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CityLoops is a grand experiment on the scalability of circularity

If you sit on a bench in the city of Musicon, about 30 kilometers from Denmark’s capital of Copenhagen, you’ll likely be sitting on a slab of concrete recycled from a nearby demolition site. Musicon is one of seven cities around Europe selected for experimentation by CityLoops, a project developed by the EU and Roskilde University to uncover and promote best practices when it comes to circularity. 

Launched in 2020, CityLoops recognizes that achieving circularity requires some experimentation with the process. This is why they have pioneered specific circularity projects in different cities to find the most efficient path forward. In Musicon, the focus is the construction sector. Buildings demolished in the district must be done “selectively,” meaning structures are carefully taken apart for maximized reuse of all components. Repurposed concrete has gone into making a local skate park ramp and construction companies are involved in best practice tutorials when it comes to reducing waste and energy use. 

In Høje Taastrup, another region of Denmark, the focus is on improving recycling efficiency, and in Seville, Spain, researchers are looking at minimizing water waste and promoting the use of biowaste. Nearby in Porto, Portugal, city officials are making food donation and sourcing simpler to reduce food waste and Apeldoorn in the Netherlands has pioneered a “circular street” that uses recycled materials for benches, parking lots, green spaces, and more. 

In many of the cities, organizers have established virtual and physical marketplaces to formalize and simplify the repurposing of goods. These resource lots offer a convenient way for people to source the recycled goods they need or get what they don’t off their hands. 

Promoting circularity in the lives of individuals with programs like Loop is great, but for circularity to truly make an impact, it must be scaled up in sectors like construction and transportation. CityLoops is demonstrating that not only can circularity be done on a municipal level, but it already is being done successfully in these experimental cities. 

Simon Clement, CityLoops project coordinator told Yes!, “A lot of what we’re talking about in terms of circularity requires a new skill set, a new set of technical expertise, and potentially the implementation of rather complicated systems processes. So I think what’s critical here is facilitating this exchange of best practice exchange of knowledge, capacity building as well at the local level.”

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