How is the circular economy being applied in our cities?

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5 November, 2019

In 2018, the United Nations Organisation published a report in which it estimated that by 2050, 68% of the population will live in urban areas, compared to the current 55%. In a nutshell: urban growth is set to continue, meaning therefore that the waste produced in cities and the consumption of energy and raw materials are also set to increase.

In order to address this situation, many governments are implementing circular economy models in their cities. And whilst these authorities are introducing initiatives in the streets to improve their cities’ relationships with the environment, they are not the only ones doing so. 

C-VoUCHER has demonstrated its commitment to boost circular solutions in companies such as Nordphos which are working to improve the sustainability of cities. This start-up was founded with the aim of introducing new technological innovations in the water treatment sector. The idea is to ease the overcapacity of the sewage system and use this water, which is rich in nutrients, for irrigation systems. 

8 cases of cities where the circular economy model has already been applied


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In 2017, the English capital set up Circular London through the London Waste and Recycling Board (LWARB). This programme established a roadmap detailing how the circular economy could be implemented in this city. According to LWARB’s calculations, by the year 2036, the implementation of this circular economy model could result in economic benefits of at least £7bn for the city’s industries including food, textiles, electricity and plastic.


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Within the framework of the «Plan Économie Circulaire de Paris» (White Paper on the Circular Economy), Paris’s Circular Economy Plan includes 15 specific actions which the city intends to implement between 2017 and 2020. The principal aim of this plan is to reduce waste production and promote responsible consumption. So far two thirds of the programme has been completed. 


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Circular Berlin is a German project which aims to implement a circular economy in the capital. It is defined as a network of strategists, researchers and designers with the common aim of implementing this way of thinking in companies and organisations. Through their activities, they have identified the industries which would be able to adopt these models as well as defined how this could be done, and likewise they are involved in raising awareness on these issues. 

New York

One of the biggest cities in the world will once again host the Circular City Week in March, 2020. This is an event which serves as a platform for exchanging knowledge on these topics. In the last edition, a whole range of activities took place including a book launch, conferences, an art exhibition, projections, etc.

San Francisco

San Francisco from the Marin Headlands
This American city hopes to generate zero waste by 2020. While the Zero Waste initiative might at first seem completely out of reach, nonetheless, they have made great progress and in fact, out of all of the large cities in the United States, they are among those which send the least amount of waste to landfills. The actions which they are undertaking include a ban on the most polluting products and materials.  


Austin Materials Marketplace is an online platform which was set up by the U.S Business Council For Sustainable Development (USBCSD) and supported by Austin Resource Recovery. The idea behind this initiative was to provide companies and organisations with a meeting place where they could connect with each other in order to develop new circular solutions. These solutions include material and waste exchange initiatives. It is a free of charge platform which currently has over 264 participants, including companies, entrepreneurs and non-profit organisations. 


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The Share Peterborough community has been introduced in the city of Peterborough. As in the previous case, this platform allows for materials to be exchanged, however, it actually goes beyond this by allowing for services to be exchanged and by offering companies the opportunity to share resources and therefore reduce their overall expenditure. This is a free member platform. 


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The Circular Lab, a centre for research and innovation into circular economy models has been set up in Logroño. Promoted by Ecoembes, this centre aims to develop solutions which will tackle packaging consumption and it boasts collaboration with numerous companies and public administrations.