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Source: Small Island Developing States

25 July 2019: The city of Almaty, Kazakhstan, has commissioned a report on opportunities for developing a circular economy at the municipal level. The report, prepared by a consortium of not-for-profit organizations, proposes various options for moving towards circularity in the city’s agriculture and food processing, construction, and other industries.

Steps towards a circular economy may enhance efforts on achieving SDG target 12.5, which seeks to substantially reduce waste generation by 2020 through prevention, reduction, recycling, and reuse.

The 116-page report titled, ‘Circular Economy Opportunities in Almaty: A Metabolic Approach to Define a Resource Efficient and Low-carbon Future for the City,’ shows what a circular economy could look like in various sectors.

On agriculture and food processing, the report notes the country’s intention to almost double its agricultural production and processing capacity by 2020, and calls for planning ahead to make use of the increased waste streams that will be generated from such activity. Current initiatives that promote circularity include using chicken manure and straw for mushroom production, and heating greenhouses with gas generated from other activities. Recommendations focus on organic resources, and also consider the life cycles of food, drinking water, and associated packaging. The Circle Economy, one of the consortium members behind the report, highlighted in a press release that the most promising opportunities may be in diverting organic residues away from landfills and using them to promote soil quality.

On construction, the report recommends designing buildings for energy efficiency, designing buildings to allow for modular and flexible assembly, and introducing policies that favor the use of approaches with the least possible environmental impacts.

On industry, the report suggests that the municipality provides physical space to projects in creative design, repair, recycling, and repurposing of waste materials.

Finally, it recommends convening private- and public-sector stakeholders to promote circularity, and to put in place measures for an independent entity to track progress by monitoring resource flows and quantities.

Almaty is the first Central Asian city to commission such a report. The Circle Economy is a membership-based organization with the mission to enable municipalities to promote the transition from a linear to a circular economy. A research report published earlier this year by the Circle Economy argues that municipalities and governments are responsible to create the conditions for the circular economy to thrive, and suggests that such a transition could create many new jobs. The Circle Economy’s mission is to accelerate the transition to circularity through the development of practical and scalable solutions and international campaigns. [Publication: Circular Economy Opportunities in Almaty: A Metabolic Approach to Define a Resource Efficient and Low-carbon Future for the City] [Circle Economy Press Release] [SDG Knowledge Hub Story on Circle Economy Report on Role of Municipal Policy in Circular Economy]

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