Citisystem: learning about circular economy in Belgium

Citisystem celebrates the third interregional meeting in Mechelen, Belgium

The Citisystem project, which promotes the circular economy of cities, hold its third interregional meeting in Mechelen (Belgium) between April 24th and 26th.

All the partners presented the latest updates on their regions’ circular bio-economy and bio-waste management together with some relevant data regarding food waste (a third of the food produced is not spent) and actions to promote circularity and waste management in the domestic sphere.

From the CERCA system, IRTA presented the LIFE INFUSION project: the aim is to convert the liquid fraction of the digestate from the treatment of biowaste at waste management plants in the Barcelona area into sustainable water through the removal of ammonium.

The city of Mechelen, which is amongst the partners of the Citisystem project, explained its transition towards a greener and more sustainable city in recent years and offered a tour to show the results.

Together with the meeting, partners and entities attended the Bio-Based City, a bio-economy market to explore ongoing circularity initiatives, and the Mechelen Climate Conference, and also visited examples of good practices around the city.

Moving towards circularity

In the European Union, between 118 and 138 million tonnes of bio-waste are generated each year and only 40% is effectively recycled into high-quality compost and digestate. The fraction of bio-waste plays an important role in the transition to the circular economy, especially if we consider that up to 50% of municipal solid waste is organic.



CITISYSTEM sustainable urban solutions present in the Smart City Expo World Congress

The project is to support regions and cities in promoting the bio-based circular economy

The CITISYSTEM consortium has been present in the Smart City Expo World Congress, the biggest event for cities and urban innovation, held in Barcelona from 7-9 November.

Catalan agents and stakeholders involved in the European project CITISYSTEM gathered on 9 November 2023 with representatives from all other CITISYSTEM partner countries at the Smart City Expo World Congress to learn from a dissemination event where experiences, good practices, and new strategies to strengthen circular bioeconomy were shared.

As presented by Katerina Medkova, CITISYSTEM’s Lead Partner from LAB University of Applied Sciences, Finland, the project aims to develop circular bioeconomy on the systemic and stakeholder levels and, by sharing knowledge and potential solutions, allow everyone to capitalize on already tested solutions.

Sharing Catalan Expertise

In representation of the Department of Climate Action, Food, and Rural Agenda, Miriam González showcased the 2030 Catalan Bioeconomy Strategy (EBC2030), defining it as an opportunity to advance toward economic, social and environmental sustainability while guaranteeing territorial balance.

EBC2030 is coordinated by a cross-cut technical unit and fosters complicity between stakeholders to take actions such as spearhead R+D+i and technological transfer, encourage the use and consumption of bioproducts, bioenergy, and biomaterials, or strengthen the role of the administration to adapt policies in favour of circular bioeconomy,

Already in motion, the 1st Action Plan focuses on improving forest management, creating resilient agroforestry landscapes, and recovering coproducts and byproducts from the food chain and livestock dejections and organic waste to be reused as, for instance, biogas and biomethane or innovative organic fertilizers.

Representing Strategic Planning of the Catalan Waste Agency, Director Francesc Giró addressed Catalan policies regarding waste collection. In 1993, Catalonia’s Waste Law already obliged its citizens to separate biowaste: then, separate biowaste collection was 1.4%; in 2022, it had risen to 47.2%. Nevertheless, there are still many challenges to overcome: from advancing in efficient separate collection systems in large cities and densely populated municipalities to facing the appearance of compostable materials in the collection and treatment of biowaste.

Thus, as of 2023, a new law is being drafted on waste prevention, management, and efficient use of resources, and a Circular Economy Roadmap is being developed to tackle these challenges and continue taking steps toward a greener society.

Towards a better future

The event concluded with a dynamic round-table moderated by Lluis Rovira, CERCA’s director, and Maria Jäppinen, LAB’s communication officer, who put forward insightful and thought-provoking questions that sparked debate and left everyone involved invigorated and motivated to continue working towards creating healthier and more sustainable cities for future generations.

Presentation of the Citisystem Project at the Smart City Expo World Congress

CITISYSTEM, the project to promote bio-circular economy solutions kick-starts

CERCA participates in the start-up meeting of the project, which took place in Lahti (Finland)

The city of Lahti presents its circular economy knowledge to international guests

The kick-off meeting of CITISYSTEM took place in Lahti, Finland, from May 9 to 11. The event provided an opportunity for participants to gain insights into the operations of Salpakierto Oy and LABIO Oy, focusing on the recycling and utilization of bio-waste and biomass. Additionally, the Circular Economy Laboratory of LAB University of Applied Sciences, the project coordinator, was introduced, along with representatives from the city of Lahti and Lahti Energia, who showcased other local examples of circular economy practices.

The primary objective of the CITISYSTEM project is to support cities in promoting bio-circular economies. LAB University of Applied Sciences serves as the project’s lead partner, with the city of Lahti being one of the project’s partners. The project collaboration includes the Technical University of Košice (Slovakia), the Regional Development Agency of Gorenjska (Slovenia), the city of Mechelen (Belgium), the Central Macedonia Regional Development Fund (Greece), and the CERCA Institution.