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Successful Valencia Visit Points To Crucial Work Ahead

25 July 2018

Last week’s visit by the PlastiCircle consortium to the Spanish city of Valencia was another key chapter in the PlastiCircle story. With two technical visits down and one to go, preparations for PlastiCircle’s crucial pilot phases are well under way.

On 17-18 July 2018, the PlastiCircle team conducted a successful technical visit to Valencia, Spain – to the Picassent sorting plant (outside the city), and to the San Marcelino neighbourhood, home of the upcoming PlastiCircle pilot phase in Valencia.

Hosted by project partners Las Naves, the technical visit was a real opportunity to lay the groundwork for the pilot in San Marcelino, where local authorities will pilot PlastiCircle’s innovative solutions in waste collection and transport.

“San Marcelino is a working neighbourhood with diverse demographics, so in that respect it is the perfect place for the pilot phase to take place,” confirmed project co-ordinator César Aliaga.

Located in the south-west of Valencia, San Marcelino is home to just under 10,000 inhabitants spread over 33 km2​, with the first inhabitants having settled as early as 1954. The district has been used for municipal pilot projects before, owing to a favourable demographic and population structure for trial initiatives.

During their visit to the district, the PlastiCircle consortium toured municipal waste collection infrastructure (both permanent and mobile), and fielded questions from local media who were keen to understand both the interest of an international consortium in this corner of Valencia, and the connection between the Valencia pilot and those in Utrecht, the Netherlands, and Alba Iulia, Romania.

For the PlastiCircle project, the technical visit – whether to Utrecht, Valencia or Alba Iulia – is a crucial component of forward planning for the pilot phases. Even at this relatively early stage of the multi-year project, PlastiCircle innovations must be properly explored by the consortium; innovations including “smart” containers, the cloud-platform-connected waste transport system, optical sorting technologies, or even the incentive schemes which will be introduced so that citizens can fully engage in plastic waste collection in their local neighbourhoods.

“Seeing how the existing waste management infrastructure works in this pilot neighborhood is crucial if we are to be able to implement the PlastiCircle approach and improve the quantity and quality of recyclables,” said Axion’s Richard McKinlay.

In an interview with local media, Jan Bloemheuvel of the city of Utrecht said: “It’s good to make the people and citizens of your city aware that plastic needs to be separated; that it needs to be collected in a good way so we can re-use it and avoid using more resources to make new plastic.”

Mr Bloemheuvel added: “It’s also important for people to know what to recycle – what kind of plastic to put in one bin, and what type of plastic we need to put in another bin. People need to be informed about how to do it.”

This Valencia visit was the second of three technical visits undertaken by the PlastiCircle consortium. Following the work in Utrecht and Valencia, the partners will now turn their attention to the technical visit to Romanian pilot city Alba Iulia on 12-13 September 2018.

Further updates will be available on this website and on Twitter via @circ_economy.