Spain and the circular economy – the case of Granada

The last regular project meeting of the consortium of partners of the COLORE CIRCLE project, which deals with the field of circular economy, took place at the end of February 2020 in the city of Leeuwarden, about which we informed the public in this article: Then the global epidemic flourished and the implementation of international projects slowed down in many respects and the Joint Secretary, who acts as the managing authority of all Interreg programs, was forced to review methodologies and issue guidelines for international projects under the new restricted regime.

Another project team consisting of employees of the Central Bohemian Innovation Center and experts in circular economics was to go to Granada, Spain, where we were to enjoy innovations and practices in the field of circular economics and various sectors during study visits. Unfortunately, the epidemic in Spain took on such a scale that we were forced to limit this project meeting of partners to an online meeting and study visits were postponed indefinitely according to the development of the epidemic.

Despite all this, the Spanish representatives presented their activities to the fullest extent possible at a two-day online seminar, and we hope that we will soon be able to look forward to a visit directly to Granada.

On the first day, the meeting shared the experiences of all partners in the field of circular economics, and especially the sharing of ways of working with regional institutions, how to involve regional institutions in the process of creating a circular region. The next day, José Matteo Moreno, Director General for Employment and Sustainable Development of the Provincial Council of Granada, welcomed the first stakeholders, followed by a speech by Trinidad Manrique de Lara, Political Officer and Member of the Granada Provincial Office for European Projects. In her speech, she emphasized the fact that the province of Granada does not yet have a circular economy strategy as such. The implementation of this European project should therefore make a positive contribution to the full implementation of the principles of the circular economy in the two strategies for urban, sustainable and integrated development (“EDUSI”) currently being implemented by the Provincial Council in two metropolitan areas. Both strategies are co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) under the urban axis of the Multiregional Operational Program for Spain 2014-2020 and include broad lines of action around four axes: Smart Cities, a low-carbon economy, equality and the fight against poverty and energy efficiency. In addition, there are two general policy, strategic frameworks that provide a starting point for the province as a territory: the Spanish circular economy strategy, approved on 2 June 2020, and the Andalusian strategy for the bioeconomy. The third item was devoted to the presentation of “local experiences” in key sectors of the province’s economy, such as waste management and the agri-food industry.

Finally, case studies from current circular economy projects in the following areas were presented:

  • the issue of waste management and the role of the circular economy in its improvement,
  • water management – Bio factory – specially designed to achieve a circular model through energy production, water reuse and recovery of waste generated during the treatment process,
  • agri-food industry – reduction of waste materials: Avocemtum for the production of high-quality guacamole and AguacaValue, re-evaluation of avocado by-products in animal nutrition and cosmetics and poplar cultivation compared to monoculture-intensive crops and its potential use in construction.

We hope that we will also be able to physically look at these technologies directly in Granada, and at the same time the SIC project team is preparing the third international project meeting in the Czech Republic. This meeting will take place at the end of January 2021 in Prague, when we will take our international partners around the Central Bohemian region, which has a number of excellent initiatives and successful companies that pave the way for the emerging circular Czech Republic.