Intro

Plastics are one of the most urgent problems of today. Unfathomable amounts of plastics find their ways into the Oceans, harming marine life, affecting tourism, and rising up the food-chain into human bodies. It is undisputed that plastic is a fantastic material: cheap, light-weight, easy to process, flexible yet resistant, and very durable - yet this durability is our major problem. 

We must find ways to collect and recycle plastics, leaking less into Nature. This report strives to make a contribution by exploring existing and new plastic waste collection and recycling strategies in the cities of Ghent, The Hague, Southend-on-Sea and Douai, taking into account their similarities - for instance, all have waterways in their towns and historical town-centres with narrow streets and restricted access - as well as their differences in terms of size, organisation, practices, laws and other aspects.

Waste collection and logistics

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Plastic waste recycling as it is

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Feature Box

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Feature Box

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Waste collection and logistics

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CO2 emissions
50%
Congestion
60%
Heil Truck

In the past, the waste collection was carried out without a real-time analysing of demand, and the construction of the routes was mainly static. However, because of the ongoing urbanisation, the importance of an efficient collection system only increases. Modern traceability devices, like volumetric sensors, identification RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) systems, GPRS (General Packet Radio Service) and GPS (Global Positioning System) technology, permit to obtain data in real-time basis, which is fundamental to implement an efficient and innovative waste collection logistics model. Optimally, a method integrating traditional vehicle routing problem (VRP) solutions and real-time analysis that tries to optimise economic, environmental and social cost is to be developed.

In Plasticity project, we develop a modular logistics model as an integrated way to improve the service efficiency, which incorporates the analysis spans from traditional VRP analysis, new ways to transport plastic waste inside the four project cities, and new approaches to logging and tracking plastics from source to destination.

Current plastic waste management practices

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Ghent

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The Hague

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Douai

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Southend-on-Sea

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New ideas to explore