Waste not: Municipal Solid Waste as an opportunity for new business models in the Circular Economy

September 3, 2020 12:00 - 1:30

Location: Virtual Room 3


In our modern way of living, a vast amount of urban waste is generated on a daily basis. Considering the inevitable growing population concentrated in big cities, waste management is becoming one of the most challenging problems of our society. Currently, Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) are mainly landfilled, composted or incinerated, however, around 50% of urban waste corresponds to the organic fraction, which is rich in interesting molecules to recover or convert them into a variety of valuable consumer products or compounds for industrial applications. To address this, the BBI JU, the largest investment undertaken in the bioeconomy in Europe, encourages the bio-based industry stakeholders to move away from linear economic system by using ‘waste’ as feedstock to contribute to circular, resource and energy efficient economic models. This session discusses the potential MSW management strategies to follow in order to achieve a sustainable and innovation-driven economy in Europe. In particular, three different aspects regarding the valorisation of organic MSW will be highlighted. The first aspect will cover a business case model turning a lab-scale research concept into a feasible and growth-oriented market opportunity to use food waste in 3D printing and automotive industries. In the second aspect, a novel biorefinery facility in pilot-scale in Spain effectively demonstrates to maximize the feasibility of MSW use to produce consumer products such as plastic bags, biofuels, paints and fertilizers that are ready to involve in the current bio-based market applications. Finally, a successful business case story from Italy will be presented on how the involvement of industrial stakeholders and brand owners influenced local authorities and policymakers to overcome the regulatory obstacles and change legislation on the use or recycling of urban biowaste."

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