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PlastiCircle to highlight recycling reward scheme at Waste in Progress forum

19 February 2019

The PlastiCircle project is set to feature at the International Forum on Waste Management, Waste in Progress, on 6-8 March 2019 in Girona.

This is the third edition of the Waste in Progress international gathering, with this year’s line-up featuring a host of topics ranging from technological solutions for collection of municipal waste, to pay-as-you-throw (PAYT) solutions, to lab spaces for municipal waste management innovations.

On 6 March, during the first round of Innovation Labs, PlastiCircle lead partner ITENE will present the project’s innovations in rewarding good recycling practices with the use of smart containers. This is one of several innovations that PlastiCircle is developing across the plastics value chain – with pilots in three cities across Europe.

The Waste in Progress forum will also feature other PlastiCircle partners such as Ecoembes and a host of municipalities from across the globe, including Seattle (United States), Leipzig (Germany) and Bern (Switzerland).

Additional features in Girona include a business expo and workshop series, featuring a host of public and private actors with an interest in innovative municipal waste solutions.

Future participants can register online, with a 10% conference fee discount for PlastiCircle partners. The event can also be followed live via Twitter at @wasteinprogress with the hashtag #wasteinprogress.


PlastiCircle and ICLEI Europe to host ‘Circular Cities’ conference

5 February 2019

On 16 May, PlastiCircle and ICLEI Europe will host a special conference in Brussels on the circularity of plastics in Europe’s urban environments.

The collaboration between ICLEI Europe and the PlastiCircle project will gather EU policy makers, cities, industry and civil society for a full-day interactive conference at Scotland House – in the heart of Brussels’ EU quarter.

‘Circular Cities – Innovating to tackle plastic waste’ will look at the key questions of the day: the future of plastics in Europe, the potential for turning waste into resource, what EU policies on plastics mean for cities, businesses and consumers, and the role of innovation in bringing circularity to urban Europe.

The conference will bring policy makers, cities and innovators together with three plenary panel sessions and a series of parallel workshops on plastic packaging innovations, digitalisation for a circular economy and circularity in cities. The conference will also feature a lunch-time ‘Innovation Space’ – a great way for stakeholders to network and meet with multiple organisations doing work in these areas.

Further information and registration forms will be posted soon on the PlastiCircle website, the ICLEI Europe website, and via Twitter and LinkedIn.

“We have set something which is irreversible” – European Commission’s Katainen on circular economy agenda

31 January 2019

On 31 January, European Commission vice-president for jobs, growth, investment and competitiveness, Jyrki Katainen, addressed an international panel on the next steps for Europe’s circular economy and plastics agenda - beyond the 2019 European elections.

Also looking back at the last five years of European institutional action, Mr Katainen said that the European Union had set an “irreversible” agenda on the circular economy, with strong progress on a series of circular economy actions since the beginning of the current Commission’s mandate five years ago.

“As part of the Circular Economy Action Plan, we have had legislative changes in areas such as waste legislation, single-use plastics and fishing gear – and these will have a significant impact on the sustainability agenda,” said Mr Katainen.

“But now we have to focus on the implementation of what we have achieved. Legislation is a big challenge for many of our member states so we have to help them with this legislation.”

 “We have eight months to influence the agenda of the [current] Commission” Mr Katainen added, referring to the time remaining until the next European Commission begins its mandate in November 2019.

“The Circular Plastics Alliance is a tool for the Commission to [engage with] all aspects of the value chain. The Circular Economy Stakeholder Platform is also helping,” said Mr Katainen. The Circular Plastics Alliance, an alliance of private sector actors active in the EU, was established in Brussels in December 2018.

Revealing specific objectives for the coming years, Mr Katainen also hinted at efforts to engage with China and Japan on the circular economy agenda and on plastic packaging.

“My dream is that we create a quality standard for plastic packaging, and that China and Japan would have this too. We are working on this at the moment.”

Looking ahead beyond the EU elections and change of Commission this year, Mr Katainen said the “next flow of actions [by the European Commission] must be fed in already now.”

“Circular economy will be on the agenda of the next European Commission,” he said. “We have set something which is irreversible.”

Launched in December 2015, the Circular Economy Package put in place the conditions for Europe-wide progress on circularity in a range of areas. The package was followed by the very first Europe-wide plastics strategy, published in January 2018.

As the strategy was published, European Commission first vice-president Frans Timmermans said: “The only long-term solution is to reduce plastic waste by recycling and reusing more. This is a challenge that citizens, industry and governments must tackle together. With the EU Plastics Strategy we are also driving a new and more circular business model. We need to invest in innovative new technologies that keep our citizens and our environment safe whilst keeping our industry competitive."

The panel debate ‘Beyond the 2019 Elections: what next for Europe’s circular economy and plastics agenda?’ was organised by the Aldersgate Group, and also featured representatives from SUEZ, Nestlé, Ramboll and Sky plc.

For more live updates from future events in Brussels and beyond, follow us on Twitter via @circ_economy.

Valencia, Utrecht and Alba Iulia to host PlastiCircle pilots in 2019

15 January 2019

The PlastiCircle project will move into top gear in 2019, with a series of pilot projects taking place in three European cities in the same calendar year.

In a recent interview, project co-ordinator César Aliaga said that 2019 will be a year of pilot action and innovation testing across the continent.

PlastiCircle, a Horizon 2020 project that aims to boost the quantity and quality of plastic packaging waste collected from citizens, will move into full swing as neighbourhoods in Valencia (Spain), Utrecht (the Netherlands) and Alba Iulia (Romania) all host pilot initiatives.

These initiatives aim to test plastic waste collection and transport before further work on sorting and recycling at project partner facilities.

“In countries such as Spain and Romania, plastic packaging collection rates are 75% and 59% respectively,” said Aliaga on the problems facing authorities around Europe. “With PlastiCircle, we want to increase this to 87%.”

Multiple cities, multiple innovations

In Valencia, the bustling San Marcelino neighbourhood has been earmarked for the roll-out of the project, while in Alba Iulia the pilot will take place in the city’s Goldis district.

The innovations in waste collection involve “smart containers” – with a range of advanced technologies – while transport methods will use innovative IoT and cloud platform technologies (also optimising waste collection routes).

“For waste transportation we specifically want to increase the filling levels in the containers, and of course reduce fuel consumption by the vehicles. This makes for a more economically viable way of doing things,” adds Aliaga.

Ahead of the pilots, PlastiCircle has also been working on innovations in sorting and recycling, all with the aim of producing added-value products with high recycled plastic content.

 “In terms of sorting packaging wastes at the sorting plants, PlastiCircle has the target of reducing material losses in sorting to less than 20% (whereas the average in Europe today is 25%). We also aim to improve precision in sorting to more than 95% - something which Europe isn’t achieving at the moment.”

The project is aiming for 85% content of recycled plastic in new PET products – products such as automotive parts.

A “revolution” in plastic waste treatment

According to Aliaga, 2019 will be a promising year for PlastiCircle, with the Valencia pilot to start in spring. There, waste collection in San Marcelino will take place between April and September – all kicked off with an information workshop for local residents.

The second pilot, in Utrecht, will begin in August, while Alba Iulia will see the start of its pilot in December.

The project also has a “follower” city in Velenje, Slovenia, where PlastiCircle innovations are due to be rolled out after the end of the project’s official four-year mandate.

“We are receiving continuous contacts and queries asking about the results of the project,” said Aliaga. “So I am confident that PlastiCircle can really represent a revolution in plastic waste treatment since many stakeholders and cities are just waiting for the results to be ready to be implemented.”