Circular economy


A circular economy is one in which we keep resources in use for as long as possible, extract the maximum value from them whilst in use, then recover and regenerate products and materials at the end of their life. It is a more efficient and environmentally sound alternative to the traditional linear economy in which we make, use and dispose of resources.

LWARB’s Towards a circular economy report, an introduction to London’s circular economy route map, was published on 9 December 2015.

A more detailed circular economy route map for London will be published in January 2017.

The importance of a circular economy in London

As well as creating new opportunities for growth, a more circular economy will:

  • reduce waste;
  • create jobs and training opportunities:
  • drive greater resource productivity;
  • deliver a more competitive UK economy;
  • position the UK to better address emerging resource security/scarcity issues in the future;
  • help reduce the environmental impacts of our production and consumption in both the UK and abroad.

By adopting a circular economy approach, London can unite business interests with the city’s wider development needs. This will help London remain globally competitive. A research paper written by WRAP and funded by the London Sustainable Development Commission, GLA and LWARB, Employment and the circular economy – job creation through resource efficiency in London describes the potential for circular economy approaches to create new jobs in London. The report states that by taking a circular economy approach the capital could benefit from 40,000 gross jobs and 12,000 new jobs.

The GLA and LWARB have joined with circular economy thought leaders the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, in order to give London the chance to network, share and learn from other cities, regions and businesses about the benefits of a circular economy.