Cities consume about 75% of natural resources and contribute to nearly 60% of GHG emissions. When consumptions patterns are out of balance with the production and often rely on long and deep supply chains to keep the flow, several stresses and redundancies occur. A system that does not consider the full life cycle of materials, plans solely for economic efficiency, only to keep current systems in place is linear and overburdens the environment through extraction and excretion.
Circular economy on the other hand, moves away from the take-make-waste model to rethink growth and development to provide society wide community benefits. Circular cities strengthen resilience by increasing economic productivity, creating new business and job opportunities, shortening critical supply chains, protecting natural systems, and reducing pollution to improve health outcomes.
In the U.S. there is the potential to divert more than 85% of the 837 million tons of municipal solid waste and construction and demolition debris generated each year. Yet, the national recycling rate in 2017 was 35%, with another 10% composted. Like many cities across the U.S, Cleveland’s recycling program is paused due to skyrocketing costs, high contamination rates, fiscal pressure resulting from COVID-19, and limited local markets to divert materials. Creating a circular economy in Cleveland will help reduce the waste, improve community health and provide new local economic opportunities for communities – supported by innovation and reimagining of systems.
Localizing the circular economy in Cleveland addresses health and equity from two other key perspectives: environmental justice and poverty reduction. Cleveland joins several cities across the US and the world to make a transition to a circular economy. Over the next 28 months, Cleveland Neighborhood Progress and the City of Cleveland will launch Circular Cleveland, an initiative, funded by a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation grant that will build on collaborations to create circular economy strategies in Cleveland. Through innovation incentives and joint efforts, the project hopes to advance better environmental and community health outcomes. Additionally, Cleveland will join the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s Network of Circular Cites.
What does this mean?
This means good food rescued the waste stream to nourish the community; community gardens where organic waste lends to nutritious food for the community; development and support of distributive, mutual aid type programs and repair programs to keep commodities in use longer; material and manufacturing innovations to decrease the waste from material upgrades and transition to renewable energy systems.
A few examples of existing Circular Economy/type projects and assets in Cleveland
- Rust Belt Riders
- Rid-All Green Partnership
- Stone Soup Cleveland
- Upcycle Parts Shop
- Summer Sprout Community gardens
Circular Economy Resources:
Being curated. Stay tuned!
- Cleveland Neighborhood Progress seeks a qualifies and experienced agency to develop a Circular Economy Roadmap for Cleveland. Click here to download the RFP (Include RFP in a PDF format)
- January Monthly engagement by Sustainable Cleveland:
Email Divya Sridhar, Manager of Climate Resiliency and Sustainability, at DSridhar@clevelandnp.org