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PlastiCircle Final Forum will display technologies for the circularity of packaging waste

17 March 2021

Collaborative strategies and new technologies for plastic circularity have proven to be a reality ready to be implemented in the market thanks to PlastiCircle. The results and impacts of this Horizon 2020 project will be showcased in a final forum to be held online on 13 April. The event is organised by ITENE research centre in collaboration with KIMbcn, Proplast and ICLEI, with the support from Ecoembes and PlasticsEurope.

This free forum invites industrial players along the plastic packaging value chain - including the plastic industry, converters, waste managers and recyclers-, as well as public authorities and policymakers, and will offer an overview of PlastiCircle achievements. The project comes to an end in May 2021, after four years of intense and innovative work to rethink the packaging waste cycle and transform it into a circular model, aligned with the European Union strategy.

As coordinator of the project, ITENE will give an introduction about the PlastiCircle approach, followed by European Commission's Project Officer Jiannis Kougoulis, who will explain the European Union circular economy strategy through Horizon 2020 and Horizon Europe programmes and PlastiCircle’s role in it. Then, Circularity Director of PlasticsEurope Patricia Vangheluwe will offer a high impact presentation on the circular economy with plastics.

Partners will show the technologies developed in the project, and Las Naves (Valencia, Spain), Municipality of Alba Iulia (Romania) and Municipality of Utrecht (The Netherlands) will explain how these innovations were implemented through three pilot projects and the results achieved. In addition, KIMbcn and ITENE will present the sustainable business model to promote circularity offered by PlastiCircle.

In the afternoon session, Axion will explain the strategy for the development of new products with post-consumer recycled plastics, while Proplast will offer an overview of the outputs obtained using plastic. These products will be presented as circular economy success stories by the companies Armacell, Derbigum, CRF, Hahn Plastics and Interval.

With this cross-cutting vision, PlastiCircle will demonstrate how the industry can already benefit from these developments to realise the new paradigm of the circular economy.

Click here to see the programme. 

Click here to register. 


For media queries, please contact:

Priscilla Castro, PLASTICIRCLE Communications Coordinator:

Fuencis Rausell, Head of ITENE´s Communication Unit:

Alba Iulia pilot results in 21 percent distance and 12 percent fuel savings

15 March 2021

The third and last pilot of the PlastiCircle project in the Romanian city of Alba Iulia secured important transport savings in the packaging waste treatment chain. Through the use of route optimisation algorithm, eco-driving systems, and placing sensors in collection containers, Alba Iulia was able to reduce the distance travelled by rubbish trucks in the pilot area by 21 percent, in turn saving them a 12 percent reduction in fuel costs.

Prior to the implementation of the pilot, rubbish trucks in the pilot area travelled an average distance of 3.6 km per day. Thanks to the solutions trialled, this was reduced to 2.8 km per day. Fuel consumption was also reduced from an average of 4.3 to 3.8 litres per day. The savings represent not only the clear economic benefit associated with reducing the cost of collection per route but also a positive environmental impact, producing fewer greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and releasing fewer pollutants to the atmosphere.

The savings are a result of the holistic approach proposed by PlastiCircle, introducing innovative technologies for the collection and transport of plastic packaging waste to increase recycling rates in Europe and close the plastic loop. As part of the technical solutions for the pilot, the Municipality of Alba Iulia placed 20 smart containers and 11 transceivers in the Goldis and Arnsberg districts. The IoT platform used to track participation in the pilot saw 255 families registered with a total of 470 citizens.

Only containers that were more than half full were collected, while the route optimisation algorithm revealed the best route to collect them. The system calculates a new course considering the shortest distance to collect a series of containers, showing the order of collection and the best way to reach them. In addition, drivers had access to this information through an application, which displayed the locations and had sound alarms for eco-driving principles (e.g. parameters such as speeding, excess of RPM, excessive idling or excessive use of the power take-off (PTO)).

The route optimisation algorithm alone resulted in distance savings of just 2% due to the small and dense characteristics of the pilot area. This combined with the filling level sensors, however, significantly increased the savings. The other pilots implemented in Valencia (Spain) and Utrecht (The Netherlands) had greater savings in distance and fuel due to the higher number of containers and their higher volume capacity, which allowed the skip of containers to be filled with less than a chosen threshold and resulted in fewer stops.

Speaking about the pilot’s results, Francisco Ample, software developer at SAV, said that “better improvements in terms of travelled distance and fuel can be achieved while increasing the number of containers and their volume capacity. For the eco-driving system, it is important that drivers have good training to follow the sound alarms in order to improve the eco-driving parameters.”


For more detailed information on the Alba Iulia pilot, watch the Virtual Study Tour that took place on 15 October 2020 on our Youtube channel: 

New webinar on tackling microplastics pollution

8 February 2021

On 24 February 2021, the EPR Club will organise a webinar on using EPR (Extended Producer Responsibility) as a policy tool to address microplastics pollution. The webinar is part of the conference ‘EPR as an instrument to tackle microplastics pollution’ EPR has organised the conference in collaboration with the European Parliament Intergroup on Climate Change, Biodiversity and Sustainable Development.

The conference consists of two webinars, the upcoming one on 24 February and one held on 27 January, which aimed towards a better understanding of the problem of microplastics and the potential measures to address it. The EU has tried to minimise the release of intentionally added micrpoplastics, through the use of a REACH restriction. However, 700.000 tonnes of microplastics per yera are still released in the EU.

Most of the microplastics particles found in the environment come from unintentional releases, such as from tyres, synthetic clothing, plastic pallets, artificial turfs and paints. A part of these particles may find their way to urban waste water treatment plants. Although current treatment technologies remove most of them, microplastics have a negative impact on circular economy options of waste water operators and jeopardize the affordability of water services.

During the webinar on 24 February participants will discuss whether the microplastics challenge can be addressed by introducing EPR schemes, where relevant, to cover the cost of remedial actions. The webinar aims to gather a wide variety of relevant stakeholders and to provide an opportunity for interactive discussion. Register here.

European Circular Cities Declaration introduced at webinar

15 December 2020

The first European Circular Cities Declaration Webinar was organised on 7 December. During the webinar, the Declaration was introduced to cities and regions potentially interested in signing. They were inspired by current signatories who presented good practice examples of how they integrated circularity principles into their city. The European Circular Cities Declaration was developed by a broad partnership of European stakeholders, who also had the chance to introduce themselves in the webinar.

Valerio Barberis, the Deputy Mayor of Prato, explained how the city aims to transform itself into the first ‘urban jungle’ in the world, while Zala Strojin, Circular Economy Manager in Ljubljana, presented the Slovenian’s capital vision for becoming a ‘green city with convenient living standards’ by 2025.

The perspective of Northern Europe was presented by Liv Öberg, project manager for circular economy in Umeå (Sweden), who gave an overview of the challenges and opportunities facing the Swedish city as it transitions towards a circular economy. Kathrine Overgaard Warberg, head of the Circular Copenhagen programme, showed how her city is working to transform waste separation and collection. Finally, Oslo's Håkon Sandven Jafton, coordinator of the Urban Agenda Partnership on Circular Economy, gave an update on the progess of the Partnership.

Missed the webinar? The presentations of all the speakers, as well as the full recording of the webinar, can be viewed here. The next webinar is planned to happen during the first quarter of 2021.