At present, the Baltic Sea region (BSR) possesses great disparities in the methods used to handle and process waste. While some countries recover most of the waste they produce, a number of other nations are lagging behind. Such disparity needs to be addressed to accommodate a more sustainable solution to waste management issues.

The authors discuss how universities together with other research institutions find their prominent role here. A regional project, RECO Baltic 21-Tech, partly funded by Baltic Sea Region Programme 2007-2013, serves as an example of mutual benefits: universities via professional research and education contribute to a sustainable waste management in the region, at the same time gaining interesting topics for research, possibilities for capacity building and curricula enrichment for students.

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