Within the urban environment – often including cities near water bodies – a lot of plastic waste is available that would, in terms of quality, technically be eligible for recycling but is not effectively validated. These so-called ‘lost plastics’ can form a prominent role in the circular economy, providing actors and stakeholders with an economic opportunity to benefit by stepping away from traditional plastic disposal methods. These economic opportunities are not fully known/understood, collection logistics not fully developed, sorting facilities not well equipped or stakeholders not fully engaged. These are all barriers to realize the full potential of plastic in the circular economy and need to be overcome if the 2Seas region is to play a key role in delivering the EU strategy for plastics in the Circular Economy.
The objective of the PlastiCity project is to develop replicable strategies and solutions that are able to increase recycling rates in urban environments from 20-30% to over 50% by unlocking the use of ‘lost plastics’ as secondary resources from the urban environment.
The main project output is a strategy to create PlastiCity hubs to significantly increase the recycling rates lost plastics in urban environments in the 2Seas region. Such a hub is defined as a local network of relevant partners and physical infrastructure, supported by a digital environment/Urban Platform.
The project brings together a diverse range of urban and academic skills, expertise and approaches and different national and local systems from Belgium, the Netherlands and the UK that will help identify best practice, ensuring that we can develop a replicable model that is relevant to other urban environments in the 2Seas region. Indeed, cities in the 2Seas area display huge differences in economic typologies, waste management schemes, cultural context, and local and regional policies. Insights in this variety and its impact on the business models facilitates the assessment of specificities and best practices and facilitates replication towards other urban areas. PlastiCity involves 4 case study cities, each focusing on demonstrating specific aspects of the strategy. To facilitate cross-border collaboration, PlastiCity involves a mobile unit that travels in the 2Seas region to perform testing, demonstration and sensitisation actions.
The PlastiCity project has a budget of 9,5 million euros and is coordinated by the City of Ghent. Ghent University is the leading research partner of the consortium.