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Cities Cooperating for Circular Economy

Periodic Reporting for period 3 - FORCE (Cities Cooperating for Circular Economy)

Reporting period: 2019-09-01 to 2021-02-28

The overall objective is to minimise the leakage of materials from the linear economy and work towards a circular economy. Specific objectives are to:
• Engage cities, enterprises, citizens and academia in 16 participatory value chain based partnerships to create and develop eco-innovative solutions together.
• Develop 10 viable end-markets by demonstrating new applications for plastic waste, metals (EEE devices), biowaste and wood waste.
• Develop a governance model for cities based on value chain based partnerships.
• Develop decision support tools and assess the actual impact by use of Big Data.
• Ensure replication through the FORCE Academy aiming at enterprises, citizens and policy makers.

In FORCE, the 'leakage' of plastic and metals is minimised through activities to prevent the generation of waste (reuse), to prolong products’ life (repair), to reuse spare parts (remanufacture), and through recycling and recovery of waste materials. Biological waste/materials (wood, food and biowaste) are prevented through donation (meals), used as raw material in biochemical processes, recycled in farming, or recovered in energy production.

The partnership approach is based on a value chain concept and seeks to engage stakeholders across the entire material flow, from design to reprocessing, to create the right preconditions for demonstrating eco-innovative solutions. The partnership approach is implemented directly in the organisational structure of FORCE. The four cities will establish a ‘lead partnership’ for one material/waste stream. The other three cities will establish a ‘local partnership’ for the same material to gain and share experience. In both lead and local partnerships, stakeholders and partners will discuss and contribute to solutions. All 16 partnerships have been established and have started working.

Examples of the ten eco-innovative applications are: new plastic products made from recycled post-consumer plastics, repair shops for electrical and electronical devices and for wood products, apps for citizens/consumers and retail/restaurants, and new bio-economy applications such as proteins and acids made from wood and biowaste.
Citizen behaviour and awareness-raising
1. A simple and easily understandable collection scheme increases the amount collected
Copenhagen started to collect all plastics from households (rigid and flexible, packaging
and non-packaging) and the collection rate increased by 30 %. If awareness raising cam-paigns include fun and hands-on activities and start with children, they could act as multipli-er.

2. Development of a domestic and community composting network
Lisbon Municipality has supported and trained citizens in composting their waste.
67% of participants in the composting network live in blocks of flats. Low cost communica-tion channels have been the most effective means: social media (27%), own media (21%) and word of mouth (28%).

3. High demand for second-hand electric and electronic equipment
The demand especially for small appliances like tools and lamps is high. Key findings reveal the willingness of citizens to partake in a circular economy. For example, by learning how to repair their electrical products or furniture, or by reselling or donating them. Some activities may have been initiated by FORCE but are now operated by local volunteers.

Business models, technology & innovation
4. Flexible plastics can be recycled into valuable products, but not in a closed loop
Flexible plastics can be sorted, washed, and reprocessed into good-quality raw material suit-able for production of a range of new products. Printing colours have a detrimental effect on recycling.

5. Potential to increase reuse of wood in new products
Wood recycling is high (in Italy) and economic value is concentrated in the panel board sec-tor. New promising market applications are green building materials, niche markets and symbiosis platforms to support demand and supply of wood scraps.

Potential to process waste and produce molecule building blocks for use in economic sectors
6. Single cell protein, lactic acid, succinic acid has been produced from biowaste (lab scale) and has a potential to be used in food, pharmaceutical and industrial sectors. Carbohydrates have been produced from different kinds of wood waste and represent building blocks for green chemicals (biodiesel, solvents, bioplastics).

Networking and value chain cooperation
7. Knowing the needs in the value chain improves reuse and recycling
The wood value chain in Genoa has identified needs in a participative approach: it developed tailored codesigned solutions, rose awareness, spread the know-how and generated virtuous synergies.

8. Rethinking the existing platform for surplus food has increased the number of donors
76 donors signed up in the Lisboa Zero Web app. The estimated benefits are 1.7 million re-covered meals, 868 tonnes of food waste and 3,400 tonnes of CO2 emissions avoided.

Policy and governance
9. Legislation needs to foster circularity
Difficult for some start-up companies to access secondary raw materials. Local legislation not always prepared to small scale reuse or recycling activities (craft). End-of-waste proce-dures may be needed. E-products need to be designed to be repaired – more screws, less glue. Access to spare parts important. Large household appliances (e.g. washing machines) has potential for repair and resale.

10. Enable socio-economic initiatives
To take on resource intensive processing of waste materials. In Germany, cities are not al-lowed to pass on WEEE or spare parts to unauthorised entities such as repair shops or repair cafés since it is declared as dangerous waste and must be treated accordingly.

The final event, “Circular Economy Talks – FORCE insights sharing event” was a blend of live-and-online event with films, with 20 invited speakers and experts from the FORCE project and leading experts on circular economy. The event is available at FORCE insights sharing website.
The partnership to prevent food and biowaste, deals not only with surplus food from supermarkets, but it also redistributes cooked meals from restaurants and canteens.

The project has helped to shine light on the possibility of recycling PET food trays into new PET food trays, thus potentially closing the loop for a large share of the fast-moving con-sumables present in the plastic packaging waste stream.
Flexible plastics sorted in Copenhagen ready for reprocessing
Demo user interface for the Decision Support Tool (for used EEE)