The circular economy applied to local communities

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    Based on a theoretical discussion the main difference between models of lineair economy and circular economy are elaborated; (1) Elimination of waste is essential the circulation of circular flows and reclamation of (raw) materials; this requires mechanisms for the return of obsolete materials. (2) Design for circularity; designers need to design for use, disassembly and reclaiming of materials. (3) Dilemma of ownership; who is the owner of the (raw) materials and who is responsible for upscaling waste to raw materials? (4) The circularity of operationals processes such as energy use, production, distribution and transport is also essential.

    The application of circular economy to resillient communities is empirically illustrated with comparative case studies to show its practical and theoretical value. The emperical cases are taken from te communities of Saerbeck and Lathen (both in Germany), the Spanish Island of El Hierro and the redevelopment of the former sugar factory in Groningen, the Netherlands. Data has been collected through semi-structured interviews and document analysis.

    The paper concludes by stating that many communities in todays globalised context have become dependent on their larger surrounding network for many resources and that an agenda of local resillience reverts the focus on the qualities and resources within the community. One communities build local reslillience it may boost communal self confidence and social cohesion. The circular economy approach can assist transition.
    Original languageEnglish
    Publication statusPublished - 2015


    • waste elimination
    • energy transition
    • local initiatives


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