LOWaste Project

Waste volumes are increasing exponentially in the European Union, outpacing even economic growth. Each year in the EU, three billion tonnes of waste, including 90 million tonnes of hazardous waste, are thrown away, equivalent to about six tonnes of solid waste per person. According to OECD estimates, these volumes will increase by a further 45% by 2020. The EU's Sixth Environment Action Programme identifies waste prevention and management as one of four top priorities. Its primary aim is to decouple waste generation from economic growth.

Project objectives

The project will work on lifecycle thinking, eco-design and the development of recycling markets, and has the following aims:

  • To reduce urban waste by developing a local market for recycled or reused materials in the Municipality of Ferrara (Italy), with measures both on the supply side (creating the conditions to collect and add value to recyclable waste) and the demand side (creating demand through green public procurement policies in public bodies and green buying procedures in companies);
  • To develop the existing green public procurement schemes in local authorities through a cradle-to-cradle approach, linking buying procedures to eco-design of goods and products;
  • To promote waste prevention, encourage the recovery of waste and the use of recovered materials in order to preserve natural resources;
  • To spread awareness of reused/recycled products to consumers, retailers, producers and public authorities; and
  • To raise the awareness of consumers, retailers, producers and local bodies about how waste can be reduced through the reuse or purchase of recycled products.

Expected Results

The project will develop a local waste market for second-life products with the direct engagement of the local community, in particular social cooperatives already active in this field, public bodies, local businesses and citizens.
The project will aim to intercept and recycle up to 70% of the municipality’s waste, resulting in the:

  • Increase of recovered materials;
  • Increase of recycling at local level;
  • Reduction of CO2 emissions (less waste going to landfill); and
  • Reduction in consumption of raw materials and other resources used for industrial processes.
  • For second-life products, the project will apply eco-design to specific waste streams
    • Food: production of bio-compost from organic waste;
    • Construction and demolition waste: recovery and creation of new materials to be used in the renovation of streets, parks, cycle paths or other construction projects;
    • IT equipment: recycled for use in schools and offices.
  • The project aims to persuade at least 10 companies to commit to being “big buyers” of second-life products, and will involve at least three social cooperatives, giving disadvantaged people the opportunity to learn technical skills.

Key Info

Project Website: http://www.lowaste.it/

The project started in September 2011 and it will last 3 years (until June 2014).

The project partners are the Municipality of Ferrara (project leader), Impronta Etica, Gruppo Hera, the social cooperative La Città Verde, and RREUSE (Reuse and Recycling European Union Social Enterprises) (Click on Links below for more information on project partners)

We gratefully acknowledge the contribution of the EU Life+ financial instrument for the project

Project Partners