EU Commission invests € 160.6 million in 96 new environment and waste projects

Karmenu Vella, Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries (Foto: EU Commission)

Brussels – The EU Commission has approved an investment package of €264.8 million to support Europe’s environment, nature and green growth. The investment covers 96 new projects spanning to 21 Member States, funded under the LIFE programme for the Environment. The projects cover actions in the field of environment and resource efficiency, supporting the transition to a more circular and sustainable economy, nature and biodiversity, and environmental governance and information. EU will co-finance the projects by providing €160.6 million.

EU Commissioner for the Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Karmenu Vella said: „Money invested in environment projects is money well spent. I am delighted to see that our LIFE programme will support many innovative projects, and I am sure they will make a vital contribution. As well as protecting and enhancing natural capital, there are many promising avenues here that will help steer Europe towards a low-carbon, resource efficient and sustainable future. We will follow these projects carefully, with a view to sharing and replicating their success.“

The funded projects include some projects concerning waste:

Belgium: LIFE’N GRAB HY! (WaterstofNet vzw) will manufacture and demonstrate two hydrogen-electric hybrid refuse trucks as a zero-emission and low-noise alternative for waste collection in 10 different sites. This includes year-long trials of the vehicles in both urban and rural settings, as well as two-week trials in Antwerp, Cologne and Rotterdam. Over the three years of the project the vehicles will save 250 MWh of energy, 125 tonnes of CO2 emissions, 1.075 tonnes of CO, 2.5 tonnes of NO and 51 kg of particulate matter. The project will also raise public awareness of hydrogen energy as a sustainable energy carrier.

Greece: The aim of the project PAVEtheWAySTE (Municipality of Naxos and Small Cyclades Islands) is to facilitate the implementation of the Waste Framework Directive in remote areas by enabling local and regional authorities to improve their municipal solid waste (MSW) recycling performance and thus pave the way to high resource efficiency. The objective is to demonstrate an innovative and replicable system for separation and treatment at source of MSW in remote areas. The project will increase the MSW recycling rate to 50 percent in Olympia (currently zero) and 60 percent in Naxos (currently 9 percent), in the process halving the amount of waste going to landfill. The project will also conduct studies into replicating the results in other municipalities in Greece and Spain.

Italy: The project LIFETAN (ENEA) will substitute natural products and technologies for toxic chemicals during five different phases of leather production: degreasing, fatliquoring, bating (softening), dyeing and tanning. It will seek to obtain the European Ecolabel for the new degreasing and fatliquoring products, which will meet legal limits for hazardous substances in leather goods and reduce wastewater contamination. Recycled poultry waste will be used in the bating phase. The project will also design REACH-compliant natural dyes based on lactose from waste milk serum and apply an innovative chrome-free tanning technology. Some 50 hides will be tanned using the natural products and 100 sample leather products produced.

Italy: The LIFE-project PLA4COFFEE (Aroma System S.r.l.) will develop a demonstration-scale compounding plant for coffee capsules made from polylactic acid (PLA), a substitute for polyethylene, polyethylene terephthalate and aluminium. The project will test the performance of the compostable PLA coffee capsules which, if introduced on an industrial scale, could significantly reduce landfill waste and CO2 and other emissions. It will also use the coffee capsule to demonstrate performance of the PLA formulation to the whole plastics industry and to consumers.

Italy: The objective of the LIFE-project ECO-PULPLAST (SELENE S.p.A.) is to reduce to nil the amount of pulp waste from paper mills sent to landfills and incinerators. To this end, it will build a demonstration production line manufacturing euro-pallets from more than 50 percent pulp waste and draft a business plan for a 30.000 tonne/yr industrial facility in the Lucca area, the hub of European tissue paper manufacturing and converting. Use of the pallets within the Lucca area would create a local circular economy for pulp waste recycled into new plastic compounds and products. The project will also draft guidelines to enable replication of the pallet production methodology in other paper manufacturing locations.

The Netherlands: The goal of the LIFE PCR project (Attero) is to prevent the use of ‘virgin’ copper by increasing the availability of upcycled copper on the European market. This will reduce the adverse environmental impacts of copper mining. The project will demonstrate an innovative process for the recovery of copper from the bottom-ash produced by Waste-to-Energy activities (‘WtE bottom-ash’). Traditional copper recovery rates are around 40 percent, but laboratory tests with the new technology show recovery rates of around 90 percent. The project will treat 124.500 tonnes of WtE bottom-ash, producing some 373.5 tonnes of copper.

Portugal: The LIFE-project No_Waste (University of Aveiro)aims to demonstrate the sustainable use of waste materials to regenerate degraded soils in mining areas, in compliance with the EU’s Thematic Strategy for Soil Protection. It will combine ash from forest biomass combustion with sludge from pulp and paper manufacturing to replenish soil carbon content and neutralise acidity on 12 test plots (1.2 km2) in the Iberian “pyrite belt”.

Portugal: Pharmaceutical compounds are resistant to conventional forms of wastewater treatment. LIFE Impetus (Laboratório Nacional de Engenharia Civil, I.P.) will test their removal using eco-friendly adsorbents from local vegetal wastes (carob and cork) and biopolymer coagulants in conventional activated sludge treatment plants, the most common form of wastewater treatment in Europe. The project will carry out a three-year field test in activated sludge treatment plants in two water-stressed regions (Lisbon and Algarve), monitoring accumulation of pharmaceutical compounds and carrying out a cost-benefit analysis of the treatment methods used.

Spain: The LIFE-project STO3RE (Sociedad de Fomento Agrícola Castellonense S.A. (FACSA) will implement an innovative and cost-efficient technology to protect aquatic environments against pollution caused by diffusion of nitrates and micropollutants. It will build a demonstration plant in Tostana (Murcia) capable of converting 5 – 10m3 of mixed manure and wastewater sludge substrate per day into a high-quality biofertiliser. This will reduce by 20 percent the volume of waste generated by participating farms and wastewater treatment plants. The biofertiliser is expected to increase crop yields by 50 percent.

Spain: The LIFE-project FOUNDRYTILE (FUNDACIÓ CTM CENTRE TECNOLÒGIC) aims to reuse iron foundry sands and dust in the ceramic tile production process, thus contributing to the implementation of Waste Framework Directive and the goals of the roadmap for a resource-efficient Europe. After characterising the materials, the project will produce 60 tonnes of different types of ceramic tiles and perform quality tests to identify the best-performing foundry waste mixtures. These will be used to produce a sample of 800 m3 of wall and porcelain tiles. The project results will be used to revise Best Available Techniques Reference Documents for the foundry and ceramic sectors.

Spain: The goal of the LIFE-project In-BRIEF (AIMME) is to develop and implement an integrated management model for the resource-efficient use of biodegradable waste from agri-food enterprises and sewage sludge from a municipal wastewater treatment plant. The waste streams will be converted into biogas and fertilisers. The project will build an industrial-scale prototype capable of turning 10 m3 per day of digestate into fertilisers for agricultural and consumer use. These products will be tested for 12 months. It will also trial an organic liquid fertiliser made from humic substances extracted from biowaste.

Portugal: The LIFEproject ECORKWASTE (Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya) aims to demonstrate the technical, environmental and economic feasibility of several different options for the reuse of cork waste. It will construct a hybrid artificial wetland using cork waste as granular media to treat winery wastewaters. It will also test the potential of other types of cork waste (used cork stoppers and cork powder) as a substrate for syngas production by gasification in fluidised bed systems. To this end, the project will construct a gasification pilot plant based on a fluidised bed system with a treatment capacity of 10 kg/day and energy recovery capabilities. Results from these trials will enable the project to draft an integrated waste management plan for the cork industry.

Spain: The LIFE-project SOUNDLESS (General Directorate of Infrastructures of the Regional Government of Andalusia) aims to demonstrate the noise-reduction potential of asphalt road surfaces made using recycled industrial waste materials (rubber, plastic and nylon fibre). Such mixtures are designed to reduce noise pollution from roads in densely-populated areas. The test surface is expected to cut noise levels by at least 3dB in comparison with reference asphalt surfaces. The project will conduct a life-cycle assessment of the LIFE-SOUNDLESS mix and conventional asphalt mixes and draft recommendations for the implementation of European specifications for noise-reducing surfaces in road construction.

United Kingdom: The objective of the ECAP project (Waste and Resources Action Programme – WRAP) is to divert clothing waste from landfill and incineration, to deliver a more resource-efficient clothing sector with a reduced carbon and water footprint. Using the principles of a proven UK scheme, the project will establish a European Sustainable Clothing Action Plan (ECAP) as a framework to encourage circular business thinking and economic growth.

United Kingdom: The objective of the LIFE 2014-project CRMRecovery (Waste and Resources Action Programme – WRAP) is to facilitate the recovery of critical raw materials (CRM) from waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE). It will collect 100 tonnes of WEEE (display and consumer electronics, computers and small household appliances) with the goal of increasing by 5 percent the recovery rate of the following types of CRM: graphite, cobalt, antimony, tantalum, rare earths, silver, gold and platinum group metals. The project will contribute to a European infrastructure plan for recovery of CRM from WEEE. It will also investigate the potential use of positive price mechanisms to reduce the amount of WEEE shipped to non-OECD countries.

The full list of EU funded projects can be found under

Source: EU Commission