A "circular economy" isn't some radical, new idea. In fact, as Joe Giudice, Assistant Public Works Director for the City of Phoenix, shared on KLA's recent webinar, it's really the "new old way of doing things."
The notion that you design a product to only be used for a few minutes and then be tossed in a landfill is what's relatively new - and radically ridiculous. But it has become the standard for everything from the clothes we wear (think "fast fashion") to the products we buy (and all that packaging), with devastating consequences.
Experts tell us that we have less than a decade to significantly reduce our greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) to avoid the most dire impacts of climate change. When you consider the full life cycle (from extraction to production to movement to disposal) of the products that end up in the waste stream, the waste sector is actually quite a significant contributor to emissions.
We recently invited Giudice along with Chris Castro from the City of Orlando, Bridget Croke of Closed Loop Partners and John Trujillo of NewFields, to join our Climate Solutions Series webinar to dive deeper into what local governments can do to build a culture of circularity.
And wow did our panelists deliver.
They shared the insights they have gleaned while actually implementing or supporting local circular economy initiatives at the community level, tips to work-around common barriers (from private waste haulers to state preemption and local government inertia), and a recycling truck load of resources.
A lot of the buzz about the circular economy focuses on the major companies and brands that are rethinking their products at the design stage for repurpose or recycling. We love to see it, but our webinar drilled down into what local governments can do. It basically breaks down into these 5 key areas:
1. Lay the Groundwork
2. Influence Industry in Your Community
3. Local Government Purchasing Power
4. Influence Citizen Consumption
5. Make Smart Investments
We break that down into greater detail paired with examples and links to resources in our tipsheet.
If you missed the live webinar, you can watch the recording.
Stay tuned for the next in our Climate Solutions Series this fall!