Environment-System Balance

The information system and urban simulation of waste and materials, or la sistema de información y simulación urbana del residuos (SIMUR), is a tool to help in the management of urban waste. Waste management is an evolving field that has experienced rapid growth over the past few decades. There has been no single, clear solution found for efficient, sustainable models or instruments of waste management. However, by using this proposed model, it is possible to determine the level of waste collection and management a municipality is at by using a common analytical methodology. This is done through a series of environmental criteria and services related to waste management, while keeping up with municipal requirements or and legislative objectives.

SIMUR is an an analysis tool based on waste management and its consequences from a lifecycle perspective. The tool develops an environmental profile to identify both the actual management and projected solutions for the future of managing urban waste. The simulator can model any collection and treatment option that is used today (including many collection plants), can accommodate different scales of management (national, CCA, regional, municipal etc.).



Waste management simulation throughout the entire cycle
  • Management at the point of generation/contribution to the collection point.
  • System for collection and transportation to the first point of treatment or transfer.
  • Intermediate transport between plants.
  • Treatment systems.
  • Final destination: recycled materials, reuse, landfill, etc.
Structure and tools
  • Data entry forms.
  • Output results displayed clearly (value tables, accompanying and complementary graphs, final screen shots of images).
  • Ability to export tables, charts and images to excel.
  • Default data inputs and simulation standards.
  • Databases of fuel emissions, consumption, and plant operations.
  • Help function.
  • Ability to reproduce models already created for variants.
  • Other user support tools: reference additional documents, default data, terminology, acronyms, etc.
Definition of the management model
  • Existing generators of waste.
  • Fractions generated in the model.
  • Established collection systems.
  • Relationships between fractions with the corresponding collection systems and generators.
  • Treatment systems used and their final destinations.
Impact of management indicators and balance calculation
  • Mass balance.
  • Energy balance.
  • Impacts (balance of emissions and calculation of potential impacts).
  • Balance of costs.

Applications of SIMUR


  • Evaluation of real-world scenarios.
  • Evaluation of future scenarios or specific modifications to the current model.
  • Comparison between actual and planned models of management.
  • Detection of malfunctions and requirements to improve management models.
  • Verification of compliance with the targets set (total collection or recovery of materials, reduction due to biodegradable landfills, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, energy consumption, etc.)



  • Obtain information from different management models, then compare their outputs to define proposed strategies at different levels (national, CCA, regional, municipal etc.).
  • Use the results of the simulation to include information regarding consumption and emissions management according to the Plans of Action for Sustainable Energy or Local Mitigation of Climate Change.
  • Include the waste management results in the same framework used by the municipal environmental audit to carry out the Local Agenda 21.
  • Assess current and future management scenarios to support decision making and to justify future strategies in municipal collection. Such studies have also been framed in general strategic plans at the municipal level.
  • Assess the current management and future scenarios in the same framework that the Environmental Sustainability Reporting Process requires for Strategic Environmental Assessment of plans and programs.
  • Design evolution of Ecobarrios (Eco-neighbourhoods).

Case Studies and Applications

Since the establishment of SIMUR in 2002, this simulation model has gone through a long period of testing and verification to ensure its proper functionality. Moreover, it includes suggestions for improvement and offers flexibility when it is applied to real cases or design management, as every situation is unique.
The Urban Ecology Agency of Barcelona (BCNecologia) used SIMUR for many projects to evaluate waste management practices across a number of urban areas. In many cases, the analysis was done at the municipal level: the majority in the Metropolitan Area of Barcelona and Catalonia, some 50 case studies in Galicia and the Basque Country, and many other cases in Spain. In addition, various districts of Barcelona, Bellaterra Neighborhoods, Figueres, and more used SIMUR. Collection circuits were studied (for Barcelona), as well as senior levels of administration and associations, and even regions such as Catalonia and Galicia.





<<SIMUR is an information system and urban simulation of waste and materials that helps model and predict the collection and treatment of waste. Its purpose is to make an environmental profile to diagnosis how cities actually manage their waste and to help develop plans for the future >>

Idea aplicada en: 

SIMUR has been used by following municipalities: Catalonia (Barcelona, Egham, Figueres, Vilamoura, Manresa, Mataro, etc..), Galicia (A Coruña, Commonwealth of the Sierra de Barbanza, Ourense, Santiago de Compostela, etc..), Basque Country (San Vitoria-Gasteiz. Sebastian Usurbil, etc..), La Rioja and other cities within Spain (Leganes, Benicassim, etc.).