Arup was appointed by the London Waste and Recycling Board (LWARB) to develop an evidence-based impact assessment model to investigate the effect of applying circular economy initiatives to waste arisings across London.
The project will inform development of the next London Plan, produced by the Greater London Authority (GLA) on behalf of the London Mayor Sadiq Khan.
The estimation of waste arising reductions will dictate the allocations of land that local authorities in London must make for waste management activities.
10m people could live in London by 2030
30%is our central estimate of likely waste reduction that can be achieved across London in the next 30 years
60%reduction is achievable if all recommendations are applied in full across the city in the next 30 years
Focus on waste prevention
Our work focused entirely on achieving waste prevention, as opposed to managing waste in a more sustainable way.
With this in mind, a potential reduction of more than 60% in waste arisings can be achieved in less than 30 years.
However, a central estimate of approximately 30% waste reduction is likely to be achieved depending on the levels of uptake of circular economy initiatives.
Nine circular economy initiatives
As part of our work, nine circular economy initiatives were identified and researched by Arup relating to:
• additive manufacturing
• modular design
• leased assets
• smart predictive maintenance
• urban analytics
• exchange platforms
• sharing platforms
• urban farming
• laser-etched branding.
The waste reduction potential of each initiative was quantified for three principal waste streams: construction waste, commercial waste, and household waste. The waste reduction figures were incorporated into the impact assessment model.
A robust model
The impact assessment model was tested on three circular economy uptake scenarios: low, medium, and high uptake scenarios.
Each scenario assumed that a different time scale is required for the chosen initiatives to become mainstream (i.e. taken up by over 30% of the population in London). The findings indicate that targeting all three principal waste streams can result in a significant, cumulative waste reduction.
The significance of the project arises from its aim to move up a level on the waste hierarchy, to focus solely on waste reduction. It demonstrates the potential for waste prevention and better resource use, rather than improving the management of waste that has already arisen.
The project in London demonstrates how other cities of similar scale can explore circular principles leading to more sustainable urban waste solutions.