Field: Carbon footprint, Circular economy, Network, Waste reduction
Global Technical function: Promoting sustainable practices
Technical Function Unit: Combining activities, Disseminating, Downcycling, Networking, Online tool, Performance standard, Providing consultancy, Raising awareness, Setting up an innovation vouchers scheme, Sharing expertise, Sustainability criteria
Geographic Area: Europe
Type of actors: Citizens, Industry, Policy makers, Professional associations, SMEs, Technical centers & experts, Universities

Resource innovation Network for European Waste (ReNEW)

The Resource Innovation Network for European Waste (ReNEW) represents a network of organisations whose aim it is to develop, support and deliver innovations for and along the waste supply chain.[1] It successfully promotes the recovery of valuable materials from waste.[2] By combining activities the partners are promoting sustainable practices among a wide range of target groups.

 

The challenge

While the rate of recycling in Europe has increased in the last 10-20 years, the rate of landfilling has not decreased to the same extent.[3] Eco-innovative concepts, the use of sustainability criteria in supply chains and the objective of a circular economy require that waste has to be reduced to a minimum and the remnants shall be treated as a new resource. All stakeholders in a society,  industryprofessional associationspolicy makers, and also citizens, need to join forces for such an endeavour.

The network

Originally, the ReNEW network was partly funded through Interreg IVb NWE[4]. Being a European initiative bringing together universitiestechnical centres & expertsSMEs, and existing clusters, the partners combine actively their specific competencies in the field to generate synergies.[5] ReNEW’s objective is to explore new ways to extract valuable resources – such as metals, nutrients and chemicals  from household and industrial waste.[6] ReNEW facilitates networkingproviding consultancy, and sharing expertise. By setting up an innovation vouchers scheme the network also provides in particular support to the innovation competences of firms.

In order to innovate the waste supply chain, four main objectives are addressed:

  • Encourage the producers to develop new business models for raw materials recycling;
  • Support practices which improve the rate of resource efficiency – for recycling and resource recovery;
  • Encourage best practice in waste management,
  • Raising awareness.

The benefits

An important instrument of ReNEW is an online tool, the ReNEW knowledge platform. It provides information on different sections: publications, contacts, learning background material, EC documents as well as papers on product design, circular economy, resource recovery, and the emerging resource recovery economy.[7] ReNEW also offers some financial support, and invites interested companies to apply for vouchers to cover 50% of research and innovation needs, and up to a maximum of €10,000 of the total project value. With the help of a simple questionnaire interested individuals, SMEs and companies can contribute to the debate, and shape the EU and National Government policy for industrial needs.[8] ReNEW’s goal is to make the pilot-scale technical trials a tool to reach a better performance standard.[9]  

Further deployment

The concept of ReNEW is ready for full-scale implementation, qualifying it for an estimated level 5 on the generic maturity scale GML.[10] The main aim of the network is to develop and support innovation along the waste supply chain with the objective to promote the recovery of valuable materials in high quality. With its tools and instruments ReNEW supports the professionalisation of stakeholders as well as effectively disseminating knowledge.[11] By its work ReNEW helps to reduce the carbon footprint associated with downcycling and wasting, by promoting advanced mechanisms of waste reduction. Since partners were required to provide 50% matched funding [12] the network sought to deploy a sustainable approach from the very beginning. ReNEW supports moving towards a circular economy and has an ultimate goal of achieving zero waste.[13]

Links;

 

[1] http://www.waste-management-world.com/articles/print/volume-15/issue-1/wmw-special/the-renew-network-driving-innovation.html

[2] http://www.renew-network.eu/ABOUT

[3] http://www.renew-network.eu/RESOURCE-EFFICIENCY

[4] http://www.errin.eu/content/renew-project-resource-recovery-technology-foresight-workshop-1

[5] http://www.renew-network.eu/ABOUT/PARTNERS

[6] http://www.belfastcity.gov.uk/News/News-7157.aspx

[7] http://www.renew-network.eu/KNOWLEDGE-PLATFORM

[8] http://www.waste-management-world.com/articles/print/volume-15/issue-1/wmw-special/the-renew-network-driving-innovation.html

[9] http://www.renew-network.eu/ABOUT/STAKEHOLDERS

[10] Generic Maturity Level: indicator for readiness of transfer of a certain process; following the scale of technology readiness (http://www.esto.nasa.gov/files/TRL_definitions.pdf). The given value was estimated by the authors.

[11] http://www.zerowastenetwork.org/P2Options/index.cfm

[12] http://www.belfastcity.gov.uk/News/News-7157.aspx

[13] http://www.renew-network.eu/ABOUT/WORK-PACKAGES