23 October 2023

Two new handbooks for local and regional governments implementing the circular economy

Two handbooks are now available to support circular local and regional governments in Europe, one on circular construction and one on circular bio-waste management. The handbooks show in-depth the details and learnings from circular activities and instruments implemented in the cities of: Apeldoorn (the Netherlands), Bodø (Norway), Mikkeli (Finland), Porto (Portugal), Seville (Spain), and Høje-Taastrup and Roskilde (Denmark).

The handbook on circular construction shows how these activities fit into the broader context of the European circular transition, providing an overview of the state-of-the-art. It highlights that circular construction is a flourishing topic with more and more uptake throughout Europe, while emphasising that the construction sector is still only at the beginning of its circular transition. The sector is one of the most important and resource-intensive sectors, both from an economic and environmental standpoint. It accounts for roughly half of all material extraction, half of energy consumption, a third of water consumption and 40% of all greenhouse gas emissions.

Bio-waste represents between 30% and 50% of municipal solid waste generated in Europe; local authorities therefore need to implement solutions and measures to slow, narrow and close biological cycles if they want to make the circular transition a reality. The handbook on bio-waste management highlights how that has been done, differentiating between bio-waste prevention, collection and valorisation. In addition, the handbook shows how, through a series of cross-cutting actions, municipalities can create an enabling environment that supports the adoption of circularity by all local stakeholders. These “enablers” have been tested by the aforementioned cities through demonstration actions, and have been integral to their success.

The handbooks and the work taken on by the partner cities was all done in the context of the EU-funded CityLoops project, which is coordinated by ICLEI Europe. By changing this unsustainable and harmful linear pattern of ‘take-make-dispose’, the circular economy can reduce the negative impacts that the construction and bio-waste sectors have on the environment, while retaining and enhancing economic value. This was the intent behind the tools, instruments and study cases that were developed over the four years of CityLoops. The handbooks provide a step-by-step overview of how cities across Europe can replicate the work done in the project and feature practical examples outlining how cities implemented these developed tools, why they made certain decisions, what they could have done differently, and how all this fits into broader European circular strategies and policies.

The handbooks were introduced during CityLoops webinars, which presented the project’s work in these two waste streams, providing an overview of how its results, lessons learnt and best practices can be replicated in cities across Europe.

For more information, watch the two webinar recordings on YouTube using the following links: Construction and demolition waste webinar; and Bio-waste webinar.

Download the two handbooks at: Construction and demolition waster handbook; and Bio-waste management handbook.