London is a vibrant, fast growing city but this growth right now uses a lot of resources and produces waste. The circular economy can help with this. Currently we take virgin raw materials, make things, use them for a while and then throw them away. This traditional, linear approach is wasteful and it is causing problems for our environment in all sorts of ways. From plastics in the oceans to overflowing landfill sites. This puts us in danger of running out of some of our most valuable, scarce resources.
In contrast, a circular economy is designed to keep products and materials circulating within the economy at their highest value for as long as possible, through re-use, recycling, remanufacturing, delivering products as services and sharing.
“It’s good for business…
Making better use of existing materials is more resource efficient and helps businesses to protect themselves from fluctuating commodity prices. New circular business models offer a more stable operating environment for manufacturers, retailers and consumers and the possibility of new revenue streams, markets and product lines.
“And it’s good for London…
London is growing fast. The capital’s population is predicted to reach over 11 million by 2050.
The circular economy provides sustainable and profitable ways in which the city can respond to the challenges of this dramatic growth in crucial areas like housing, office space and critical infrastructure as well as business growth. By 2036, the circular economy could provide London with 40,000 new jobs and net benefits worth more than £7bn/year.
Circular Economy effects on waste production in London
We commissioned consultants ARUP to produce a projection of the impact of a range of circular economy initiatives. Including, the effects a transition to a circular economy would have on the capital’s waste production.
The results indicate a potential reduction of more than 60% in waste production, with a central estimate of approximately 30% – depending on levels of uptake. The graph below shows the impact of different scenarios.
The report shows the kind of benefits that can be achieved with well-targeted business and public engagement. Aspects which are key to the success of circular economy initiatives.
Since publishing the report, revisions have been made to Table 9 in the main report. Please read the erratum below in conjunction with the report.