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  • The CirCE2020 project (Expansion of the CIRcular Economy concept in the Central Europe local productive districts) aims to facilitate the uptake of circular economy principles in five pilot areas of Central Europe. Since the beginning (July 2017), the 8 project partners have performed significant steps ahead in order to introduce innovative cross-value chain waste governance models.

    Approaching the midterm review (end of the project: June 2020), it is possible to share some key insights coming out for the Word Package 1, useful to describe socio-economic contexts where the project activities will be implemented.

    In terms of surface, the selected pilot areas cover a wide range: from 5 km2 of the Tatabánya industrial park (Hungary) to 30.000 km2 of the Polish Wielkopolska Region. In between there are the consortium of Italian municipalities along the Brenta river (Ambito Territoriale Ottimale Brenta in Italian), the Split- Dalmatia County (Croatia) and the Austrian Tyrol province. These areas are partially similar from the economic fabric point of view: in three of five pilots the presence of companies with less than 9 employees is more than 90%; an exception is represented by the Hungarian park where 50% of the 30 enterprises are “large”. The characterization of the pilot areas has not been easy due to not ready-to-access databases reporting the waste management at the scale of the study. The knowledge proposals in order to stress waste / by-products chains with possible improvement had to face the privacy and normative restrictions over sensible data related to waste generation and destination. Some project partners have placed efforts to elaborate raw database provided by administrative authorities. In other case national legislation establishes exemptions for some economic sectors and / or waste code, therefore any data is available, except some tricky estimation at national scale. In general, in each pilot area, environmental data (in particular, industrial waste management) are available, but with different degrees of detail, accessibility and readability. This affects the possibility to compare the results intra-project; on the other hand, it increases the flexibility of the project tools and experiences towards transfer ability and dissemination.

    In this context, the Decision Support Tools for Circularity, developed within CirCE2020 project, will be tested on several amounts and types of waste: according to pilot area sizes the total amounts of industrial waste vary from 50 kt to 9.800 kt. In the five situations under focus, the non-hazardous waste shows a net prevalence over the hazardous one (> 90% of the overall industrial waste production).

    The most produced European Waste Codes (EWC – 2 digits) in each area find a match with the most relevant economic sectors (categorized by NACE code – 2 digits) per waste production. On the other hand, the comparison inter-area of the same economic sector reveals differences in terms of specific EWC production, resulting from different processes and products. Anyway, the data analysis has highlighted some interesting similarities that open to potential transnational and cooperation actions (residues from the waste management sector, paper and cardboard industry and related packaging).

    Approaching the management of the industrial waste, the project elaboration has highlighted high variability among different areas in terms of recycling (from 28% to 70%) and energy recovery rate (from 1% to 70%). At first glance these parameters result from different strategies and available technologies for waste management; on the other hand, relevant discrepancies in calculation methodologies exist, stopping any comparative goal. Project partners have agreed about the necessity to move towards more homogenous methods (firstly relying on more readable and complete databases) across European Union in order to increase representativeness of European waste statistics.

    The project, with a budget of 2.3 million €, is funded under the Interreg Central Europe programme - Priority 3 to protect and sustainably use of natural and cultural heritage and resources.

    Duration: 07.2017-06.2020

    Lead partner: ARPAV (Regional Agency for environmental prevention and protection of Veneto region) – circe@arpa.veneto.it

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