The first meeting of the ACR+ Working Group on Circular Economy took place yesterday, Tuesday 4 November 2014, at the Catalan representation in Brussels with 60 participants.

All participants are convinced that the traditional model of a linear economy is no longer viable and that a circular economy strategy is both a necessity and a great opportunity to change our production and consumption models, to move towards resource efficiency.

Building on 20 years of experience, ACR+ (the Association of Cities and Regions for Recycling and Sustainable Resource Management) has always been a ground-breaking network focusing on the sustainable management of material resources. ACR+ members have been at the forefront of the promotion and implementation of the highest levels of the waste hierarchy and are innovative leaders when it comes to developing resource efficiency policies at local and regional levels.

In the morning, an introduction to the EU Commission Circular Economy Package by Michel Sponar was followed by the presentations of 5 front runners in terms of circular economy strategy. Valentina Caroli from the City of Ferrara, Barbara Dewulf from Brussels Environment, Maurice Golden from Zero Waste Scotland, Eric Kniaz from the Regional Council of Nord-Pas de Calais and Mieke De Schoenmakere from Flanders shared with the audience their experiences. They showed that circular economy can be applied to different contexts and levels of governance.

All the participants were then invited to a participative and interactive workshop dedicated to a reflection around objectives, priorities for guidelines, sectorial themes, best practices and challenges. The participants agreed on the elaboration of general and sectorial guidelines based on good practices and methodological aspects, with the help of an advisory committee composed of different stakeholders. The participants, being aware of need to share and exchange information on the topic, agreed to elaborate an internal (ACR+ members) and external (wider public) communication strategy regarding the WG outputs.

As a reminder, this working group is developed on the basis of several principles: the multi-R hierarchy, a territorial hierarchy, innovative business models, multi-stakeholders partnerships, and the essential role of local and regional authorities. Its aim is to help local and regional authorities (LRAs) to elaborate a circular economy strategy towards resource efficiency on their territory. To be part of the Circular Economy Working Group one has to become a member of ACR+, network which welcomes not only LRAs but also academics, NGOs, and private sector.

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