Circular Vejle: A REFLOW City and Testbed for Circular Plastics

REFLOW unites 28 European multi-disciplinary partners to co-create circular and regenerative cities. Vejle is one of the 6 pilot cities, specifically tackling plastic material flows.

A REFLOW City and Testbed for Circular Plastics

The city of Vejle fosters innovativeness and creativity by tapping into the neighbourhood scale as the testbed for circular plastic solutions.

To define impactful interventions for the city’s circular transition and thereby inform decision-making processes, Vejle has applied material flow analysis and site-specific plastic analysis. Thanks to these methods, food packaging in retail, PVC plastics in healthcare, public procurement, and imperfect sorting were identified as especially impactful areas necessary to prioritise.

For instance, the Vejle pilot identified candy boxes as a key type of food packaging. These are a big part of the plastic fraction in retail, are sturdy and made of high-quality plastic, and are currently sent to incineration. Together with the entire value chain, Vejle is therefore exploring alternatives, such as closed-loop reuse, open-loop reuse and recycling. Ultimately, this work will result in a model for circular plastic in the retail sector, and these micro-level solutions can then be further scaled across other SMEs and used by future cities to realise their circular and regenerative transitions.


REFLOW is an EU Horizon 2020 project coordinated by Copenhagen Business School. The project is guided by the REFLOW Vision of a circular and regenerative city represented as an urban system with social and business practices which place equal attention to social, environmental and economic impact; where technology is open and represents a central enabler of positive social and environmental change; where the urban system ensures and support resilience of social and ecological systems; where governance is collaborative and inclusive; where knowledge is shared, and stakeholders are active and involved.

  • 29%

    of plastic waste is characterized by food packaging

  • 63%

    of plastic waste is incinerated in Vejle

  • 8,600

    tonnes of plastic waste collected/year in Vejle

  • 47%

    of plastics in Vejle are consumed by local industry, primarily the local plastic and food industries

  • 2/3

    of air pollutants emitted by the consumption of all plastics is caused by PVC in Vejle

  • 32k

    tonnes of CO2 emissions/year are associated with Vejle’s plastic consumption