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The circular economy is a hot-topic right now but what is it all about? And how can young people focus on this area? PlastIQ, the training organisation for the plastics sector, POM West-Flanders and COBOT, the training centre for the textiles sector, decided to develop the educational game Circonopoly which can be used by students to familiarise themselves with the circular economy within the textiles and plastics sector.

The new online game is suitable for areas such as economics, geography, sciences, citizenship and STEM. Pupils from the third grade of secondary school (ASO/TSO) can play the game free of charge in the classroom via the learning platform on the Circonopoly website. They can also drop into the Activity Centre – the activity and experience centre focusing on circular materials in the recently opened Circular Materials Center (CMC) in Kortrijk – where they can also take part in an interactive workshop.

Students can also see and experience how a circular product process is developed in the plastics sector in the production hall at PlastIQ in the CMC. It is important to realise that circular thinking is not just about recycling. The decisions that are taken during the design phase impact upon the entire production process and the user methods, but also affect what happens when the product is no longer needed.

Plastics sector leading the field in the circular economy

Circular thinking is embedded within the plastics sector. The sector is a leading light in circular design and production. The versatility of plastics means the production characteristics can be adapted to the various needs. Plastics with a relatively short useful life can be easily recycled while other plastics must be much more durable. After the useful phase, the focus must lie on the reuse and recycling of plastics so they can be used again or turned into new products.