Better Knowledge - Draft Action 7: Develop a 'Circular Resource Management' roadmap for cities

  • Cristina (Commu... profile
    Cristina (Commu...
    6 February 2018 - updated 1 year ago
    Total votes: 1
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Bottleneck to be addressed

Identifying and understanding material stocks and flows within the city is of special interest for a resource efficient circular economy. An important aspect of this is the use of the economic potential of waste materials as a valuable secondary resource for new products. Given their experience with municipal waste management, cities are well equipped to facilitate this for the benefit of local economic activity and employment. However, at present most cities strongly focus on removing the waste from the city as quickly as possible, and at the lowest possible costs. Commonly, for most businesses the end products represent value and profit, and waste represents costs. The practice of most businesses is therefore to dispose of their waste in the most cost-effective way. Additionally, the focus on the input side is on virgin materials and not on re-use or recycling of secondary materials. As a consequence there is limited demand for these materials, although using them could be the most cost-effective business option.


The 'value hill' of Circular Economy


Supporting and enabling businesses to identify and exploit these opportunities can help to speed up cities’ transition towards a circular economy in terms of resource efficiency in the value chain. Supporting businesses and local authorities to identify their waste or by-products, diverting them away from the waste streams and using them as secondary resources for new products, will contribute to a more efficient resource management that is economically sound in terms of value creation. At the same time a shift from urban waste management to urban resource management would be a logical step for cities to take. This does not mean that waste management will become completely obsolete, but the primary focus will shift to waste as a secondary resource. In practical terms, this action aims to establish terms of reference for setting up an effective system of urban resource management.

In this roadmap, the three main elements of resource management will be incorporated; a) mapping of resources and resource flows, b) brokerage facilities to bridge the gap between supply and demand (e.g. a functional description of the tasks of a resource broker or infrastructural provisions); and c) the monitoring of results.


The main outcome of this action will be a practical roadmap that cities can use to develop urban resource management plans that can be tailored to their individual needs. The brokerage facilities will include a toolbox that will support cities with setting up the appropriate facilities to better match supply and demand of secondary resources, and also address issues such as financial incentives, legal instruments, communication and education.

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