Tying up the loose ends of the circular economy in Peterborough

Katie Thomas, circular economy project officer at Opportunity Peterborough. EMN-180502-133827009
Katie Thomas, circular economy project officer at Opportunity Peterborough. EMN-180502-133827009
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Far-sighted companies and organisations are linked together in the early stages of a new campaign to attain a hugely ambitious eco goal for Peterborough.

From engines manufacturer Perkins, housing association Cross Keys Homes through to Peterborough prison they have all enthusiastically taken up the challenge to help create a circular economy in Peterborough by 2050.

The work so far, has seen Peterborough applauded around the world by other cities, such as New York, Vancouver and Amsterdam, that are also championing the circular city ideal.

The campaign will be stepped up in Peterborough in the next few weeks with the launch of a support programme to make the business case for the circular economy in a bid to get more companies involved.

The programme will set out milestones or key performance indicators to help businesses through the transition.

Heading up the campaign is Katie Thomas (24) (pictured) the circular economy project officer for the city’s economic development company, Opportunity Peterborough.

She said: “Essentially a circular economy is an economy where we don’t have any waste.

“It is more than just recycling. It’s very much about rethinking how we value materials and resources, redesigning products and equipment so they can be taken apart and be remanufactured so they can last longer and can be easily repaired.”

“Practically, it means making the most of all the resources that we have locally from our buildings to our people and their skills.”

At the heart of the project is the growing concern at the rate at which we use finite resources, from raw materials to people.

A circular economy will involve all people, businesses and organisations working together and rethinking, redesigning, repairing, reusing, remanufacturing, recycling and recovering products and services.

Miss Thomas said: “We are at the start of the journey in Peterborough. We launched our circular Peterborough commitment in 2016 that allows organisations to pledge support. We aim to operate a truly circular city by 2050.

“For business, there is a strong case to get involved. A lot of sustainability activities are a nice add on, but companies don’t see an economic benefit. The circular economy is very much about being at the core of what a business does.”

For Cross Keys Homes the business case has been made.

Claire Higgins, chief executive of Cross Keys Homes, said: “Being part of the Circular Peterborough Commitment opens up many more opportunities for us to work with even more organisations for the good of everyone.

“We work in a ‘circular’ way on many fronts already. For instance, recycling and reusing items of furniture and the like, and donating equipment and resources to organisations helping those with very little. Our short stay accommodation receives great support from a variety of companies all year round, bringing cheer to the city’s homeless.

She added: “And we are the trusted local organisation for the WestRaven Big Local project, putting residents in control of the project to breathe new life into a deprived area, also with the help of a huge range of local companies and suppliers.”