Cities & CommunitiesWaste Policy

European experts sign a Manifesto to boost a new model of food waste management in the Mediterranean basin


23 Mar 2015

Written by

Joan Marc


A group of experts involved in the European Project SCOW, among which Zero Waste Europe, gathered in Barcelona to sign a manifesto to outline the strategies for improving food waste management in the Mediterranean area. It is estimated that this waste stream represents between 30% and 50% of the municipal solid waste in the countries of the Mediterranean basin.

The document outlines how the key factors necessary to achieve good implememntation in this field are: prevention, quantity and quality of selective collection and recycling, the establishment of clear objectives, the citizen awareness and participation, the redefinition of the infrastructures of waste treatment, in terms of efficiency, flexibility and scale, the production of quality compost assuring its final application, the regional cooperation among Mediterranean countries and the monitoring of results and dissemination of good practices.

The document remains open to new signatures by other entities and experts of the Mediterranean zone. If you are interested in receiving information about the manifesto and sign it, you can contact with BCNecologia, leader partner of the project, through the next e-mail address: [email protected] or via the specific section of the Manifesto included on the SCOW website:

A new perspective for organic fraction management

The SCOW project aims the definition of an innovative and sustainable management system for organic matter. It seeks a collection and a recycling of low cost, technically simple and of high quality.

The effectiveness of the system is related to the introduction of door to door collection systems and the creation of small scale composting plants distributed in a decentralized way in the territory, located near the places of generation of the organic matter and also where obtained compost can be used.

It is also one of the objectives of the SCOW project the proposal of regulatory and policy recommendations on bio-waste management, and here is where the manifesto is framed. The manifesto was elaborated and agreed by a working group conform by different stakeholders and experts (including project partners and associates as well as entities involved in waste management) in the field of bio-waste and waste management within the Med Zone, during the SCOW technical workshop organized by BCNecologia that took place on the 25th of February 2015 in Barcelona. Some of the attendants apart from the project partners and associates were: Marco Ricci, from CIC and Chair of the Biological Treatment Working Group of ISWA; Michele Giavini, CIC and ARSambiente; Stefanie Siebert representing European Compost Network (ECN); Markus Luecke form SWEEP-Net; Jane Gilbert, Carbon Clarity; Joan Marc Simon from Zero Waste Europe; Jean-Jacques Dohogne representing ACR+; Francesc Giró from Waste Agency of Catalonia; and Ana Rodríguez as the representative of the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Environment of Spain.

Economic, social and environmental improvements

One of the main challenges in countries of the Mediterranean Basin is sustainable waste management, in particular the management of bio-waste. As bio-waste represents the largest fraction of MSW, it is therefore of particular importance. In the countries of the Mediterranean Basin, food waste represents the predominant fraction of bio-waste, reaching up to 30%-50% of total MSW production.

Strategies aiming to prevent and divert bio-waste (and food waste, in particular) from disposal can have significant outcomes, in particular addressing urgent environmental threats within this area:

*Effective and economically sustainable collection schemes for bio-waste represent the first step to produce quality compost, that can be used to mitigate soil erosion, desertification and enhance organic content in agricultural land improving its production as well as the fixation of carbon in soils.

*Diversion of bio-waste for recycling has a direct effect in reducing the environmental impacts of waste disposal due to landfilling of MSW; it limits the emission of greenhouse gasses (GHG) and leachates that may pollute ground water. It also reduces the use of landfill space.

Additionally, the introduction of separate collection schemes and models promote the development of a strong waste management sector with the creation of green jobs, even propitiating the effective regulation and involvement of the current informal recycling sector.

Generally speaking, the aim of bio-waste recycling can be considered to be the backbone of a modern and sustainable management solution for MSW.

A common and co-ordinated strategy within the Mediterranean Basin is therefore welcome. It can lead to faster adoption of measures and MSW management practises that aim to achieve the above mentioned environmental and socio-economic benefits, as well as contributing to support the North and specially Southern countries of the Mediterranean area in finding sustainable waste management solutions. This includes improved management of waste according to specific waste arisings, cultural and cooking habits and potential needs for assuring long term sustainability of agricultural land. This is set against a backdrop of increasing population and worsening effects due to climate change.

About the SCOW Project

SCOW is the abbreviation of Selective Collection of the Organic Waste in tourist areas and valorisation in small-scale composting plants. This is a European project of 3 years (2013-2015), which has as its aim the development of new models for the recollection and recycling of organic waste in areas with both tourist and agricultural activity.

SCOW is part of the Program ENPI CBC Med (Cross-Border-Cooperation in the Mediterranean) which aims to strengthen cooperation between the European Union and the countries located on the shores of the Mediterranean. The project has a budget of 4.970.000 euros. 90% of this total is funded by the European Union through the ENPI (European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument).

The partners of the SCOW project are: Urban Ecology Agency of Barcelona (leader partner) (Spain), Development Agency Gal Genovese (Italy), Local Government Association (Malta), House of Water and Environment (Palestinian Authority), Upper Galilee Regional Council (Israel), MIGAL – Galilee Research Institute (Israel), SYVADEC (SIRET) (France) and Environment Park SpA (Italy).

Find more information on the SCOW project via: