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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.”