Skip to main content
Sectors: Bioeconomy Waste management Water Agriculture Food (chain/systems) Plastics Industry

HOOP – Hub of circular cities boosting platform to foster investments for the valorisation of urban biowaste and wastewater

Updated on 06.06.2024

Urban biowaste is an important environmental issue, as each person in Europe generates around 200 kg of urban biowaste per year. The current systems for urban biowaste treatment (composting) do not use their whole potential and the final products do not have a high added value. A similar problem happens with the sludge produced in the urban wastewater treatment plants.

Topic ID: CE-FNR-17-2020: Pilot circular bio-based cities – sustainable production of bio-based products from urban biowaste and wastewater.
Grant agreement ID: 101000836
Countries: Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Finland, Spain, Portugal, Greece
Project email address:
Start and end date: 01.10.2020 - 30.09.2024
Budget: 9 032 062 EUR
Type of action: Innovation action (IA)

More information

Circular bio-economy offers innovative solutions using biowaste as resources for obtaining high added-value bioproducts. However, their implementation on industrial scale faces important barriers, not only technical, but also economical, legal and administrative, among others. The HOOP project will help to unlock urban circular bio-economy projects and deploy local bio economies in eight European cities and regions (known as Lighthouses (LH)) by providing Project Development Assistance (PDA) and tools to overcome their barriers. The projects are targeted to the material valorisation of organic fraction municipal solid waste (OFMSW) and urban wastewater sludge (UWWS) into high added-value products, which are beyond the usual compost and biogas products.The PDA will be tailored for each LH, including technical, environmental, economic and legal assistance, containing also tailored Circular Business Models, as well as financing mechanisms to be used for mobilising investment.

Moreover, HOOP will launch stakeholder engagement and citizen science initiatives to raise citizen awareness, promote behavioural change and the acceptability of biowaste-based products. The HOOP project will also disseminate good practices and lessons-learnt through the development of online platforms (Urban Circular Bioeconomy Hub, Virtual Academy) and tools. HOOP will also feature replicability through the creation of the HOOP Network of Cities and Regions, a platform for exchange of knowledge and experiences about urban circular bio-economy for cities and regions around Europe, including the participation in webinars, activities and events.

Leading organisation

CETENMA (Asociacion Empresarial Centro Tecnologico De La Energia y Del Medio Ambiente De La Region De Murcia), Spain

Cities involved

Albano-Laziale, Almere, Kuopio, Münster and Murcia

Regions involved

Western Macedonia, Greater Porto, Bergen

Scope and objectives

Scope: unlock bio-based investments and deploy local bio-economies in Europe. This refers mainly to projects about material valorisation of urban biowaste and wastewater sludge besides composting and anaerobic digestion.

HOOP objectives:

  • To provide PDAs to eight LHs, geographically distributed across Europe, and with different sizes and socio-economic structures, acting as demonstrators for a network of cities and regions. The PDAs will provide technical, economical, legal, feasibility and business assistance for the implementation of projects for the valorisation of OFMSW and UWWS to produce high added-value bio-based materials. The core activities of the PDAs will bridge the gap between local Circular Economy Strategies and the concrete investments for the launch and implementation of the respective projects, including the required procurement processes.
  • The creation and on-going consolidation of a procurer’s group who, pooling their needs and efforts, contribute to create a new EU market, breaking down the barriers to the adoption of innovative products and services in the field of OFMSW or UWWS and bio-based products.
  • To promote engagement of quadruple helix stakeholders through the Biowaste Clubs in the LHs. HOOP will promote actions to guarantee stakeholder and community mobilisation. Various engagement activities will be launched at each LH through the Biowaste Clubs (BCs) to ensure that all key local actors along the biowaste value chain are involved and work together to remove any barriers to local uptake of the projects developed under HOOP framework. These activities can, for instance, be the co-design and implementation of a proper collection of OFMSW. At the same time, BC activities will promote behavioural change, acceptability of biowaste-based products as well as food waste prevention.
  • Guarantee a high impact through the replicability of the project actions by:
    1. creating an extensive network of cities and regions;
    2. encouraging them to replicate HOOP actions and results to improve their Circular Economy Strategies. Depending on the specific Circular Economy Strategies, their size and socio-economic context, each city/region will be matched to a LH to further promote the adoption of the HOOP results.
  • Create the Urban Circular Bioeconomy Hub (UCBH) as an online platform to allow for showcasing the HOOP and other ongoing Urban Biowaste project results, promote replicability, and facilitate the exchange of good practices and lessons learned among circular bio-based cities. The UCBH will contain self-assessment tools, a virtual academy, the HOOP tools for evaluation and decision-making, and will host and manage the membership of the network of cities and regions. It will also increase the HOOP engagement capacity with actions targeted to quadruple helix stakeholders.
  • Develop the HOOP Circularity Label, as an instrument to evaluate cities’ current position and performance in regard to the implementation of circular measures at a city level. Moreover, it will serve as the baseline to efficiently launch green policies at a city level and to effectively boost and implement investment projects for the production of urban biowaste and wastewater-based products.

Key deliverables

Previous public deliverables:

Upcoming public deliverables before the end of HOOP:

  • D5.3 Circular Evaluation Framework guidance report (September 2023);
  • D6.4 Outcome reports of the co-designed citizen science interventions (September 2023);
  • D6.3 Update – Report on the engagement activities implemented through the Biowaste Clubs in the lighthouse cities (September 2023);
  • D6.5 Report on the education and awareness-raising & acceptance activities (September 2023);
  • D8.4 National action manuals for local uptake and replicability (December 2023);
  • D5.8 Open market consultations report (January 2024);
  • D8.5 HOOP guidelines for local and regional authorities (March 2024);
  • D5.4 Online self-assessment tool (May 2024);
  • D6.7 Roadmap 2030 per Lighthouse (July 2024).

We have included the public deliverables with higher relevance for CCRI purposes, according to our understanding. Several public deliverables are scheduled for the last month of the project (September 2024), most of which evaluate the performance of HOOP. From the confidential deliverables, there will be soon an update of D2.4 Investment Package Manual and factsheets on some of the technologies of D2.2 State-of-the-art of technologies for the production of bio-based products from urban biowaste and wastewater. Check the HOOP Library and the Virtual Academy.

Key messages for project promoters

  • Learn and understand the city/region context very well;
  • fluent communication and trust-building with the cities/regions for the assistance with the implementation of CSS;
  • assessment of circularity status of the cities/regions (i.e. urban metabolism analysis) to evaluate the margin of improvement and how realistic the targets are;
  • quadruple-helix stakeholder engagement, especially the companies;
  • data validation (i.e. standardisation in definitions or units);
  • tailor-made approach;
  • clearly define the details of the projects within the CSS;
  • build the business model;
  • make sure the projects are feasible;
  • impact monitoring (multidisciplinary).


Description of future collaboration with CCRI-CSO

  • Give input, support and – in particular – knowledge provision to the Thematic Working Groups of the CCRI-CSO (Industrial Symbiosis and Bioeconomy).
  • Sharing of knowledge so that the best practices and business models can be replicated to other regions.
  • PDA methodology as input for CCRI methodology.
  • Usage of tools developed by HOOP (e.g. HOOP Bio-Circularity Label, as an instrument to evaluate cities’ current position and performance in regard to the implementation of circular measures at city level. Moreover, it will serve as the baseline to efficiently launch green policies at city level and to effectively boost and implement investment projects for the production of urban biowaste and wastewater-based products).
  • Participation to CCRI webinars and technical workshops.
  • Fellows focused on Bioeconomy and possibly pilots to join the HOOP Network, especially those focused on bioeconomy.
  • Invitation to HOOP events (HOOP Cities Conference, Circular Investors Day).
  • Networking and collaboration with other CCRI projects.
  • Collaboration with policy initiatives (similar to ROOTS, project cluster on biowaste valorisation).

CCRI relevant material


Findings: regulatory bottlenecks

Some of the bottlenecks were identified from ROOTS initiative (ROOTS):

  • lack of specific targets on biowaste recycling;
  • ambiguity in the definition of by-product and waste, with all what this involves in terms of further applications;
  • lack of specific regulation for biopesticides;
  • targets for biowaste reduction, other than food waste, not set;
  • regulatory hindrance to the application of bioproducts (i.e. insects) coming from biowaste to nutrition market sector, either feed or food;
  • additional specific regulatory bottlenecks might arise depending on national/regional/local policy and on the nature of the projects.

Other more specifically:

  • classification of urban biowaste and used cooking oils as ‘catering waste’, thus becoming a Category 3 animal by-product with many restrictions and hindrances for many applications (feed, fertilisers);
  • EU Sustainable Finance Taxonomy not promoting innovative circular solutions by establishing a closed list;
  • lack of synchronisation/harmonisation between EU and Member States regulatory frameworks or between different EU regulatory frameworks themselves (i.e. fertilisers and animal by-products).

Findings: regulatory drivers

Some identified regulatory drivers are:

  • The existence of Circular Economy Action Plans on municipal/regional level. This is an important driver as it shows the commitment of the city to promote circular economy and provides a plan for its implementation.
  • Inclusion of circularity parameters in local/regional policies. This is a tool for the local authorities to support circularity, which might for instance involve sustainable events or green public procurement.
  • Use of innovation public procurement.
  • Regulation 2019/1009 (fertilisers) is acting as an enabler for some technologies of biowaste management.
  • Definition of new end point in animal by-product condition by Regulation 2023/1605.
  • EU Sustainable Finance Taxonomy promoting the transition to circular economy.

Further information is expected more when the National Action Manuals are ready.

Financial schemes

There are different options depending on the solution, the amount of capital required, the territory involved and the nature of the project (technology readiness, stakeholders). This includes both funding programmes and investors (i.e. venture capitals). EU Taxonomy is a key aspect for financing. A detailed description and recommendations is found in the public version of D2.4 Investment Package Manual, which will be updated soon. The Circular Investors Board (CIB) is an advisory body formed by different investor profiles, including EIB, with expertise in sustainable finance, providing guidance for the financial PDA.

Environmental outcomes of circular economy solutions

The environmental outcomes are tailored through environmental studies for the projects, with LCAs being the most suitable tools for the evaluation of the actual impacts and benefits of the projects. An evaluation of the impact of the project in terms of non-financial indicators is expected close to the end of the project.

Social outcomes of circular economy solutions

The project has already generated some social impact through the citizen participation in Biowaste Clubs (Stakeholder engagement), citizen science and pilot actions for education and awareness-raising citizen science has developed the HOOP Trainers app to gather data on the acceptability/improvement of the separate collection and to raise awareness. The project also has an important impact of social networks, with a high number of followers.

The project is also having an important social impact through the replicability actions. More than 70 cities and regions are already part of HOOP Network and they are participating in different webinars and study visits to the Lighthouse Cities and Regions.

Economic outcomes of circular economy solutions

The economic outcomes of the project will be evaluated closer to the end of the project. The public deliverable D5.7 HOOP economic impact in the Lighthouse Cities and Regions will be available in October 2024.

Additional information

The HOOP project has a narrower scope of activity than CSS, as it is based on specific projects and on bioeconomy. The applicability of experiences from HOOP will depend much on the proposed CSS in the corresponding CCRI pilot city. Some of the experiences in HOOP have potential transposition to other areas besides bioeconomy. Our Cities and Regions in HOOP are receiving assistance through our PDA.

Main project stakeholders

Citizens, industries, decision makers, academia


  • Instituto Tecnologico Del Embalaje, Transporte y Logistica, Spain (ITENE)
  • Sociedad Anonima Agricultores de la Vega de Valencia, Spain (SAV)
  • Draxis Environmental SA, Greece
  • Nafigate Corporation, A.S., Czechia
  • Fundacion Centro Gallego De Investigaciones Del Agua, Spain (CETAQUA)
  • Research4life B.V., Netherlands
  • Association Des Villes Et Regions Pour La Gestion Durable Des Ressources, Belgium (ACR+)
  • Greenovate! Europe, Belgium
  • Science for Change, SL, Spain
  • Sustentepopeia Unipessoal Lda, Portugal (2GO OUT)
  • Collaborating Centre on Sustainable Consumption and Production GmbH, Germany (CSCP)
  • RdA – Climate Solutions Unipessoal Lda, Portugal
  • Bax & Company BV, Netherlands
  • Bedin Sara, Italy
  • Savonia-Ammattikorkeakoulu Oy, Finland
  • BIR AS, Norway
  • Gemeente Almere, Netherlands
  • ANCI Associazione Regionale Comuni Italiani Lazio, Italy
  • Servico Intermunicipalizado De Gestao De Residuos Do Grande Porto, Portugal (LIPOR)
  • Cluster Viooikonomias Kai Perivallontos Dytikis Makedonias, Greece (CluBE)
  • Ayuntamiento De Murcia, Spain
  • Stadt Munster, Germany (AWM)