PLASTICIRCLE - Improvement of the plastic packaging waste chain from a circular economy approach

The PlasticCircle project will rethink the different phases involved in transforming plastic waste into valuable products: from the development of smart containers for separate waste collection to the improvement of transport routes and sorting technologies. The overall aim is to achieve recovery within the same value chain by applying innovative approach in each stage of the process.

The first step will consist of developing an innovative collection system able to identify the quantity and quality of packaging deposited in the containers by each citizen which will help implement a system of incentives. The idea is to encourage better separation of plastic waste and to reduce the amount of mixed waste that is generated.

The second action will focus on the transport phase, decreasing the final price of recovered plastic by saving fuel and transport costs from municipalities to sorting plants. A sensor which indicates how full waste containers are will update truck routes in real time, and a waste compactor installed on-board will maximize the amount of waste transported per route. Operators will also be trained to drive efficiently.

The third step will enhance sorting technologies to achieve a better separation of different types of plastic in treatment plants, including multilayer and multi-material packaging, since plastics can be only recycled if separated correctly.

The last step will see the reprocessing of these materials into products like automotive parts, foam boards for wind turbines and roofing structures, garbage bags, asphalt, fences and benches - based on extrusion, injection and compression moulding - thereby closing the plastic waste loop.

In order to test the innovative approaches, pilot actions in the cities of Utrecht (Netherlands), Valencia (Spain) and Alba Iulia (Romania) will be carried out. PlastiCircle will also define business plans and promote market uptake of the proposed solutions through training and awareness-raising activities for citizens, institutions and private companies.

It is expected that the project outcomes will support the achievement of EU targets, such as the goal to recycle 75% of packaging waste by 2030[1], and ultimately benefit society.

The official start of the project was on 01.06.2017 and will last until June 2021. The Project Coordinator is Instituto Tecnológico del Embalaje, Transporte y Logística (ITENE) from Spain, with the help of a consortium of nineteen project  partners from nine EU countries (Slovenia, Germany, Belgium, United Kingdom, Spain, Italy, Romania, Netherlands, Norway).

The PlasticCircle project is financed by the European Union funding Programme Horizon 2020. The total project budget is EUR 8,674,540.89, from which EUR 7,774,016.75 provided by the Programme Horizon 2020 and the rest of the funds provided by project beneficiaries.

The Municipality of Velenje is a one of the project beneficiaries in a role of a follower, which means that we will share and disseminate the gained experience of the PlastiCircle project on the plastic packaging management.

Additional information:

Additional information about the Program Horizon 2020

Horizon 2020 is the biggest EU Research and Innovation programme ever with nearly €80 billion of funding available over 7 years (2014 to 2020) – in addition to the private investment that this money will attract. It promises more breakthroughs, discoveries and world-firsts by taking great ideas from the lab to the market.