Master Class Series Cities Supporting Cities: Towards Circular Economy Concepts, Frameworks, and Actions

Categorized as News from NA

Our webinar series, Cities Supporting Cities: Towards Circular Economy Concepts, Frameworks, and Actions led by IURC NA in partnership with Fort Collins, USA, intends to guide participants on how to start or advance circular economy in their cities. In each session, Fort Collins shares its story and learnings, as they move through the process to establish its own plan for implementation. The series started in December 2022 and will end in June 2023. You may find below the information regarding past sessions and register for the upcoming ones:

1st of December, 2022

Where Do Cities Get Started with the Circular Economy? From Framework to Action


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Attendees heard from Fort Collins, USA, as they offered their city as a case study as they embark on an update to their Economic Health Strategic Plan with a first-time focus on circularity.

One question on Fort Collins’ mind – what is the right circular economy framework for this planning effort? To help answer this question for cities that are moving from conceptual into strategy, leading circular economy consultant Metabolic will share their circular economy framework, how it differs from other frameworks, and how to determine which framework is useful for enabling action.

Bonus: Start thinking creatively about connecting waste streams back to production processes in your city’s Miro board

  1. EU Emphasis on Circular Economy:
    • Circular economy is a key pillar in addressing carbon emissions and biodiversity issues.
    • The EU actively promotes circular economy initiatives internationally, including at the UN and in global plastic agreements.
    • Circular economy is recognized as a positive agenda with substantial job creation potential, and cities play a crucial role in its development and implementation.
    • The EU’s Circular Economy Action Plan, aligned with the Green Deal, is actively being implemented, showcasing a commitment to sustainable practices.
  2. Fort Collins’ Circular Economy Efforts:
    • Fort Collins has been dedicated to developing a comprehensive economic health plan for over two decades, with a recent focus on circularity.
    • The city is currently updating its economic health plan, integrating circular economy practices, and seeking guidance from Metabolic.
    • Frameworks, including local manufacturing and landfill data, are utilized to understand community needs and inputs in the production process.
    • Challenges and opportunities include the need for local facilities, like concrete crushing, to support circular practices.
  3. Metabolic’s Circular Economy Strategies:
    • Metabolic, a Netherlands-based specialist, collaborates with cities on circular economy initiatives, such as the circular economy strategy for the city of Charlotte.
    • Circular economy is defined as keeping investments in labor and materials within the economy and that resources are recovered. Ideally, it must also consider environmental and social components.
    • The seven pillars model takes a holistic approach to circular economy, ensuring it stays within planetary boundaries and addresses social impacts.
    • Cities can influence consumption patterns, even for imported goods, through regulations or requirements.
    • The Three Horizons framework illustrates the transition from a linear to a circular model, emphasizing the importance of industrial symbiosis and strategies to prevent waste production.
    • Amsterdam serves as an example, creating a platform for the manufacturing sector to collaborate on waste resource sharing, aligning with R-strategies for sustainable waste management.

Download the Presentation:

Presentation Cities Supporting Cities: Towards Circular Economy Concepts, Frameworks, and Actions

19th of January, 2023

What Do Businesses Need From Cities? A Roundtable On How Cities Can Support Circularity


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In this second session, participants learned how policies, interventions, and strategies from the local government could support industrial manufacturing operations to implement circular business practices. During this interactive session, participants will get the opportunity to ask questions to representatives from New Belgium Brewing Company, HP, Leapin Lizards Labels, and Riopele and better understand what cities can do to support more circular business practices.

  1. Fort Collins’ Circular Economy Focus:
    • Fort Collins is seeking to understand local businesses’ needs to incorporate circular economy practices.
    • Using frameworks based on local manufacturing and landfill data, Fort Collins aims to understand the community’s production processes and necessary inputs.
    • The city is actively engaged in learning how to support supply chains and assist local businesses in adopting circular practices.
  2. Circular Economy Projects by Industry Leaders:
    • Dana Villeneuve from New Belgium Brewing emphasizes a commitment to equity and climate through mitigating carbon emissions in their operations and supply chain, with a focus on container emissions. The company explores opportunities for material recapture and recycling to reduce its carbon footprint.
    • Albertina Reis of Riopele (Vila Nova de Famalicão), a fabric producer, aims to balance product quality with environmental responsibility, focusing on sustainable fibers and waste reduction. Riopele aspires to lead in sustainable manufacturing by creating new products from waste materials.
    • Paul Ford from HP Inc underscores the company’s goal to be the most sustainable tech company globally. HP is increasing recycled content in products and packaging, utilizing takeback programs, and collecting ocean plastic for product use.
    • Riley Boyt, Sustainability Coordinator at Leapin Lizards Labels, discusses transitioning the print industry to be environmentally friendly, with initiatives such as reusing label backings and collaborating with Fort Collins to move towards circular practices.
  3. Cities’ Role in Circular Economy Support:
    • Cities play a crucial role in influencing businesses towards circular economy activities.
    • Fort Collins collaborates with businesses on circularity, providing support and facilitating changes in infrastructure, recycling programs, and legislation.
    • Cities’ efforts, such as gigabit ethernet implementation, support businesses like HP in creating circular processes and remote work opportunities.
    • Collaboration with cities is essential for businesses like Leapin Lizards Labels to maximize recyclable materials and promote circularity.
  4. Extended Producer Responsibility and Sustainability Legislation:
    • The discussion touches on the Extended Producer Responsibility Act, prompting changes in HP’s processes to align with sustainability goals.
    • Producers like HP are adapting to the act, looking to create packaging materials that are easily recyclable and exploring ways to manage the cost of recycling materials.
  5. Key Themes from the Session:
    • Partnering around awareness is crucial for cultural change in residents and businesses.
    • Strong city infrastructure supports local businesses in transitioning to circular practices.
    • Cities play a vital role in ensuring a just and equitable transition to a circular economy.
    • Collaborative efforts between cities and businesses, along with streamlined legislation, strengthen circular economy projects.
    • Changes in land use and zoning to facilitate complementary businesses co-locating are identified as key elements for circular economy transitions.

29th of March, 2023 – 10 am ET / 16h CET

Workshop on Developing Circular Economy Strategies for Your City


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In this interactive workshop, Circular Economy Expert Erin Kennedy from Metabolic, and Holly Pummell and Molly Saylor from the City of Fort Collins worked with participants to think about how cities can develop and implement their circular economy plan.

This session integrated key takeaways and allowed participants to apply them to their own cities. Participants were challenged to think about all the ways cities can take action to address barriers to achieving a circular economy, building on the strategies that cities came up with in the first session.

Following the Breakout Sessions a few key takeaways were shared: 

  • Capacity building is key to the success of implementation of Circular Economy
  • Important to always have systems in place to understand stakeholders needs.
  • Building an action plan for your community contributes to success (public awareness and education
  • Connecting to and securing funding is a core need for most cities to move forward in their circular economy efforts, strategies, and plans.
  • Mainstreaming Circular Economy in the local, state, regions and national policy is very important. 
  • It is important to listen to the needs of businesses and to know what they are already doing that is connected to circular economy.
  • Find circular economy ‘champions’ both in the city and externally. 
  • Fort Collins developing continues to develop their CE strategies through their economic health plan.
  • Next session to focus on what helping cities to implement their Circular Economy plans.

Check out the CE Board:

Miro Board

14th of June, 2023- 10 am ET / 16h CET

How Do Cities Get Started? Integrating CE Into City Plans


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Hear what circular economy strategies ended up in Fort Collins’ Economic Health Strategic Plan and from Metabolic on some of their favorite strategies from across the U.S. and Europe. Also, hear about what strategies are missing from plans and what is needed if there are gaps to close. Participants are encouraged to share their favorite strategies (either actual case studies or ideas they have), which will be captured and shared back with the group after the session.

  1. Fort Collins’ Circular Economy Progress:
    • Fort Collins aims to achieve zero waste by 2030 and is currently at 75% towards that goal with existing strategies.
    • The Economy Health Strategic Plan integrates a triple bottom line approach, fostering discussions with businesses on the benefits of a circular economy.
    • Co-learning with partner cities through IURC-NA has led to changes in zoning laws, co-locating symbiotic businesses, and establishing fit-for-purpose recycling infrastructure.
    • On-the-ground learning from IURC cities has shaped strategies to integrate businesses into the circular economy, attract CE-focused businesses, and support community-led initiatives using innovative lab methods.
  2. Circular Cleveland’s Community Engagement:
    • Circular Cleveland, initiated in 2020, focuses on delivering a Circular Cleveland Roadmap and expanding community engagement and public education.
    • Community leaders serve as ambassadors, enhancing support for neighborhood projects, supported by small grants like the West Side Market’s composting program.
    • Incentives for small businesses driving circular economy solutions are promoted, guided by the Circular Cleveland Roadmap for a transition from a linear to a circular economy.
    • Strong partnerships and community connections have been successful, emphasizing the need for continued support for existing programs.
    • Identified areas for improvement include closer stakeholder engagement, one-on-one conversations from the beginning, and selecting community ambassadors actively involved in circular economy strategies.
  3. Austin’s Circular Economy Initiatives:
    • Austin aspires to achieve zero waste by 2040, though it controls only about 15% of the waste stream.
    • Circular economy initiatives focus on catalyzing business innovation, driving circular behavior change, and leading by example.
    • Policies are in place to control waste streams within the city’s jurisdiction, with efforts on business cluster development, grassroots programs, and internal reforms.
    • Business recruitment challenges arise from limited leverage within the city and its surrounding regions.
    • Austin’s circular economy program involves promoting reuse, ‘fixit’ clinics, repair workshops, and actively participating in a circular city project for internal reform.
  4. Vila Nova de Famalicão’s Sustainability Strategy:
    • Vila Nova de Famalicão emphasizes sustainability in the manufacturing industry and community projects with a focus on municipal competencies.
    • The strategy targets small-scale actions like the zero waste market and includes a Municipal Mobilization program focusing on industrial waste, symbiosis, and support for sustainable startups.
    • Education of council members is prioritized to ensure decision-makers understand the complexities of waste management, behavior change, and the water cycle.

Download the Presentations:

Presentation Integrating CE into City plans – Fort Collins

Presentation Integrating CE into City plans – Cleveland

Presentation Integrating CE into City plans – Vila Nova de Famalicão