help other territories to set up their own bio-waste selective collection strategies. According to calculations from the European Topic Centre on Sustainable Consumption and Production (ETC/SCP), in 2008–2010 bio-waste accounted for 37 % of the municipal waste in Europe (EU-27 excluding Cyprus, plus Norway and Switzerland). The proportion differs from country to country, mainly because of variations in the way that municipal waste is defined in different countries according to the European Environment Agency (EEA). The EEA also mentions that many European Economic Area member countries with a high share of bio-waste in their municipal waste still recycle only a limited amount of bio-waste, resulting in a relatively marginal effect of bio-waste recycling on total municipal waste recycling rates.

There is no EU-wide obligation to recycle bio-waste yet (bio-waste falls into the overall objective of 50% recycling and composting by 2020). Instead, EU rules only limit the amount of biodegradable waste that can be landfilled (reduction target of biodegradable municipal waste landfilled set to 35% by 2016 compared to 1995). In December 2015, the European Commission proposed in its ‘circular economy package’ to have more ambitious targets for recycling (65% by 2030) and landfilling (10% by 2030). No specific recycling target was proposed for bio-waste, however. In order to provide local and regional authorities with useful good practices and quantitative data, this report includes a series of synthetic factsheets presenting bio-waste collection schemes from six European regions and cities and a comparison of those systems and their performances.

Within the R4R project, several good practices were identified and analysed on the topic of bio-waste collection, providing detailed information about the implementation, results and lessons learnt from each case. The R4R factsheets covering bio-waste collection are related to the following territories: Catalonia (Catalan Waste Agency – ARC), the Southern Region of Ireland, Milan (AMSA) and the Province of Styria (Office of the Federal State Government of Styria). Also, R4R partners and other territories (including some ACR+ members) are using the R4R online tool to benchmark on bio-waste collection and treatment performances, using the DREC methodology that enables comparisons with harmonised indicators. Unless otherwise stated, the quantitative data mentioned in the report is coming from the R4R tool. R4R factsheets were summarized in order to highlight the main elements of the selective collection schemes implemented, including quantitative data about the bio-waste produced and collected for the purpose of recycling/composting and some contextual information about the financing system, the final destination of collected bio-waste and the policy framework. On top of the above mentioned territories, additional data from Flanders and Lisbon municipality allowed to create similar synthetic factsheets with quantitative data.

Bio-waste recycling potential is also provided, on the basis of the data inserted by the above mentioned public authorities in the R4R online tool, in particular the amount of sorted waste going to landfill or incineration and the amount of residual waste going to landfill or incineration. In order to calculate the second one, the R4R online tool uses a composition analysis provided by each user of the online tool. By multiplying the bio-waste fraction mentioned in the composition analysis (%) with the amount of residual waste going directly to landfill/incineration (kg/inhabitant), it is possible to estimate the amount of bio-waste in residual waste (kg/inhabitant). No common framework for composition analysis was defined during the R4R project. Therefore it is likely these datasets are based on different methods and some of them might be assessment based on national data. Still, this provides an interesting indication. 

Download the report on ACR+ website
Intereg IVC European Union
site last updated 09 December 2016
another website by cwndesign