#Stadtgespräch 13: Circular and the City – What works?

Linear economies have limits: Most raw materials are finite, and unsustainable waste disposal endangers our environment and health. Hence, governments at all levels are making efforts to establish long-lasting circular economies. Germany, for example, established the Circular Economy Act in 2020. Through waste prevention and resource efficiency, new business models offer a clear pathway to sustainable growth.

Our webinar on 4 May 2023 (just in time for Germany’s Overshoot Day) examined how this transition can be initiated and facilitated.

The webinar started with an introductory presentation by Oriana Romano, who leads the OECD’s work on water governance and circular economy in cities. Representatives of the public sector, urban projects and academia then shared insights on how to promote, facilitate and enable a circular economy in the city with a particular focus on German cities.

What is the fundamental legal and political situation?

Claudia Eggert-Köster, Hamburg Ministry for the Environment, Climate, Energy and Agriculture, explained the legislative situation in Germany and how the city of Hamburg uses this as a starting point for the so-called Hamburg eco-partnership, a sustainability-focused network of 1600 companies and similar initiatives promoting a circular future. On a similar note, Andrea Accorigi, Circular Cities and Regions Initiative (CCRI) Coordination and Support Office, presented public efforts within the EU that support and implement circular economy projects and policies at a local and regional scale.

How does a urban circular economy looks like?

The founder of such a circular initiative, Dina Padalkina from Circular Berlin, shared her thoughts on social awareness and acceptance, network thinking and best practices when it comes to implementing pilot projects. Kerstin Kuchta from Hamburg’s University of Technology then shared knowledge on complex multi-material products and necessary circular value chains.

Besides sharing best practices, panelists also discussed opportunities in the constructing sector, how circular economies can strengthen today’s globalized systems with respect to critical raw materials and what role awareness plays in the transition.



Further Readings:

Circular Berlin. Official website of the initiative founded by Dina Padalkina

Circular Cities and Regions Initiative. Official website of the EU Commission’s Initiative

The Circular Economy in Cities and Regions. OECD thematic page

OECD Roundtable on the Circular Economy in Cities and Regions. OECD Event (5 and 6 June 2023)

OECD Roundtable on the Circular Economy in Cities and Regions. OECD Event – Registration Link (5 and 6 June 2023)

The Circular Economy in Cities and Regions. OECD Synthesis Report (28 October 2020)