In spite of all developments in urban waste management in favour of a circular economy, the recovery of bulky waste remains a challenge. Every year, more than 60 % of the 19 million tons of furniture, mattresses, upholstery, textiles and plastic garden products, ... still ends up in landfills.
URBANREC will develop effective management solutions promoting waste prevention and reuse, and apply innovations on logistics and waste treatment to facilitate bulky waste recovery by means of innovative solutions on mechanical and chemical recycling for the production of high-added value recycled articles, such as adhesives, solvents or additives, foams, fibre/felt-reinforced composites and plastics, such as Wood Plastic Compounds.
The ultimate goal is to achieve a 82 % recovery of bulky waste across Europe with an economic net profit of 225.6 euro per ton, representing more than 2 billion euro per year.
Variable recovery rates
Urban waste recycling rates in the European Union vary considerably from one country to another for the lack of a general legislation. Logistic systems also vary from region to region and no economic recovery method has been defined to be globally used. The percentages range from 70% in Belgium to 5 % in Turkey. 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 as to provide logistic and technological solutions to the problem.
Urban bulky materials are most commonly made from polyurethane or latex foams, other plastic blends, different textiles and wood. After being collected, classified, reused and divided by advanced and patented techniques, such as 3D-cutting fragmentation, different recovering routes and processes will be developed, allowing to obtain added-value products.
The following Belgian participants, coordinated by CENTEXBEL form a core group within the project an will elaborate a model recycling approach in Flanders:
- ACR+ (Association of Cities and Regions for Recycling and Sustainable Resource Management)
- VANHEEDE Environment group
URBANREC - agreement no. 690103 - is a European research project within the Horizon 2020 programme’s framework