AITEX, the research and innovation center, has launched a new international project named SYMSITES, in collaboration with 30 partners from 9 different countries. Members include universities, research centers, private companies, wastewater management plants and local government associations, from Spain, Denmark, Austria, Greece, Germany, Belgium, Italy, Romania and Israel.
Despite starting the project on June 1, on July 5 and 6, the kickoff meeting was held in Alicante, attended by representatives of the 30 partners. During the execution period of 48 months, four hubs called “EcoSites” will be installed in four European regions with different economic, social and environmental aspects, namely: Spain, Denmark, Austria and Greece..
The processes and companies dedicated to recycling have been here for some time implemented in our society. However, in most cases, the approaches are restricted to a certain scope of action. The waste is disposed of using selective collection containers. The municipal company relocates it to the urban waste treatment center where, it is classified and goes for material recovery, incineration or landfill. The recovered materials are sold as secondary materials to companies and industries, which use them for new manufacturing processes. Ultimately, new products that are made up of a percentage of recycled materials reach citizens through marketing channels. All these links shape the circular economy chain. However, each one separately is incapable of closing material cycles since it requires the functions and the support that the rest fulfills.
Thus, the implementation of “SYMSITES” project (awarded within the European call: HORIZON-CL4-2021-TWIN-TRANSITION-01-14) whose objective is to develop new technologies and stakeholders engagement methodologies will pave the way to prove the concept of regional Industrial-Urban Symbiosis (Figure 1), by bringing together different organizations for the proper functioning of the circular economy. Far from the competition paradigm, cooperation and collaboration among citizens, municipalities and companies is needed. Thus, each entity involved in waste management is a link within the waste management chain.