Leading a Revolution in Biowaste Recycling

In the EU over 100 million tonnes of biowaste are thrown away each year, that is around 200 kg per person.* Biowaste is any bio degradable waste generated from people, households, restaurants, and parks, most of this waste goes to landfills causing major environmental issues. What are the alternatives?

SCALIBUR, or SCALable technologIes for Bio-Urban waste Recovery, is a project under the European Union’s research program Horizon 2020. This project aims at recycling urban biowaste by transforming it into usable biomaterials, such as bioplastics and biopesticides. SCALIBUR will help its three pilot municipalities Madrid (Spain), Albano (Italy) and Kozani (Greece) in becoming innovators in transforming their biowaste into value added products and pave the way for a bio-based economy. The city of Lund (Sweden), where less than 1% of biowaste is currently being landfilled, will mentor the municipalities on technical and social aspects.

The SCALIBUR project brings together municipalities, waste management companies, technology developers, research organisations, households and policy representatives that will collectively drive innovation in waste management. SCALIBUR will demonstrate a range of innovative technologies to produce high value-added products. Three demonstration lines are planned:

  • Commodity chemicals, bioplastics and biopesticides from household waste
  • Proteins, lipids and chitin from HORECA and retail waste
  • Bioplastics from urban sewage sludge

The sustainability of the developed products and processes will be assessed throughout the development and implementation phases.

The CSCP will engage stakeholders along the entire biowaste value chain. Using our long experience with stakeholder dialogues and multi-stakeholder engagement, together with the pilot cities we will identify all the relevant stakeholders that can make SCALIBUR a viable project. A first step in the stakeholder dialogues will be the involvement of households by raising citizens’ awareness about the importance of waste separation and making products made from biowaste more accepted. Additionally, our role extends to setting up Urban biowaste clubs in Spain, Italy and Greece which will be the main tool to allow collaboration and knowledge and information exchange among the stakeholders.

SCALIBUR will not only reduce the amount of biowaste ending up in landfills, contribute to urban circular economies and support the development and uptake of new bio-based products, but it will also foster social innovation and new sustainable urban business models. Furthermore, SCALIBUR places citizens in the foreground, calls for their active participation and aims to improve their overall perception of new products coming from waste, thus contributing to making our cities more sustainable and ensuring our well-being.

In total, the SCALIBUR project will be carried out by 21 partners based in Spain, Greece, Germany, the Netherlands, Italy, Sweden, Belgium, the Czech Republic, and Ireland over a period of four years. SCALIBUR plans a Europe-wide expansion by inspiring a revolution in urban biowaste recycling and circular economy in Europe. The funding for this project will be allocated by the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 framework.