Circular Cities

Cities are at the center of our current waste crisis but also have the opportunity to lead the transition to a circular economy.

The Challenge

As cities develop and grow, global urban waste generation is estimated to increase from 2 billion tons in 2016 to 3.4 billion tons in 2050 (World Bank). The traditional take-make-waste linear economy is overwhelming cities waste management systems, which are a critical foundation for achieving urban resilience and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Too much waste represents significant economic loss, resources that cities could use to support their most vulnerable. Research shows that the circular economy offers a $4.5 trillion economic opportunity by reducing waste, stimulating innovation and creating employment (World Resources Institute). Hence, prioritizing a circular economy is an essential step for most cities that want to reduce the impacts of climate change and pollution, afford to provide the services their inhabitants need and make their cities cleaner, healthier and more equitable places to live. 

What we do

Many R-Cities cities have embraced the goal of building a circular economy, that is, an economy that produces zero waste and instead reuses or recycles its byproducts, as a key component of their resilience agendas. Despite the need for sustainable waste management, there is a clear lack of investment-ready, bankable projects that maximise economic, social, and environmental benefits. Cities are demanding innovative solutions that allow them to cope with the challenges of the future and drive inclusive economic growth, jobs and environmental quality. 

R-Cities is supporting cities to identify risks to and vulnerabilities in their waste management system and improve their project preparation in order to realize resilience benefits and build lasting capacity in cities. Resilience projects that incorporate circular principles can enable cities to maximize opportunities and achieve multiple benefits through their waste management systems.  

R-Cities works to advance circularity through:

News and Resources

Speaker Series 2023 #6 | Ocean and Circularity

Speaker Series 2023 #6 | Ocean and Circularity

Cities are facing more and more severe weather events in recent years exacerbating the urgent need to better prepare themselves to withstand the adverse impact of disasters which can enable an ...
Urban Ocean: Chennai

Urban Ocean: Chennai

Urban Ocean is helping Chennai identify gaps in its solid waste management system to move the city towards becoming a near zero waste and plastic free environment.
From marine plastic to public living rooms, Panama City is recycling with resilience

From marine plastic to public living rooms, Panama City is recycling with resilience

The City of Panama is recycling its marine debris plastic and transforming it into furniture for public spaces around the city—approximately 60 tons of marine plastic are having a second life ...

Partner with us

Advance Urban Resilience with us today