European cities face unprecedented challenges, from climate change to biodiversity loss, growing economic instability, and global chain disruptions. The circular economy is increasingly recognized as an excellent opportunity to tackle these challenges, unlocking wide-ranging benefits that help cities thrive and become more liveable and resilient.
This is precisely why the Circular Cities Declaration (CCD) has been set up; to support cities in their transition from a linear to a circular economy and to emphasize the critical and effective role that they play in this transition while also providing a shared vision of what a circular city is.
The CCD Report 2022 compiles and analyses the first submissions by CCD signatories on their circular activities (2021-2022) to celebrate and showcase the significant strides cities are making. In total, 40 cities submitted reports sharing their key activities, interventions, and challenges experienced. The report represents the essential longitudinal sample collected on circular economy transitions locally in Europe.
The comprehensive analysis of submissions led by ICLEI Europe, and supported by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, found eight prominent trends among the cities. Four key barriers facing signatories were also identified. A rich patchwork of activities exists across Europe, with many front-running, pioneering activities observed in large and small cities.
From Maribor’s circular economy strategy and Budapest’s community composting initiative to Ghent’s repair cafés and Haarlem’s world-leading target for 100% of local procurement to be circular by 2030, this report and the city profiles present many exemplary and replicable solutions. This report illustrates not only the rich diversity of how European cities are utilizing circular economy thinking but also how the circular economy is tackling common challenges and the role urban collection and city logistics can play.
Eight trends on Circular Economy in European Cities
1 A growing number of circular initiatives are being set up at the European level to support cities.
2 Cities are adopting circular strategies and roadmaps to steer the circular transition.
3 Cities are investing in circular infrastructure to close material loops.
4 Cities use public procurement to reduce their environmental footprint and enable the circular economy.
5 Cities are setting up innovation programs and carrying out innovation projects to unlock the circular transition.
6 Cities raise awareness and empower citizens to distill a shared sense of ownership.
7 Cities are pushing for more circularity in construction.
8 Cities are making local food systems more regenerative.
Tackling barriers to the circular economy
1 Overcoming capacity and resource limitations.
2 Securing political support and breaking down silos.
3 Measuring circularity: from data collection to monitoring frameworks.
4 Shifting the paradigm: Thinking circular in a linear system.
Source: Circular Cities Declaration