The only region in Greece without a coastline, where people come to ski not snorkel, Western Macedonia has traditionally been reliant on mining and energy production. With the age of coal coming to an end however, authorities are focused on developing a green, circular bioeconomy in the region.

The latest initiative officially launched this month in the region’s capital, Kozani.

The city will explore the potential for creating new growth and employment through better biowaste management. Members of the ‘Kozani Biowaste Club’ will work together to revolutionise the Integrated Regional Waste Management System, making the city a circular economy pioneer in Greece.

The Biowaste Club is managed locally by CluBE, the Cluster of Bioenergy and Environment of Western Macedonia.

From challenge to opportunity

As in much of Europe, most organic waste in Kozani currently goes to landfilla bad option for the environment and the economy.

The Municipality of Kozani is determined to change this, however.

A pilot project collecting organic waste from 100 households was launched in 2016, in collaboration with the Waste Management company of Western Macedonia (DIADYMA). Due to its success, the scheme has been expanded, and last year over 50 tonnes were collected from more than 500 households.

Organic waste is currently treated to produce compost, which is made available for use by residents.

The Biowaste Club will support the Municipality to roll-out separate collection in pilot neighbourhoods across the city, and explore opportunities to transform biowaste into valuable products such as bioplastics and fertilisers.

Part of a wider EU movement

The initiative is part of a project called SCALIBUR, which has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme.

Under the guidance of the Collaborating Centre on Sustainable Consumption and Production (CSCP), ‘Biowaste Clubs’ are also being established in Albano Laziale (Italy) and Madrid (Spain).

“Through the Biowaste Club we will be able to involve all stakeholders along the biowaste value chain in participatory and co-creation actions, to support the integration of biowaste valorisation approaches in Kozani and to increase both the citizens’ understanding of the importance of biowaste recycling and their acceptance of new biowaste-derived products.” explained Carina Diedrich, Project Manager at CSCP.

Kozani, Albano Laziale and Madrid will be supported by expert partners from the SCALIBUR project, who are researching and testing improved methods for biowaste collection, transport, sorting and (pre)treatment.

Creating circular bio-based cities

The EU requires that biowaste is separately collected in all Member States by 2023: that’s a lot of biowaste!

SCALIBUR aims to inspire a revolution in biowaste recycling by developing and demonstrating new models for cities across the EU to replicate.

An e-learning module, training programmes, national action manuals and a stakeholder platform will be created to share this knowledge with interested Municipalities.