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PlastiCircle turns spotlight to Dutch city of Utrecht

8 October 2019

For the pan-European PlastiCircle consortium, last week’s flurry of intense activity marked the start of the second PlastiCircle pilot initiative. After a hugely successful pilot in Valencia, Spain, we now turn our attention to pilot number two in the Dutch city of Utrecht.

With the starting gun fired on 30 September, the Utrecht pilot has got off to a strong start. In the pilot district of Terwijde, more than 65 participants have already signed up to a virtual citizen participation platform – designed to accompany people through each stage of the pilot. Here it’s all about increasing locals’ knowledge of plastic waste, motivating them to separate this waste better, and encouraging Utrecht citizens to reduce the plastic waste they produce in the first place.

For Eric Velthuizen, project leader at the City of Utrecht, the emphasis on “reduce, re-use, recycle” is central to Utrecht’s engagement with its citizens:

“Like other European cities, Utrecht wants to reduce the amount of waste we produce and recycle as much as possible. In fact, this means recycling at least 50% of our waste by the end of 2020. And by 2050, we want to recycle 100% of our waste. For this, our local economy will have to change from a “linear” to a “circular” economy – and PlastiCircle can help.”

Mr Velthuizen adds: “PlastiCircle can help us to improve our citizens’ awareness on waste in general, and in particular the knowledge our citizens have on plastic packaging waste. With this increased consciousness and knowledge they will be able to reduce the amount of plastic packaging waste and to recycle more.”

Every week, citizens who participate in the pilot will receive a different ‘assignment’ on how to: treat their household plastic waste; better separate it before collection; reduce their waste, or even how to recycle it more effectively.

“Let’s not forget that the PlastiCircle approach offers a number of solutions that can help the way we do things in Utrecht,” recalls Mr Velthuizen.

“For example, we now have techniques that can help us reduce the number of kilometres driven per waste disposal truck (thus reducing costs and CO2 emissions), and also software that makes for safer driving behaviour.”

A series of PlastiCircle innovations tested during the Valencia pilot will be rolled out in Utrecht over the coming months, with route optimisation software for collection trucks of particular interest to innovators within Utrecht's local authorities.

The PlastiCircle consortium will be visiting Utrecht in late November to early December for a closer look at how PlastiCircle innovations are being rolled out, and what challenges need to be addressed on the ground to make the pilot more successful and more relevant for the inhabitants of Terwijde.

For more updates, follow PlastiCircle on Twitter via @circ_economy.