Tropa Verde in Nice (Transfer Story)

Tropa Verde, Covid and Alex: is it a “nice” transfer story in Nice?

A bit of intro …: The needs and objectives

Waste management is at the heart of sustainable development issues in our regions. Indeed, it requires raising awareness among citizens who are at the same time consumers, users of a public service and those involved in sorting. It must also seek the implementation of solutions for waste collection and treatment that limit the risks to the environment and public health as much as possible. Finally, the financial stakes involved in these operations and the costs to be borne by local authorities are high.

Within this framework, the main tasks of the Metropolitan France waste collection and management department are as follows:

1.- To ensure traditional and selective collection on a daily basis through a metropolitan authority and private service providers,

2.- To carry out the sorting, treatment and recovery of this waste,

3.- To manage and develop the equipment necessary for waste collection and management.

It also contributes to initiatives carried out within the framework of other competences of the Metropolis (Local Urban Management, Local Urban Planning, etc.) and transversally with other local authorities or organisations (Departmental Council, social landlords, eco-organisations, etc.) in terms of sustainable development.

The "Energy Transition Law" has set priorities (prevention, reuse, recycling, other forms of recovery, particularly in the form of energy, elimination) and to meet these priorities, NCA implements the human, material and financial resources necessary to collect, sort, treat and recycle the production of household waste while protecting the environment on a daily basis.

For many years, the Metropole of Nice Provence Côte d’Azur (FR) has been working on numerous projects in collaboration with European partner cities.

In 2014, our waste management authority has carried out a project in collaboration with the cities around the Mediterranean area.

Since then, we have been working regularly on projects in partnership with other European cities and counterparts, with the objective to visualize the initiatives set up throughout Europe in order to tend towards an ever more virtuous management of our waste.

In addition, we have since 2014 a local waste prevention programme, one of the objectives of which is to comply with the energy transition law, which objective is to implement waste reduction actions as well as all actions aimed at improving the overall management of waste through sorting at source.

Tropa Verde project is directly in line with this environmental and eco-citizen approach.

How and when did the journey started?

Our cooperation with the city of Santiago de Compostela began in the second half of 2018.

We were fortunate enough to be approached by this Spanish municipality to take part of a project to transfer Tropa Verde platform and methodology to different European Cities.

We submitted our candidature and we were selected (Champagne!)!

The first part of the project was implemented by Santiago de Compostela and two cities or ”district councils” - Pavlos Melas (GR) and Zugló (HU). Our first meeting took place in June 2018 in Budapest; place where we met the lead partner and other partners for the first time.

During this meeting we talked about waste management problems and solutions that the different cities bring to the citizens.

We realised that, once again, the problems we encounter are also present elsewhere and that our shared experience could help us to propose new and innovative solutions. We afterwards met our partners several times, in situ and online, and in particular exchanges experiences with our peer partner Opole Agglomeration in Poland, which as we are are also responsible for a wider network of municipalities, get trained, and translated the specificities of the platform into French.

Tropa Verde: an ambitious project to move towards virtuous waste management and promote the circular economy

The main objective of the Nice Côte d'Azur Metropole is to make citizens aware of the need to move towards eco-exemplarity.

This project has been a real opportunity for us to change mentalities and has given the city an additional lever to raise awareness among the population. In that sense, the city of Santiago de Compostela "showed us" a new way to work on the "waste" part.

The creation of a platform to raise awareness and reward virtuous citizens was of great interest to us. If it works in Spain, why not in Nice?

Moreover, this platform integrated communication campaigns and was linked to social networks. We realised thus that this platform could valorise structures that could help us to collect and separate certain waste streams.

On the other hand, the structures that we identified and promoted in this platform can accommodate several types of population (children, adults, adolescents...).

The learning transfer was effective, even if we had to learn a lot of new vocabulary and expresions to deliver transfer tools though new methods of cooperation (ULG, Treasure Box, Transfer Diaries, Vox pops, Learning Logs and a large etc.). The creation of so called ULGs, wich are basically local stakeholders groups, allowed us to exchange with our municipal partners and to communicate on the global management of waste within the Nice Côte d'Azur Metropolis.

Our partners were very enthusiastic and submitted many ideas to us in order to collect separately recyclable waste such as batteries, corks, organic waste (putting composters on the ground...).

Nearly 12 metropolitan and municipal structures have been included in Tropa Verde and have been equipped with containers to collect and recycle certain types of waste.

... and then came the Covid-19 and Alex Storm!

Due to the sanitary crisis at the beginning of March 2020, the platform could not be launched. The communication initially planned in order to promote the platform within our territory did not take place because all the stakeholders no longer receive an audience or only by appointment.

The platform was to be set up for a period of one year (initially); this action was covered by the agreement initially signed, which was extended "until May 2021".

Following the health crisis which "lengthened" as well as the storm "Alex" which hit many municipalities of our metropolis; all the employees of the waste management department were mobilized in the management of these 2 major crises.

To this day, containment is still in place at Nice and most of the services for the public are reserved only for emergencies.

Thanks to Tropa Verde and our partners in this journey, we have learned and exchanged a lot around how to better involve and motivate our citizens in waste sorting activities and campaigning. However, unfortunately, the new situation has strongly affected our department and priorities, a new Action Plan is being implemented, and we won’t be able to launch and sustain as planned the platform from 2021 onwards. In that sense, we might feel like we have failed in transferring such a Good Practice…

Tropa Verde: a successful transfer and experience

But despite all our troubles and difficulties, in truth, all Tropa Verde partners did transfer us a lot of ideas, tips and useful practical information, that we have implemented or are implementing.

We haven’t performed as well as our friends from Pavlos Melás (GR), that are experimenting a fantastic increase of users of Tropa Verde platform despite the sanitary crisis and a source of motivation, but further to our visit to Santiago, based on their example, we have reinforced our collaboration with our network of socio-cultural centres and local partners “Animanice” and created a similar network of 8 compost boxes for neighbourhoods.

Based on the inspiring success example of Guimaraes (PT), we are also starting to campaign to collect cigarette butts and hope that in a mid-term perspective such kind of waste will disappear from our streets and at our beautiful riviera.

After our visit in Opole which work on awareness campaign and kid sensibilisation we have work with kids and associations in order to improve our waste sorting collection.

We organized several event in collaboration with school and association in order to collect waste, butts that we find in the street.

So, the answer is yes: even if we couldn’t manage to maintain the platform and perform as we would have liked to, this was a nice transfer story in Nice!

Submitted by Christian Beade on 28/05/2021