The SCOW project gives second life to organic waste

With organic waste representing over 50% of municipal solid waste, it is essential to improve the way we manage and recycle this type of refuse. Over the past three years, the 8 partners of the SCOW project has helped local communities in Spain, France, Palestine, Israel and Malta to develop waste management plans that focus on the separation of bio-waste and turn it into something useful.

Cooked leftovers, kitchen debris, garden waste, paper products are materials that easily and quickly decompose. When transformed in compost, organic waste can be used in gardening and agriculture as natural nutrient for soil fertility.

In order to increase the quantity of green waste that is recycled, the SCOW project introduced selective sorting and collection of organic waste and door-to-door collection in 50 municipalities of the Mediterranean area: a total of 17,719 citizens along with 600 businesses and public facilities (among hotels, restaurants and schools) were involved in organic waste recycling activities.

Fom waste to compost for agriculture

The large amount of waste collected was treated in 14 small scale composting plants, built under the project in all concerned territories. At full capacity, the plants will be able to manage 8,200 tons of organic waste per year and produce 2,300 tons of quality compost.

Eventually, the compost generated was used by 60 farmers to increase crops productivity, reducing the use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides.

"When we started the project, about 40% of people living in the community used to sort and recycle waste. Today we are close to 90%. For instance, our kindergarten became green with the kids making their own compost," said Itzik Ben-Dor, in charge of the recycling activities in the community of Kfar Hanassi, Israel.

To transfer the good practices developed by SCOW, a dedicated MedCompost network was created. Membership to the network offers access to technical reports, best practices catalogue and expertise to guide interested institutions in the design and implementation of plans to efficiently manage and make use of bio-waste.

"Thanks to a wide information campaign which reached over 29,000 people and to 90 agreements signed with local institutions, we hope that other communities and municipalities across the Mediterranean area will commit toward the better management of organic waste", said Gemma Nohales, project manager at the Urban Ecology Agency of Barcelona, the lead partner of SCOW.

The SCOW project received a 4.4 million grant from the ENPI CBC Med Programme.

See the project website

Gemma Nohales Duarte
SCOW technical coordinator
Tel.: +34 93 224 08 60

Organic waste separation system in Upper Galilee, Israel