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Circular Economy: Opportunities for Local Gov’t Leadership

Circular Economy in the Built Environment: Opportunities for Local Government Leadership provides an overview of opportunities to foster a circular economy, aimed at public policymakers, public agency staff and other partners. The guide was created by StopWaste and Arup as part of their involvement with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation (EMF).

The guide focuses on two goals for each of the four scales addressed, including (1) community, (2) building, (3) building component, and (4) material. Each goal includes strategies, potential government actions, and real-life examples to provide a quick pathway to action for local policymakers. The eight goals addressed by the guide include:

  1. Maximize the use of existing infrastructure through land-use planning and infill 
  2. Use infrastructure materials efficiently and minimize environmental impacts of new infrastructure
  3. Gain more use out of existing buildings through increased utilization and occupancy, retrofits, and adaptive reuse
  4. Design new buildings to be resilient and flexible, encouraging high usage rates and adaptability to changing future conditions
  5. Extract more value out of components in the existing built environment through deconstruction, salvage, and reuse
  6. Design new construction and select components to enable recovery and reuse in the future 
  7. Maximize recycling rates of materials at end-of-life

Use materials efficiently and select materials for minimal impact by considering life cycle impacts and end-of-life recovery.

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