How Municipal Waste Companies Can Shape the Circular Transformation

How do we change systems in the journey to creating more sustainable cities and regions? This is not a straightforward task, yet approaching relevant stakeholders and enabling them is one key step to addressing it. During 2023, the CSCP supported such a transformation process through a collaboration with the German Association of Public Utility Companies (Verband Kommunaler Unternehmen – VKU).

Resources such as waste are a vital element in Circular Economy transitions, making municipal waste companies key actors in transformation processes in cities and regions. The goal of the project was to help municipal waste companies redefine their role in light of the rapid shift from linear to circular economic rationales.

Within the project, a steering group consisting of over a dozen of stakeholders from municipal waste companies and the association itself was formed. The group received guidance from the CSCP to kick-off discussions about the role municipal waste companies should and could take moving forward. A series of workshops, based on interviews, examples and learnings from CSCP Circular Economy projects such as HOOP or Merlin as well as the formation of working groups on some of the identified core topics were part of the process.

Within the working groups, topics such as digital twin cities to foster circularity or ways to increase reuse practices in cities were discussed. One of the working groups, led by the CSCP, focused on the overall project goal of defining the role and transformation of municipal waste companies in view of the Circular Economy.

Based on this overarching goal, a total of seven areas of actions were defined ranging from the need to collaborate with stakeholders along the entire value chain through to establishing a purpose-driven working mindset within the companies themselves. The action areas can be explored as central guiding principles for how the transformation towards circular economies can be shaped. A position paper with these action areas will be published in 2024.

For further questions, please contact Felix Schumacher.