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Amsterdam is setting itself as a pioneer circular city | Photo source The Earthshot Prize

Creating a circular city

Springwise Earthshot

Amsterdam’s circular economy strategy aims to eliminate all need for new materials by 2050

Spotted: ‘Material footprint’ is defined as the total amount of raw materials extracted to meet the demands of consumers. And the global material footprint is ballooning – increasing at a faster rate than both population and economic output. In short, humanity is relying on the extraction of more and more raw materials.

How can we reverse this situation? The circular economy is an attempt to re-wire our economic systems by re-using materials over and over again in closed cycles. This reduces waste and, in turn, the demand for new materials.

The City of Amsterdam hopes to be a pioneer in the circular economy through a strategic framework and a policymaking tool called the ‘City Doughnut’. This empowers city officials to understand and track material flows and set policies accordingly. The goal is to halve the use of new raw materials by 2030 and achieve full circularity by 2050.

So, what tools does the city have to deliver this vision? First, it is altering taxation so that repairing a product is cheaper than replacing it. Second, it is requiring those who use raw materials to track what happens with the excess. And third, the city is using its own procurement to set the right example.

Beyond this, the city is also using its influence, involving marginalised communities, and partnering with other stakeholders like the EU.

Other circular economy innovations spotted by Springwise include a platform facilitating the circular economy in retail, a platform that enables neighbours to share household items, and an AI negotiation chatbot that powers the circular economy.

Written By: Matthew Hempstead

Website: amsterdam.nl/en/policy

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