It is useful to explain two different concepts:
– linear economy
An economic system in which raw materials are collected and then turned into products for use until finally they are waste and disposed of. In this economic system, value is created by producing and selling as many products as possible. This is the dominant economic system today; use!
– circular economy
The circular economy aims to preserve their value for as long as possible by minimizing waste while reintegrating materials and resources into the product cycle at the end of their use. A circular economy is a market economy that preserves the added and intrinsic value of physical resources while keeping resources in the economy for as long as possible and capturing end-of-life value to minimize raw material consumption, waste and risks in the value chain. ; transform, recycle and reuse! (Source: Turkish Circular Economy Platform)
The depleted resources, the nature that we have destroyed without recovery, the polluted environment, these are all inevitable consequences of the linear economic model. Cities that occupy only two percent of the world’s land, contain two-thirds of the total population, consume seventy-five percent of natural resources, are responsible for fifty percent of solid waste – about 2.5 billion tons – and emit sixty percent of greenhouse gases, are the main players in this negative picture. For this reason, the operability and dominance of the circular economic system in cities will mean the salvation of the planet. There will be great gains in the economic, social and environmental dimensions. This awareness is gaining momentum with the circular economy initiatives of certain cities. Some cities already have this understanding for a long time. For example, roof greening in Germany has been a tradition for over 100 years. Green roofs covered with tar paper from 1880 to 1930 still work. Vegetation cover has for many years protected roofs from the weather and the effects of the sun, avoided the waste of materials and contributed to the quality of breathable air. The city government of Amsterdam has set targets in 2019: by 2025, sixty-five percent of household waste will be decomposable for recycling, by 2030 to reduce the use of basic raw materials fifty percent and by 2050 a full transition to the circular economy.
The circular economy will reduce pressure on city services and budgets. For example, reducing the use of raw materials and base materials will reduce waste management costs. For example, it will increase personal disposable income due to products and services decreasing in cost. For example, it will encourage innovation as it will trigger the search for new business models. For example, it will increase livability by restoring time lost in traffic jams, providing clean breathable air and clean drinking water.
While the transformation of cities must evolve from a linear economic system to a cyclical economic system, it is regrettable that the concept of “transformation” is limited to the renovation of old buildings. I believe that a holistic understanding of transformation, thought out and planned in all its aspects, will successfully carry our cities in the coming decades.
City of the week: SAO PAOLO, BRAZIL
SAO PAOLO is the largest city in Brazil and even in the southern hemisphere, with a population of around 12.5 million. The reason the city is included in our article is that it has a successful circular economy application. The biggest challenge that Latin American cities like Sao Paulo often face is the inability to establish a lasting relationship between the countryside and the city. The sprawl of the city threatens the countryside on a very large scale. In addition, obtaining an organic farming certificate is a very laborious and expensive process for people engaged in agriculture, and there is no support.
“Connect the dots With the project called “Connecting the Dots”, a relationship has been established between the dots that make up agricultural production and the food value chain. 50 km from the city. its external environment has been defined as an area of “ecological transformation of agriculture”. Training was provided to those engaged in agricultural activities in this area, and technical and financial support was provided. As a result of the studies, 160 farmers switched from traditional farming to organic farming. 536 agricultural areas have been registered as ecological agriculture transformation areas. The soil has been rehabilitated with organic waste converted into fertilizer. With the help of a digital platform that brings together 2,000 manufacturers, restaurants, supermarkets and individuals, the products have gained in value. 66% of agricultural workers have given up on migrating to the city.