URBANREC elaborates innovative solutions for handling bulky waste


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Bulky waste is an important residual waste stream that ends up in household waste incinerators or landfills most of the time.

Even in Belgium, having adopted a strong sorting policy and rigorously applying the ‘polluter pays’ principle, the average citizen still produces 30 kg of bulky waste on an annual basis (representing almost one fifth of the volume of residual waste). However, sorting analyses have shown that there still is room for improvement by means of prevention and a more selective collection, but also by means of new sorting and recycling techniques or logistics solutions.

URBANREC pursues an integral approach exploring all of these possibilities. The project focuses on the main streams in bulky waste: wood, mattresses (in the form of PU foam), mixed textiles and mixed plastics. Within this project Vanheede takes the lead to purify the plastics stream into circular plastics and examines the possibilities to convert plastics that are hard to recycle into composite materials. 

            europa horizon 2020

The European research project of URBANREC (“New approaches for the valorisation of URBAN bulky waste into high added value RECycled products”) falls within the framework of the EU subsidy programme of HORIZON 2020 (subsidy agreement no. 690103).

As from June 2016 a collaboration has been established between 21 partners (public authorities, companies, NGOs and research centres) from Germany, France, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Turkey and Belgium to work out integral and innovative solutions for handling bulky waste. The project will come to an end in November 2019 and has a budget of ten million euro. The project is supervised by AIMPLAS, the Spanish Technological Institute for Plastics.

Apart from OVAM also the West Flanders inter-municipal waste association IMOG, the environmental company Vanheede Environment Group, the Technical and Scientific Centre for Belgian Textile Industry Centexbel, textile company Procotex and ACR+ are participating in the project. The strong contribution of Flemish-Belgian expertise in the project emphasizes our leading position in international waste and material management and the good cooperation between (local) authorities, knowledge institutions and companies. More information is available on urbanrec-project.eu