Circular Economy   


The aim of the Commission's Circular Economy (CE) sub group is to champion and facilitate the drive to a CE for London by 2050 in support of the London Infrastructure Investment Plan (LIP). 

What is a ‘circular economy’? 

A circular economy is an alternative to a traditional linear economy (make, use, dispose) in which we keep resources in use for as long as possible, extracting the maximum value from them whilst in use, then recovering and reusing products and materials. It includes a hierarchy of options, starting with the most simple and low value option of recycling waste to recover materials, and moving to the redirection of unwanted goods for reuse by new owners in second- hand markets, to remanufacturing and replacing components of a product for resale. These may require companies to create new business models or processes, with take back schemes, and redesigning products for disassembly and remanufacturing or recovery. Ultimately products may also be offered on a leased rather than an owned basis, in something known as ‘servitisation’, so that single assets can be used by more people, reducing the pressure on resources, embodied carbon and embodied water entailed in the materials and processes required to manufacture them.  

Employment and the circular economy – job creation through resource efficiency in London 

The Commission has launched a report looking at the potential for job creation in London based on three scenarios - the most desirable being a re-using, remanufacturing, repair and rental revolution, which the report finds could create up to 40,000 new jobs in London by 2030. 

The report has been authored by Peter Mitchell, Head of Economics at WRAP and in partnership with the London Waste and Recycling Board and the Greater London Authority. 

Read the report in full here: 

Employment and the circular economy - job creation through resource efficiency in London 

At the request of the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, LWARB will also spell out in more detail how these jobs will be created and the types of investment required to bring about this transformation by 2036, in a route map document – Towards a Circular Economy.

Initial focus for the route map will be on the built environment, electricals, textiles, food and plastics. These areas have been chosen because of their high environmental impact, their retained financial value and potential for re-use.

In the advance introductory section of this report – Context and Opportunities – LWARB predicts that moving to a circular economy could bring significant financial benefits to London. 

In addition to creating thousands of new jobs for Londoners, a circular economy in London could be worth at least £7 billion every year by 2036 in the built environment, food, textiles, electricals and plastics sectors alone. In early 2016 LWARB will be approaching businesses and organisations working in these ‘focus areas’ to identify what collaboration can take place to accelerate London’s transition to a more circular economy, and realise these benefits.

The London Sustainable Development Commission welcomes the development of a circular economy route map for London and looks forward to actively engaging with LWARB as the route map is developed in order to ensure that London becomes recognised as a leading circular economy city.

Read the context and opportunities document here: 

Towards a circular economy - context and opportunities