Plastic chain mapping

Circular Economy
Stad Leuven

CORE was approached by Leuven Circulair to conduct an in depth investigation of the amount of plastics that could enter and leave a city within a calendar year. The end result was represented as a presentation of the results retrieved for the circular hub of Leuven. 

Plastic stream in and out of Leuven

Leuven was chosen as a reference point to start from, and later the methodology could be implemented for eleven other different hubs in Belgium that take part in this project. The report conducted a clearer overview about the flow of plastics into and out of cities with the aim to have a better understanding of the highest plastic-consuming industries and to try improving resource allocation techniques for recycling and reuse of plastics, as well as looking for alternatives. 

For the calendar year of 2018, it was easy to notice that the packaging industry topped the charts as the highest plastic-consuming industry in comparison to construction, automotive and electrical and electronic equipment industries, accounting for almost half of the plastic collected as post-consumer waste. Another interesting finding was that 50% of the plastics that enter the system during a calendar year stay within the system and is not thrown away as plastic waste. 

Extention to material mapping 

The plastic mapping system is however the first step into a bigger project where a system could be created to track any type of material that flows through a certain hub or country. The mapping could be used to track textiles, concrete or any type of product that comes to mind in order to facilitate material tracking and the correct allocation of resources.  


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