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Restart Radio: Can a circular economy be driven by cities?

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This Week, Ugo is joined by Clare Ollerenshaw from London’s Waste and Recycling Board (LWARB) to talk about their goals for a circular economy and a more resource efficient capital. While air pollution has rightly received the environmental focus of the new mayor, what about waste?

With London’s population expected to reach 11 million by 2039, and local recycling rates in decline, we need to come up with solutions for our rapidly increasing rates of consumption.

In the age climate change, cities with the size and density of London have a significant role to play in changing consumption and waste patterns. Ugo questions Clare on how London can become a leading city in terms of resource efficiency.

LWARB recently launched a “Circular Economy Route Map” with some concrete steps to help increase repair, reuse and recycling of electronics and electricals. Clare mentions the potential for leasing and incentivised return schemes, which are promising, and we’d love to see this work adequately resourced. But we cannot help feeling uneasy that the “circular economy” is turning into another policy buzzword at best, and at worst used to green-wash.

We’re convinced that circular economies need to involve individual consumers and community groups in rethinking the ways in which we consume and the way we live, rather than simply targeting businesses. If London is indeed to become a leader in resource efficiency, its citizens need to be part of the process.

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[Image by Flickr user barneyz]

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