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The 2018 EU Bioeconomy Strategy anticipates cities becoming major circular bioeconomy hubs, where biowaste is a feedstock for safe and sustainable bio-based products.

To help make this a reality across the continent numerous EU-funded Horizon 2020 projects have focused on developing the innovative processes that will be needed to transform biowaste into more valuable products. SCALIBUR, ValueWaste and WaysTUP!, to name but a few, are bringing technologies out of the lab and closer to commercial deployment. And who knew so many products can be made from biowaste? Bioplastics from food scraps, chemicals from coffee grounds, using insects to create protein-rich animal feed… the possibilities are endless.

HOOP consortium

Proving these technologies work is one thing, but seeing them widely deployed presents a whole new set of challenges. Being an early adopter of any innovative technology – being the first to try something new – always carries a certain level of risk. And this risk can be hard to justify for the, mostly public, organizations that manage our waste.

That’s where HOOP comes in. The HOOP project is giving project development assistance (PDA) to eight lighthouse cities and regions, supporting them to prepare large scale investments in innovative solutions for biowaste valorisation. This tailored guidance will help unlock over 50 million euros of investment, and hopefully pave the way for others to follow.

HOOP strategy

The PDA has many elements, starting by understanding the local context and ‘urban metabolism’ of the territory. The HOOP lighthouses also receive support with technological and environmental assessments, circular business models, and innovative financial engineering & procurement. An additional important element is the stakeholder engagement actions, which bring together all local actors to ensure that any future investment is in the interests of the wider community.

Alongside the work in the eight pioneering cities and regions, HOOP aims to have a pan-European reach and impact. The HOOP Circular Investors Board brings together leading investors in sustainable finance – ranging from small asset managers to the lending arm of the European Union, the European Investment Bank (EIB) – to help mainstream sustainable investments towards the urban circular bioeconomy. And to exchange knowledge among territories across Europe, partners have created the HOOP Network of Cities and Regions. The network is open to all organizations that plan, organize, or operate municipal waste management or wastewater treatment, for instance local or regional authorities or waste management companies. By joining, cities and regions gain access to information about innovative urban bioeconomy solutions and are engaged in knowledge sharing events and study tours.

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