2023 Experts on Circular Economy in Action: How Zero Waste Cities Are Leading the Change
In October 2023, Arcas & Callisto (A&C) orchestrated the "Experts on Circular Economy in Action: How Zero Waste Cities Are Leading the Change" webinars, bringing together circular economy industry experts from both China and Europe. The purpose of these sessions was to delve into the essential urban transformations required to achieve sustainable development. Leslie Petitjean, Circular Economy Officer at the ICLEI, shared insights gained from the CityLoops project.
Leslie Petitjean, a Senior Specialist with the Circular Economy Team at ICLEI in Europe, presented the team's involvement in the Circular Economy Project - CityLoops. With 28 partners from 8 countries, this project was implemented in 7 European cities - Appeldoorn (NL), Bodø (NOR), Mikkeli (FIN), Porto (PORTUGAL), Seville (SPAIN), Høje Taastrup, and Roskilde (DENMARK), successfully concluded in 2023 after a four-year journey.
The project focused on biological and construction waste, including soil, addressing critical waste challenges faced by cities. Their practical experience as pioneers in circular economy and construction waste management offers valuable lessons for others.
CityLoops concentrated on reducing resource consumption, utilizing local resources, and curbing long-distance transportation to minimize environmental impact and preserve urban development space. The diverse backgrounds of project partners facilitated a comprehensive view of the pilot, incorporating various perspectives and involving stakeholders such as local authorities, businesses, and even citizens, thereby fostering awareness and understanding of the circular economy.
▼ Leveraging Existing Tools & Minimizing Construction Demolition
Leslie emphasized that CityLoops learned valuable lessons from the city pilots. To accelerate the circular economy and circular building adoption, the project advocated for utilizing existing tools instead of developing new ones, making the pilots more efficient and cost-effective. Additionally, with global price increases and heightened awareness of carbon emissions from building demolition, retrofitting emerged as a preferable option over construction demolition.
▼ Project Visualization
To enhance risk management and material traceability, partners developed digital twins for project visualization. This intuitive approach aids decision-makers and plays a pivotal role in mainstreaming the circular economy, encouraging proactive adoption of circular economy strategies by cities.
▼ Mitigating Illegal Dumping of Construction Waste
Seville, Spain, one of the pilot cities, faced challenges related to the illegal dumping of construction waste. To address this issue, they optimized clean points, reducing illegal dumping by encouraging people to bring their construction waste to designated sites. This initiative not only facilitates recycling but also contributes to maintaining the cleanliness of the city.
▼ Developing a Secondary Materials Market to Facilitate Matching
Promoting the circular flow of construction waste involves establishing a recycling materials supply chain, conducting pre-demolition audits, and creating guidelines for material screening. Developing secondary market tools, such as online platforms or offline warehouses, helps connect the demolition and construction segments. The ultimate goal is to increase the utilization of recycled materials in new construction projects.
The successful conclusion of the CityLoops project underscores the importance of organizations that can encourage industry and government departments to broaden their perspectives and involve a diverse range of stakeholders. This support, particularly at the government level, contributes to the swift development of the circular economy in cities. For those interested, the CityLoops project summary report brochure and information on the tools and instrumentation developed can be accessed on its official website: www.cityloops.eu.