Cities make perfect hubs for innovation. City governments have a key role to play in building thriving, liveable, resilient cities that are regenerative by design. They can engage, incentivize, manage, and regulate frameworks to enable change for their cities. By supporting a more circular economy, cities can increase the reusability of surplus materials, thus reducing the waste & carbon footprint of materials in cities.
A shining example of what a city can do to promote a circular economy model and put it at the heart of its vision is the city of Austin, Texas. The City of Austin government has established the Circular Economy Program. The program’s mission is to attract, retain, and grow businesses, non-profits, and entrepreneurs in the zero waste industry in order to create well-paying local jobs, attract investment and support the necessary infrastructure for a resilient circular economy in Central Texas.
Austin has identified & implemented 4 key strategies to put circular economics at the heart of the local growth engine;
- [RE]verse Pitch – an annual competition for business ideas using hard-to-recycle materials.
- Circular Meet-ups – hosted monthly networking events which act as a knowledge-sharing platform for a broad range of community stakeholders
- Business engagement teams – A free consultation resource for local businesses exploring implementing circularity principles in their operation. This is especially relevant for supply chain based companies who struggle with sourcing materials ad hoc.
- Austin Materials Marketplace – An online exchange for reusable materials for local businesses to use. This market has demonstrated the power of circularity in action with some local businesses like Whisky manufacturer Still Austin saving over $1M in supply costs.
Whilst cities like Austin can demonstrate the advantage of proximity as a driver for reusing materials, it doesn’t preclude rural communities. However, it is certainly easier to align supply and demand in a local city environment as Austin has demonstrated.
If you are interested in implementing a city marketplace to enable circular reuse, then SouqBox can help. You could have your own City branded materials marketplace with functionality built for circularity (like negotiable trading and logistics management out of the box) for just £200 pcm.
It’s SaaS so SouqBox takes care of all the tech and has a continuous roadmap of features rolling out so you can focus on leading the change and providing an online place for circularity to happen in your community.