SECTOR WATCH

 

Barriers to innovation procurement in waste management

 

A recent study conducted in the framework of the PPI4waste project shows that despite the fact that Public Procurement of Innovation (PPI) has the potential to introduce powerful solutions to fulfil present needs; it is still very much underused.

Public procurers often do not have the knowledge about how to carry out PPI in practice and do not use the available tools that could facilitate the process. In some cases, procurers are not aware of available new technologies in the market while in others; they are simply overwhelmed by the flow of new developments around products and services and the lack of trust about the effectiveness of the results.

On the other hand, procurers – even those willing to engage in PPI – often do not see incentives for buying new solutions. They are afraid of new solutions leading to higher costs or are faced with wrong incentives that do not encourage them to take the risk of buying innovative products from innovative suppliers.

Effective waste management requires a critical mass in terms of demand, in order for new investments to be cost-efficient. This is not the case of smaller municipalities, which have been traditionally responsible for their own waste management and have difficulties reaching this critical mass. Conducting join public procurements among different municipalities, which are located close to each other, is in many cases the best approach to reaching the necessary critical mass to make investments worthy. This is unfortunately not the case of most countries in Europe, which still relay in small budgets and long term contracts that difficult the introduction of innovations in the waste sector.

 

 

Knowledge exchange & joint procurements – the best solutions to address these barriers

 

At several “meet the market” events targeting public procurers and suppliers of innovative solutions for the waste sector conducted in Bilbao (Spain), Zagreb (Croatia), Utrecht (Netherlands) and Saragossa (Spain), it was made clear that these barriers regarding PPI implementation in the waste sector still exist.

However, a clear outcome of all the meet the market events was also that PPI in successful waste management is not just about the procurement of innovative products, but also about innovation at all levels, including in the organisational structure within current waste management units and in their overall approaches to waste management.

Barriers need to be addressed among others by:

-          encouraging the interaction between the existing market of innovative waste management solutions and public procurers;

-          improving the general knowledge on existing available tools and techniques;

-          disseminating successful approaches to waste management from other municipalities and waste management companies

-          facilitating networking opportunities and interaction between close-by municipalities, that can potentially conduct joint procurements and thus reach critical mass.

Currently we are in the middle of the preparation of an EU market dialogue for the creation of a textile sorting plant for about 1900 tons of textiles from our household, which will take place between the months of May and June.

Our aim is to start it on January 1st 2018.

We expect to create about 40 new jobs in our region with the new sorting plant.

 

The sector approach

 

After interviewing experts from different countries across Europe, five specific areas were identified as the priority areas where procurers should focus:

-   Bio waste management;

-   Plastic separation;

-   Bulky waste management;

-   Separate collection for specific waste streams at collection points;

-   Decision support system for waste management.

These areas present specific barriers and challenges to PPI, which will be discussed in upcoming articles of this sector watch.

 

This text has been extracted from the report: PPI4Waste lessons for PPI uptake in the waste sector and from the activities conducted in the framework of this project. For more information, please consult the full guide at: http://www.ppi4waste.eu/virtual-library/reports/



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