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Utrecht shares insights about its pilot

17 February 2020

From September 2019 until January 2020, the Municipality of Utrecht has executed its PlastiCircle pilot. The main goal was to increase the amount of collected plastic packaging waste from inhabitants. In August 2019, participants were recruited by using digital and social media. At the end, 60 households enlisted for the pilot. A digital platform was used for two-way communication. Articles, videos and other content about plastic waste were shared.

The first phase of the pilot was about awareness. The second focused on reducing the amount of plastic waste. Utrecht triggered participants’ action by giving them weekly assignments, such as counting the number the plastic packaging they opened during a day, how to handle the waste or testing their knowledge. At the beginning of December a panel discussion with some participants and project members was hold to discuss the main issues, problems and possible solutions regarding plastic waste. Some of the identified issues were: the low collection frequency, the distance to an underground container or different guidelines in the various regions in Europe. A bigger issue to tackle is the amount of single-use plastics. Before the pilot started, in the middle of it and at the end of it, waste was analysed and the collection rate was calculated.

Besides the pilot with the participants, key data and information about underground containers and filling degree sensors in driving routes were shared. This data was and is used for testing, in a newly build software, forecasting and route optimisation. In the coming period Utrecht test a newly build software. As part of the project a new tool has been developed. This tool is about instructing drivers to drive safer and more efficient: less fuel means less CO2.