Wageningen Food & Biobased Research will support the municipality of Apeldoorn (more than 150,000 inhabitants) to close the local cycle of organic waste. This is done in CityLoops, the EU project that aims to embed circularity in urban waste policy. Apeldoorn is one of seven European cities participating in the pilot project. In addition to organic waste, the project focuses on the reuse of construction and demolition waste. Both waste streams have a significant ecological footprint.
In CityLoops, Wageningen Food & Biobased Research works together with the municipality of Apeldoorn on integrating circular processes into the chain of organic waste from Apeldoorn’s parks. This is done in three phases: the preparation phase (collection and pre-treatment of waste), the demonstration phase (implementation and testing of solutions) and the replication phase (scaling up to regional and European level). Furthermore, it is being explored how the public sector can use its procurement power to create markets for circular products from organic waste.
New products and materials from organic waste
According to Edwin Keijsers, researcher at Wageningen Food & Biobased Research, organic waste offers a wealth of valuable components for new materials and products: “Every year we produce around 130,000 tonnes of organic waste in the EU and most of it is processed low-grade. 68 percent of organic waste is actually food waste. In Wageningen we develop technological routes to keep valuable components from various types of waste in the cycle. We do this by insulating these components and adapting them for specific applications, such as paper, bioplastics and textiles.”
One of the substances that Wageningen Food & Biobased Research focuses on in CityLoops is cellulose. Organic park waste consists of significant amounts of cellulose-containing substances. In addition, the research focuses on valuable protein extraction and on the reuse of minerals. The goal is to develop mild extraction processes that can be used on a small scale. Next to this, Wageningen Food & Biobased Research helps to bring supply and demand together to create viable markets for circular products and materials.
CityLoops is in line with Apeldoorn’s ambition to give the local circular economy a boost. Keijsers: “By closing cycles locally, it is possible to prevent transports that are necessary to collect residual flows centrally and them distribute them again. Consider, for example kitchen gardens in neighborhoods that are fertilised with organic waste from Apeldoorn’s parks, where unwanted components are first removed with mild extraction techniques. In this way we work on local solutions that have the potential to be applied elsewhere.”
European network of circular cities
In addition to Apeldoorn, six other European cities are taking part in the European Horizon 2020 project: Høje-Taastrup and Roskilde (Denmark), Mikkeli (Finland), Bodø (Norway), Porto (Portugal) and Seville (Spain). With their signature under the Circular Cities Declaration, the cities have committed themselves to taking the circular economy to the next level through policy and legislation and build a broad European network of circular cities. The project started in October 2019 and runs until September 2023.
This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No. 821033.