URBAN WASTE: Reducing municipal waste generated by tourism

Type of organisation or company
Language for original content
Key Area
Submitted by
Technopolis Group
Start/End date
Expected end date

The URBAN WASTE project focuses on urban strategies for waste management in tourist cities.

Tourism has many advantages but it does generate large amounts of waste which is problematic for the host city. This project involved stakeholders from 11 pilot areas and studied the challenges inherent in waste management so that appropriate strategies responding to real-world needs can be devised and implemented. It has 27 partners from 12 European countries, including local authorities, tourism authorities, waste management authorities and universities, and is coordinated by the Government of Canary Islands.

The strategies focus on reducing the amount of municipal waste produced, especially in cities with high levels of tourism, and developing reuse, recycling, collection and disposal of waste. Capacity building, training and good practices are key aspects. The webinars can still be viewed on the project site.

The project uses the urban metabolism concept, which studies the flows of materials and energy in a city, to support the switch to a circular model. Florence (IT), Metropole Nice – Cote d’Azur (FR), Lisbon (PT), Syracuse (IT), Copenhagen (DK), Kavala (EL), Santander (ES), Nicosia (CY), Ponta Delgada (PT), Dubrovnik – Neretva county (HR) and Tenerife (ES) are participating.

22 factsheets are now available, describing the eco-innovative measures rolled out by the pilot areas.

Main results
  • Nice saw a 7% reduction in mixed waste from restaurants thanks to the use of "doggy bags".
  • In Lisbon, encouraging waste sorting in hotel rooms reduced overall waste by 12% and increased recycled waste by 72%.
  • Other cities installed public water fountains to reduce single-use plastic bottles.
  • Copenhagen tackled the impact of cruisers docking in the city and, together with the port of Copenhagen-Malmo, introduced new requirements for cruisers arriving in the city.
  • Dubrovnik-Neretva focused on marine litter.
  • Several restaurants in Tenerife decreased food waste thanks to new measurement equipment and in-house composting.
  • The 11 pilot areas also set up local Communities of Practices involving key stakeholders in the tourism value chain.