FORCE project: Cities Cooperating For Circular Economy

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The FORCE project is a project co-funded by the EU seeking to promote the shift towards the circular economy.

Running from September 2016 to January 2021, the project identified four main focus areas: plastic waste, wood waste, used electronic and electrical equipment, and food and biowaste. Each of the four cities involved (Copenhagen, Hamburg, Genoa and Lisbon) took the lead in one area, while the other three cities worked on establishing relevant local partnerships. The aim was to engage cities, enterprises, individuals and academics in 16 interactive value chain-based eco-innovative partnerships.

These partnerships worked on developing 10 viable end-markets by demonstrating new applications for the plastic waste, metals (EEE devices), biowaste and wood waste collected through new and improved collection schemes. In addition, the project sought to develop a governance model for cities based on these value chain-based partnerships, as well as tools to support decision making using Big Data.

Once the cities have proven that the collection schemes and end-markets are viable, they can be rolled out in other European cities. The project has practical objectives (such as increased collection rates) and clear ways of achieving them (such as setting up repair cafés for waste EEE, showing that the plastic collected can be reused, and identifying a technology that can process biowaste into fertiliser).

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The project used Big Data to assess the actual impact of these measures. For instance:

  • a simple and easily understandable plastics collection scheme in Copenhagen (picking up rigid and flexible plastic, packaging and non-packaging from households) increased the collection rate by 30%
  • rethinking the existing platform for surplus food, by getting 76 donors signed up to the Lisboa Zero WebAPP, led to estimated benefits of 1.6 million recovered meals, as well as avoiding 800 tonnes of food waste and 3 400 tonnes of CO2 emissions.