Material management is recognized by European policymakers as a mean of decreasing impacts of waste and reducing raw material inputs to the economy (Directive 2008/98/EC). Many recycling initiatives reached a plateau of using existing product cycles and recovery technology. Still, there are key waste streams and materials that need to be further addressed due to the difficulty (cost and complexity) of recycling them, their large volume and their carbon footprint.
This challenge is stressed in the Balkan Med region, where the economic crisis is still present, controlling costs is a key target, and new growth options for the regional economies and societies are sought after. For example, the added value from efficient waste management in the region, such as material and energy cost savings, is currently not always realized because stakeholders do not possess a clear view of opportunities (e.g. industrial symbiosis schemes) and indirect gains (e.g. climate mitigation potential). To that end, the overall objective for SWAN is the creation of an innovative Balkan Med ecosystem that will develop locally and manage transnationally value chains for solid waste. It will be comprised of two parts (which sum up the project’s main outputs): a) a digital ecosystem of four IT platforms (one for each country represented in the consortium), which will separately map and collectively match solid waste sources and flows in the region. A set of new algorithms will provide core intelligence for technical and financial matching of supply and demand, incorporating viable business models; b) an industrial ecosystem of industries in the Balkans that produce and use solid waste. They will use the SWAN digital ecosystem for exploiting new recycling opportunities that may not be economically viable locally but make financial and social sense transnationally.
Our approach is thus ambitious but reflects the high profile of the partners. For example, high-profile dissemination and sustainability activities will be undertaken by the two Ministries of Environment, and the LP will provide a unique waste management facility for test/pilot purposes. As a result, we foresee a range of beneficiaries:
a) resource policy makers will develop relevant strategies, quality protocols and policy instruments for savings and profit opportunities;
b) waste producers and collectors will identify ways to recover value;
c) industrial firms will recover material opportunities to source suitable substitutes and to achieve positive CO2 abatement;
d) the wider society may see job creation, ranging from IT support for the four IT platforms, to new SMEs that will enter the resulting waste management value chains.
Hence, the new and unique added value of the project is the development of the SWAN ecosystems, the development of environmental policies and strategies for improved solid waste management, and an implementation of a pilot value chain in the region of Attica.
Expected Results (EN):
The results viability plan consists of 4 impact categories that further highlight the innovations of SWAN:
1.RESEARCH:a)Provide assistance to waste management agents towards identifying joint business opportunities and promote academia-industry cooperation, through the application of the two algorithms for solid waste supply and demand matching;(b)Develop the SWAN Balkan Solid Waste Map, link national and transnational stakeholders and develop innovative approaches towards achieving circular economy benefits through the formulation of 8 survey reports.
2. KNOWLEDGE TRANSFER:Project beneficiaries and the wider public will learn about circular economy and industrial symbiosis and familiarize themselves with the concept of waste reuse value chains through workshops, project website, newsletters, press releases, articles and press coverage. They will be encouraged to learn and use the SWAN Digital Ecosystem (using the operational and training manuals and by attending the training sessions) and work towards achieving wider EU targets on waste reuse. Moreover, targeted policy making at national and transnational levels will be enabled through our policy recommendation reports.
3. PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT: Project beneficiaries will be able to jointly identify opportunities (using the platforms and databases) and develop new models for exploiting transnational waste reuse value chains, through the national business model reports and transnational business models. Moreover, all interested SMEs will be encouraged to introduce innovations (products, processes) in these newly developed value chains.
4. SUSTAINABLE NETWORKS: The SWAN Industrial Ecosystem will remain free access & active after the completion of the project and, will help to sustain the ecosystem links, contribute to its expansion to all Balkan countries by including additional actors (research institutes, enterprises, NGOs, SMEs)
Expected Outputs (EN):
WP1: 1 project management toolkit, 4 project meetings, 3 committees, 1 quality assurance plan, 3 annual meetings, 4 action plans, 4 reimbursement claims, 4 progress reports, 1 mid-project evaluation report, 1 final report, 1 project record.
WP2: 80 print-free, low carbon communication tools (website, communication plan, social media campaign, 4 press conferences, 14 workshops, 8 (975 copies) factsheets, 14 (21.600 copies) newsletters, 96 publications in printed press, 315 publications in electronic press, 49 publications on radio, 120 publications on web radio, printed brochures 1175 copies), 12 progress reports, 1 final report, 34 info days.
WP3: 4 IT platforms, 4 operational manuals, 1 interoperability manual, 1 functional design report, 1 technical design report, 4 IT platform prototypes reports, 4 training manuals, 4 helpdesks, 4 training sessions, 12 progress reports, 1 final report WP4: 4 survey questionnaires, 4 regional survey reports, 1 integrated survey report, 4 SWAN regional Solid Waste Maps/4 databases, 1 SWAN Balkan Solid Waste Map/1 database, 4 operational manuals, 4 training manuals, 12 progress reports, 1 final report.
WP5: 4 business model reports (1 for each partner country), 1 report for transnational business models, 2 algorithm descriptions for matching waste supply and demand, 1 pilot project, 1 good-practice study, 12 progress reports, 1 final report.
WP6: 1 marketing plan, 1 commercialization & distribution strategy plan, 4 PESTLE questionnaires, 4 regional survey reports, 1 integrated survey report, 8 stakeholder consultation events, 1 report on cross-comparison of partner countries findings, 4 regional policy recommendations report, 1 transnational policy recommendations report, 2 industrial ecosystem reports, 12 progress reports, 1 final report.