Nearly 800 circular economy initiatives in Yorkshire and Humber communities

An interactive map launched at the first Yorkshire Circular Economy Festival 2022 revealed that circular economy initiatives are widespread in Yorkshire and the Humber. Community-led initiatives, such as repair cafes, food banks and libraries of stuff, play a key role in climate action while establishing more equitable and inclusive communities.

In February 2022, a team of collaborators from the region helped to identify circular economy initiatives in all corners of Yorkshire and the Humber across five categories, including food, textiles, furniture, digital and electronic products, and underutilised goods such as tools and party equipment.

You can browse the identified initiatives in an interactive map. This map has been made freely available for everyone, with a view to raise awareness of and grow circular economy in Yorkshire and the Humber.

“These findings demonstrate that communities in Yorkshire and the Humber are leading the way in circular economy” says Dr Anne Velenturf, senior research fellow in circular economy at University of Leeds and head of the Yorkshire Circular Lab. “These initiatives inspire action in our region but also nationally and internationally, and show that circular economy is ready to scale up.”

The map can be used to locate circular economy initiatives and to find out what they do. This can help both the people who are looking to use sustainable, convenient and affordable circular products and services, and those who would like to make contact and learn from existing initiatives to start up new ones.

“This map was created to be an open and free resource for the people of Yorkshire and the Humber to build resilience, share our collective knowledge and maximise the potential of our skills and resources” says Mike Howroyd, sustainability officer and deputy head of the Yorkshire Circular Lab. “Please use and share far and wide with as many people as you can!”

“Circular economy is a critical element of climate action. Half of our carbon emissions are directly linked to the use of materials and products. We can all take action and be part of a circular economy now, whether it is by buying and using less things, sharing or reusing more, or simply becoming better at recycling”, says Dr Paul Jensen, lecturer in business, environment and development at the University of Leeds and collaborator in the Yorkshire Circular Lab. He went on to say “the people of Yorkshire are well-known for being smart with their money, pragmatic and caring for each other. Circular economy is a natural fit for Yorkshire and it doesn’t surprise me that we found so many community circular initiatives.”

The map was prepared in collaboration with a team of circular economy enthusiasts with strong environmental and social values led by Footprint Services and including Hull Food Partnership, York and North Yorkshire Local Enterprise Partnership, Upcycle Fashion, Buy Nowt LS6 Library of Things, Feed Worldwide Ltd and Accelar.

The mapped initiatives are probably just the tip of the iceberg and there may well be initiatives that are missing. Please contact the Yorkshire Circular Lab team with any additional initiatives for the map. Email Dr Paul Jensen at P.Jensen@leeds.ac.uk, or tag relevant initiatives in social media with hashtag #YCLMAP.

The preparation of the map was part of a project funded by Research England and was delivered via the Yorkshire Circular Lab. The Yorkshire Circular Lab supports the implementation of a sustainable circular economy in Yorkshire and the Humber. Find out more on the Yorkshire Circular Lab website or email Dr Anne Velenturf at A.Velenturf@leeds.ac.uk.