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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.

Valencia pilot closes with high registration numbers and savings in the waste logistics

14 February 2020

The district of Sant Marcel·lí, in Valencia (Spain), has wrapped up the PlastiCircle pilot with a set of positive outcomes and results. A total of 1,462 citizens registered to take part in the pilot, that is 554 families were involved in the PlastiCircle activities. The most intense registration period was the pre-pilot and the first month of the pilot. Street informers played a big role in engaging people to join, by offering them detailed information about the Supermarcelina campaign and its goals, and supporting them with the registration.

The deployment of the smart containers worked according to the plan: 25 smart containers were installed before the pilot started so that participants could get their labels to put on their garbage bags and throw them in those containers, plus all the filling sensors for the containers worked properly. During the pilot, an extra node had to be installed so that the information from the filling sensors in all the containers could be received. The purpose of this information was to use it to improve waste logistics, by contributing to an optimisation of the routes of the collection trucks. Thanks to this optimisation trucks saved 41% of the distance travelled, the time of the collection operations was reduced by 32% and they achieved savings of 22% in their fuel consumption.

Participants involved in the pilot have highlighted the fact that being involved in the pilot has helped them to know how to sort plastic properly. The amount of PET recycled plastic during the campaign could be used to produce 102,000 T-shirts and achieved savings of 5,000 kg of CO2.

PlastiCircle partners meet in Torino

11 February 2020

Representatives from the 20 European organisations involved in PlastiCircle met in Torino to share the progress and developments of the project and discuss the next steps. One of the hot topics were the pilots taking place in three cities: Valencia (Spain), Utrecht (the Netherlands) and Alba Iulia (Romania). The pilot in Valencia, which finished in October, was considered a success: over 550 families registered to take part in it. Participants could get points through properly sorting their plastic waste, through doing it regularly, through participating in social media challenges and through joining sorting workshops. Other positive results were achieved in terms of savings in fuel consumption and time during the collection operations.

Utrecht also presented their pilot and the activities they did as part of it, for instance their raising awareness videos with Madame Plastique. Participants joined workshops and panel discussions, and were invited to do some weekly assignments. Alba Iulia will start its pilot in April. The city is currently getting ready and preparing the communication campaign, as well as other details to involve citizens.

During the upcoming months of the project, partners will also analyse the potential market opportunities for the PlastiCircle solutions and the future market uptake.