City of Kaunas, Lithuania
The transition towards a more circular economy brings great opportunities for Europe and its citizens. It is an important part of our efforts to modernise and transform the European economy, moving in a more sustainable direction. There is a strong business case behind it which enables companies to make substantial economic gain and become more competitive. It delivers important energy savings and environmental benefits. It creates local jobs and opportunities for social integration. Cities will play an essential part in the transmission of the economy.
The Partnership on Circular Economy has identified several barriers and bottlenecks regarding the use of secondary raw materials (recycling) or products (re-use) originating from waste streams. In the Partnership, this has been presented from a public procurement perspective, a consumer perspective, a waste management perspective, as well as a business enabler perspective. Besides a lack of awareness for existing sources of funding and financing for circular economy investments and the conditions for accessing and/or blending them, cities and funding institutions often lack knowledge on how to assess, design and set up funding programmes and/or schemes for circular economy projects.
Good practices and solutions
Kaunas city is an active partner in the Urban Agenda for the EU Circular Economy Partnership. Cities play an essential role in the development of a circular economy; they act as enablers of potential measures by which they can influence both consumers and businesses. In order to develop the concept of a circular economy within cities there are other themes that can not be overlooked, such as; overall governance, enabling businesses, public procurement, consumption and resource management.
Outcomes and opportunities
By establishing a practical roadmap, cities are enabled to develop an urban resource management plan. In this roadmap, the three main elements of resource management will be incorporated; a) mapping of resources and resource flows, b) brokerage facilities to bridge the gap between supply and demand; and c) the monitoring of results. Supporting businesses and local authorities to identify their waste or by-products, diverting them away from the waste streams and using them as secondary resources for new products, will contribute to a more efficient resource management that is economically sound in terms of value creation. This may help speed up a city’s transition to a circular economy in terms of resource efficiency, lowering environmental impact, and creating new economic activity and jobs. The Partnership has identified that an urban resource management plan could be an important tool to achieve this.
Related SDG targets
- 17.6 Enhance North-South, South-South and triangular regional and international cooperation on and access to science, technology and innovation and enhance knowledge sharing on mutually agreed terms, including through improved coordination among existing mechanisms, in particular at the United Nations level, and through a global technology facilitation mechanism.
- 11.3 By 2030, enhance inclusive and sustainable urbanization and capacity for participatory, integrated and sustainable human settlement planning and management in all countries
- 9.4 By 2030, upgrade infrastructure and retrofit industries to make them sustainable, with increased resource-use efficiency and greater adoption of clean and environmentally sound technologies and industrial processes, with all countries taking action in accordance with their respective capabilities.
Photo: © Jonas Jacobsson/Unsplash
Project: Circular Baltic 2030