WASTen, z.s. – Development of cluster organization

Operational Programme Enterprise and Innovation for Competitiveness – Cooperation (clusters) – Cluster development

Eligible expenditure:
CZK 4 000 000,00

CZK 2 000 000,00 (50%)

The WASTen cluster was established on 23 December 2015 as an association of innovative Czech companies, suppliers of cutting-edge technologies for the processing of municipal and industrial waste, and leading R&D institutes.

The WASTen Cluster had a total of 19 members, including 3 R&D organisations, as of the date of submission of the Preliminary Application for Subsidy. The cluster organisation development project of the WASTen cluster, z.s. is aimed at improving the quality of cluster management, promoting the cluster’s activities, improving cooperation between members and expanding the number of cluster members.

What problem does the project address?
Waste is not only a raw material but also a very important source of energy. The end of the 20th century and the beginning of the 21st century was marked by a rapid technological development of new environmental practices and technologies increasing the efficiency of waste management.

It is these developments, including the development of legislation, that have led to the development and production of environmental technologies by highly professionalised companies.

A similar situation is occurring in the field of waste management system operations, where increasing expertise and high customer demands are making it increasingly difficult for small and medium-sized organisations to meet the growing demands of the market.

As a consequence of the situation described above, SMEs involved in the development of cutting-edge technologies or in the operation of waste management systems are becoming less competitive and are relatively lagging behind the foreign competition of established large waste treatment companies. The WASTen cluster aims to pool the knowledge, human, technological as well as financial resources of SMEs in this highly competitive sector and support their further growth.

Considering the short time of existence of the cluster, WASTen is an immature cluster organisation and needs support to develop its activities. In particular, this involves establishing good cluster management, promoting cluster activities, improving cooperation between cluster members and expanding the cluster’s membership base.

In view of the above, the proposed activities of the WASTen cluster are highly topical.

What are the causes of the problem?
Research and development of processes and technologies in the waste treatment sector has reached a scale comparable to other industries. This process has been led by modern legislation, which in EU countries is based on a simple scheme promoting preventive practices and systems for material and energy recovery and, for non-recyclable waste, technologies for its safe disposal. At the same time, this legislation promotes the principle of proximity, i.e. the management of waste preferentially at the point of generation.

The Czech Republic is distinguished by a relatively high specific production of municipal and industrial waste, but an unflattering situation persists where a significant proportion of waste is landfilled. According to the forthcoming Waste Act, landfilling of waste with a calorific value higher than 4 MJ is to be avoided in the Czech Republic by 2024. According to the principles of the Zero Waste for Europe programme, landfilling of recyclable waste (metals, glass, plastics, paper, biodegradable waste, etc.) is to be significantly reduced by 2030. The principles of the circular economy clearly promote the re-use of waste. Under the legislation already in force today (Government Regulation on the Waste Management Plan), the Czech Republic is already obliged to reduce the proportion of biodegradable waste landfilled to 35% by 2020 compared to 1995.

So far, the company is approaching this requirement with difficulty.

Project objectives – Development of the cluster organisation:

  • Building a cluster management structure of experienced professionals, including the creation of working groups,
  • working on specific topics
  • Expanding the number of cluster members to at least 30.
  • Moving the cluster organization to the category of developed cluster

The planned expansion of the number of members of the WASTen cluster and the improvement of its management will enable it to gain a stronger position and improve the cluster’s bargaining power, which will lead to more effective representation of the cluster members in negotiations with state authorities in the legislative and tax area. Furthermore, access of cluster members to the results of science and research and the transfer of modern innovative technologies into practice will be improved. Joint educational and information events of the cluster members will then enable better sharing of knowledge and its more effective transfer into practice. All of the above will lead to an increase in the competitiveness of cluster members on the domestic and foreign market.

Activities implemented:

  • Development of cluster services – the project will significantly expand the existing services provided by the cluster
  • Management and coordination of cluster activities – the project will create new positions that will enable better distribution of competences in the cluster management and focus on key areas of development
  • Development of cooperation between cluster members – deepening of cooperation between cluster members
  • Development of external cooperation between the cluster and its members – the WASTen cluster will continue to establish cooperation with other entities (e.g. membership in the Energosvaz association)
  • Promotional activities – promotional materials in print, modification of the cluster’s website, promotional items (e.g. pens), articles and other presentations, professional conferences, exhibitions in the Czech Republic (with participation of cluster members), matchmaking events, conferences organized by the WASTen cluster, z.s.