Networking boosts circular economy development - Europe-wide study published

News 2022-05-24 at 13:02
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As part of the Circwaste project, the Helsinki Metropolitan Area Recycling Centre aims to establish a national network of recycling operators and thus steer Finland towards a circular economy.

The Recycling Centre commissioned a study to provide information on existing reuse networks, their backgrounds, methods of operation and main tasks. The information obtained from this study will be used when establishing a network of reuse operators in Finland. The European network of reuse, RREUSE, was chosen to carry out the study.

The study analysed the networks of reuse operators in Europe and responses were received across Europe, from France, the Netherlands, Scotland, Ireland, Germany, Belgium and Austria. The results show that reuse networks are key actors in the implementation of the waste hierarchy and the transition to a circular economy. They represent their members in the social and political debate at regional, national and international levels, act as knowledge brokers, strengthen the capacity of their members and encourage cooperation between actors.

Networks influence decision-making, share best practices and build partnerships

Reuse networks play an important role in societal and political engagement. They are involved in the public debate, both to promote reuse and the circular economy and to ensure the capacity of organisations and social or non-profit enterprises active in this field.

Sharing best practices is central to the work of reuse networks. It is important that networks build communities for organisations to work on joint projects and create partnerships. Collaboration and partnerships are seen to have led to more efficient collection, greater visibility and innovation.

The study found that good governance is a critical factor in the development of networks. The general assembly of all members is usually the main body of the network, and depending on the level of competence of the network, it is worth considering the outsourcing of administrative tasks.

One important factor in the operation of reuse networks is adequate and sustainable funding. It was found that membership fees are the main source of funding for the networks, and grants and allowances are a good way to supplement or partially replace membership fees.

The study also showed that value creation for existing member organisations is vital. When setting up a reuse network, it is worth focusing first on providing services to members rather than trying to increase the number of members in the network.

The Helsinki Metropolitan Area Recycling Centre is involved in the seven-year CIRCWASTE – Towards Circular Economy project. The aim of the project is to promote the efficient use of material flows, prevent waste generation and promote the recycling of materials.

More information

  • Project Manager Katja Viberg, Reuse Centre/Pääkaupunkiseudun Kierrätyskeskus Oy,

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