A circular economy is an economic system that minimizes resource extraction and reduces resource use and waste by ensuring that all resources cycle indefinitely. In a circular economy, products and services are reused or converted into new forms; biological materials return to natural systems while non-biological materials experience long term use and reuse in production. Circular economies encourage companies to design their products for reuse, recycling, or upcycling, while also necessitating reduced consumption and key steps by governmental and private actors.
This model resolution is intended to assist local governments in initiating deliberate steps along the path towards a circular economy. Most cities and towns already engage in one or more practices that are considered circular – actions such as composting yard waste, recovering electronic waste products, banning or imposing fees on single use plastic bags, considering product lifespan in procurement decisions, and so on. This model resolution helps local jurisdictions commit to exploring and moving toward a circular economy. The resolution sets out a general commitment to a transition to a circular economy, designates a lead department or official, calls for an initial assessment of resource and waste in-flow and out-flow and for a more comprehensive emissions analysis, encourages support for and exploration of business and job creation opportunities, and provides for a report on initial activities and consideration of follow up steps and new policies after the resolution has been in place for one year.
The attached introductory memorandum below provides an additional survey of the types of actions localities can undertake in support of a circular economy, detailing benefits, the roles and opportunities for local government, and how a resolution can identify specific commitments to set this transition in motion.
The preparation of this Memorandum and Resolution was led by Sara Zimmerman of the Climate Equity Policy Center, www.climateequitycenter.org, an initiative focused on supporting the adoption and implementation of climate policies that advance fair, healthy, and equitable communities. Also contributing to its preparation was Scott W. Badenoch, Jr. (Visiting Attorney, Environmental Law Institute), Moira O’Neill (Associate Research Scholar, Sabin Center for Climate Change Law), and Noble Smith (Student, Howard University School Of Law). Peer review was provided by Scott Reichle, P.E., Esquire, of Patten, Wornom, Hatten & Diamonstein, L.C., Newport News, Virginia.