UrBAN-WASTE: Urban Strategies for Waste Management in Tourist Cities

Urban Strategies for Waste Management in Tourist Cities

Some cities in Europe are greatest tourism destinations worldwide. During the high season, some of these touristic cities have to cope with a residing population that contributes to reach from two to ten times their usual number of inhabitants. The socio-economic impact of these visitors is extraordinary, therefore urban tourism, with the economic and employment opportunities it creates, has become a key factor in overall urban planning. However, at the same time tourism brings a range of negative externalities, including high levels of unsustainable resource consumption and waste production.

UrBAN-WASTE aims to reduce waste production, increase waste recycling and improve municipal waste management in tourist cities through urban eco-innovative strategies for waste prevention and management.

Thus, touristic cities have to face additional challenges related to waste prevention and management: their geographical and climatic conditions, the seasonality of tourism flow and the specificity of tourism industry and of tourists as waste producers. These challenges threaten, amongst other things, the preservation and conservation of those ecosystem services – sea, beaches, natural parks – offered by tourist destinations, which are at the basis of the environmental survival of tourist cities and of their attractiveness.

Solid waste is a commonly identified impact of tourism, but is rarely examined in tourism literature. Globally, it is estimated that the tourism industry is responsible for the production of 35 million tonnes of solid waste annually. This is problematic, as poor waste management directly results in environmental damage and aesthetic pollution, which negatively impacts the tourist experience and host community.

Excessive waste generation is only one dimension of the problem, as destinations may have very limited capabilities for managing waste. Furthermore, impacts extend beyond the tourism industry to the local community, as tourists influence locals with their cultures and lifestyles, exposing them to new ideas and products, which results in changes to local consumption and disposal patterns.
In this context, UrBAN-WASTE aims at preserving the ecosystems services from the degradation due to irresponsible waste management, thus it will develop eco-innovative and gender-sensitive waste prevention and management strategies in cities with high levels of tourism in order to reduce the urban waste production and improve municipal waste management. These strategies will facilitate the reintroduction of waste as a resource into the urban metabolism flows and address waste management, risk prevention and land-use as an integral part of urban development, and they will be collectively-built through a participatory process in which policy makers and waste workers, researchers, businesses-related organisations, civil society organisations, citizens and tourists interact to jointly design, implement and evaluate integrated waste prevention and management measures. This quadruple helix collaboration (policy makers, researchers, industry and civil society stakeholders) of the UrBAN-WASTE project represents an unprecedented practice in the field of waste management.


  • Awareness rising and skills increase among stakeholders from all target groups at regional, national and international level on the needs and potential solutions for the design of specific eco-innovative strategies for waste management in tourist cities.
  • Elaboration of urban metabolism indicator sets and a database for the selected pilot tourist cities, and collection of information on existing technologies for innovative waste management and best-practices in waste prevention and management strategies related to touristic activities.
  • Assessment of the current waste prevention and management practices in the selected pilot tourist cities and the environmental impacts and identification of the main barriers and opportunities for their improvement.
  • Understanding consumer and waste gender behaviours of individuals and organisations related to tourism, pinpointing drivers of waste-avoiding behaviours.
  • Development of a replicable method to set up and implement eco-innovative, gender-sensitive and collectively-based waste prevention and management strategies for tourist cities, covering prevention, re-use, waste collection, sorting and recycling.
  • UrBAN-WASTE Guidelines and recommendations for decision makers, recommendations for gender mainstreaming and sustainable business models for the implementation of the strategies.
  • Development and adaptation of technologically advanced measures based on ICT to be integrated in the strategies.
  • Testing and monitoring the waste prevention and management strategies under different climatic and environmental conditions and type of tourism.
  • Assessment of the potential replicability of the strategies in EU touristic cities and estimation of the related benefits of these replications.

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Project Data

  • Web: http://www.urban-waste.eu
  • Status: Active
  • Funding Programme: H2020
  • Contract N1: 690452
  • Duration: 1 June, 2016 – 31 May, 2019 (36 months)
  • Budget: 4.248.782,50 €  (EC Contribution: 4.248.782,50 €)
  • Consorcio:

GOBCAN (Spain)

TUD (The Netherlands)

ACR+ (Belgium)

AU (Denmark)

ADS (Spain)

BOKU (Austria)

CPH (Denmark)

CIT (Spain)


UCPH (Denmark)

SI (Italy)

ORDIF (France)


SLU (Sweden)

DUNEA (Croatia)

CE (Spain)

AGORAH (France)

LI (Portugal)

ULPGC (Spain)

AI (Italy)


MNCA (France)

EPI (Greek)

FRCT (Portugal)

LU (Sweden)

NI (Cyprus)

RT (Italy)

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