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London Waste and Recycling is delivering on the circular economy with stakeholder buy-in

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United Kingdom
Greater London

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London WARB - Claire Ollerenshaw

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The London Waste and Recycling Board (LWARB) was established in 2007 by the Greater London Authority (GLA) Act to provide a strategic approach to waste management in London. In June 2017, LWARB published a Circular Economy route map for London as part of Circular London, one of its three key programmes. Circular London works to create the right conditions for circular economy businesses to flourish in London, which has been estimated to potentially benefit the city of up to £7 billion a year by 2036.

London’s ambition is that the city will become the world’s leading exponent of circular economy thinking and practice through collaborations with circular economy businesses and the work of stakeholders and policymakers across the capital.

The Circular Economy route map was created with stakeholders across different sectors, to set a path for London to accelerate its transition towards a circular economy through a series of recommended actions for LWARB and its partners.


The route map required an analysis of economic impacts and residual waste streams within the city to begin designing circularity. This same analysis also identified five key sectors where focused action could create leadership in sustainable urban development: the built environment, food, electricals, textiles and plastics.

For the circular economy to flourish across the city, there needs to be collaboration between buyers and suppliers, across markets and between competitors.

Besides the cooperation between stakeholders, other areas where London needs to focus were identified through eight crosscutting themes highlighted in the route map - communications, collaboration, finance, demonstration, innovation, policy, procurement and business support.

Main results: 


The route map was created with input from across a wide variety of stakeholders, which led to a variety of stakeholders beyond LWARB having committed to delivering specific actions within the route map. 

  • Universities and industry partners have committed to promoting circular economy in education courses or to promoting and encouraging innovation within their areas of influence.
  • Embedding circular economy into the Greater London Authority’s group responsible procurement policy, including the Metropolitan Police, London Fire Brigade and Transport for London
  • A large housing redevelopment project in south London where circular economy is being considered from demolition through to the design; 
  • Business in the Community is a circular offices campaign, which encourages circular thinking within office operations of organisations across the capital.
  • Advance London provides finance and business support to SMEs developing innovative circular economy models.
  • Consistently monitoring the impact and benefit of these projects in partnership with, as LWARB does with its collaboration hub, will also provide tangible evidence and case studies to encourage the broader adoption of circular thinking and policies within London.


The route map clearly sets out London’s vision and pathway towards circularity. By including stakeholders in drafting, a city can have much wider impact with buy-in across sectors. This makes it easier for organisations to design targeted commitments.

Engaging a range of stakeholders doesn't only facilitate collaboration and ensure a broad perspective is kept, but has also helped in breaking down the considerable task of embedding circularity in a city into manageable steps through sector relevant, achievable tasks. A ‘collaboration hub’ has grown from this engagement and will assist in monitoring the delivery of actions towards the circular economy.