Representatives from across the European Union (EU) recently met in London to find out how London is accelerating its transition towards a circular economy.
The London Waste and Recycling Board (LWARB) shared London’s progress with visitors from seven different European regions as part of the European Regions Towards Circular Economy (CircE) project.
The visit took in sites which showcased circular economy approaches in London, including Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, Mercarto Metropolitano and Sustainable Bankside.
Visitors also took a tour of LWARB’s new office, whose recent fit-out was based on circular economy principles including remanufactured furniture, reclaimed and circular flooring solutions, refurbished IT and other innovative circular products.
Pioneering London-based small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) – also supported by LWARB through their Advance London program – shared work with the visitors. These SMEs include:
- Chip[s] Board, which creates building material from industrial potato by-products;
- Toast Ale, which brews award-winning beer using fresh, surplus bread; and
- Library of Things, which lets people rent rather than buy expensive items like sound systems, carpet cleaners and drills.
The CircE project is an EU Interreg-funded project, which aims to help partners from eight regions and cities in Europe to overcome barriers to a circular economy. It does this by sharing best-practice and learning, with the goal of finding innovative solutions that will accelerate circular economy at a regional level.
The regions involved with the project include:
- Lombardy, Italy
- Catalonia, Spain
- London, UK
- Gelderland, Netherlands
- Lower Silesia, Poland
- Sofia, Bulgaria
- The Association of Municipalities and Towns of Slovenia
- Hauts de France, France
LWARB works in conjunction with the mayor of London on plans to help London transition to a low-carbon circular economy. It says embracing the circular economy could bring £7 billion ($12.1 billion) of savings to London every year, create thousands of jobs, and reduce waste by up to 60 per cent across the capital.
Last year, LWARB launched the London Circular Economy Route Map, which outlined more than 100 practical actions that stakeholders across the capital can take to make themselves and the city more resilient and accelerate the transition to a circular economy.
The Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
The London Legacy Development Corporation is the organisation behind Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, which is free to visit every day of the week. It’s home to the London Stadium, the ArcelorMittal Orbit, the London Aquatics Centre, the Copper Box Arena, Lee Valley VeloPark and Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre – as well as parklands, waterways, playgrounds and cafes.
The London Legacy Development Corporation continues to share the knowledge and lessons learned from the London 2012 construction project, to raise the bar within the construction sector and to act as a showcase for UK plc.
It also continues to work closely with contractors, industry partners, government bodies, local communities and academia to build on the success of the London 2012 Olympic Games through promoting best-practice examples and driving innovations for the social and environmental benefit of future projects.
Mercato Metropolitano (MM), centrally-located in London’s south east Elephant & Castle, is the city’s first sustainable community market focused on revitalising neighbourhoods and protecting the environment.
The market has incubated more than 48 food and beverage businesses, a delicatessen with sustainably-sourced products from local farmers and artisans, a unique cinema experience, a communal kitchen and several circular economy conepts including a Bavarian micro-brewery, a hydroponics farm, a mushroom garden from spent coffee grounds and a vertical garden in a double decker bus to name a few.
Launched in 2016, MM attracts up to 60,000 people a week to a part of the city that previously had little footfall. It aims to teach urban dwellers that they can support their local and rural communities, while at the same time protecting the environment by focusing on what they eat and how they eat.
Sustainable Workspaces Bankside
Sustainable Workspaces Bankside is the second co-working facility established by Sustainable Ventures in 2018. Sustainable Workspaces was founded with the aim of providing a flexible, affordable, and collaborative community for entrepreneurs to partner with investors, governments, and NGOs focused on sustainable development.
Comprised of over 50 sustainable startups and businesses and more than 300 people, Sustainable Workspaces is the largest collective of sustainable enterprise in London and Europe.