In spite of the development carried out on urban waste management in favour of a circular economy, bulky waste represents a challenge for being recovered. More than a 60 % of the 19 million tonnes of furniture, mattresses, upholstery, textiles and plastic garden products, among others, are thrown away each year in the European countries end in landfills.
AIMPLAS, the Plastics Technology Centre, coordinates the European project URBANREC (agreement no 690103), within the 2020 programme’s framework. In this project, lasting 42 months, other 20 partners participate. They are developing effective management solutions promoting prevention and reusing, but also applying innovations on logistics and waste treatment to make possible bulky waste recovery for obtaining high-added value recycled products, such as adhesives; solvents or additives; foams; composites reinforced with fibre and felt and reinforced plastics, such as Wood Plastic Compounds, etc. by means of innovative solutions on mechanical and chemical recycling. In particular, the aim is to achieve an 82 % recovery of bulky waste across Europe with an economic net profit of 225.6 euros per ton, what represents 2,127 annual million euros. Variable recovery rates
Urban waste recovery rates in the European Union vary very much from country to country, since there is no a specific global legislation. Logistic systems also vary from regions to regions and no economic recovery methods have been defined to be globally used. The percentages go from a 70 % in Belgium to a 5 % in Turkey, while in Spain represent a 25-30 %. By means of this project we aim to set the foundations to define and boost the development of a future European legislation on bulky waste, as well to give logistic and technological solutions to the problem.
Polyurethane or latex foams, other plastic mixes, different textiles or even wood are the most commonly materials urban bulky materials are made of. After being picked up, classified, reused and divided by advanced techniques, such as 3D-cutting fragmentation, different recovering routes and processes will be developed, allowing to obtain added-value products.
The consortium of URBANREC project is coordinated by AIMPLAS and other Spanish local entities take part, such as the Provincial Council of Valencia and the Consorcio Valencia Interior and the companies ECOFRAG, COLCHONES DELAX and BLUE PLASMA POWER (Valencia). Other technology centres involved are Fraunhofer-ICT (Germany), CENTEXBEL (Belgium), IOS-PIB (Poland) and IYTE (Izmir, Turkey).
Some other entities take part, such as the Association of Cities and Regions for Recycling and Sustainable Resource Management (ACR+), located in Belgium. The European companies that form the consortium are IZNAB (Poland), RAMPF (Germany), RESCOLL (France), EUROSPUMA (Portugal) and PROCOTEX and VANHEEDE (Belgium), as well as the Public Waste Agency of Flanders (Belgium) and IMOG (Belgium), Warsaw City Hall, Department of Waste Management (Poland) and the City Council of Bornova (Turkey).
This project has received funding from the European Union´s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 690103.