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Circular economy predicted to create over a quarter of a million new jobs for Londoners over the next ten years

  • New research and modelling commissioned by ReLondon shows the potential for a more circular economy to create over a quarter of a million new jobs for Londoners by 2030
  • Circular economy growth could particularly help London’s young labour force, as well as others who have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic, creating accessible, well-paid job opportunities for all Londoners
  • The report will be launched at Circular Economy Week, a week of events showcasing businesses, local authorities, community groups and others who are making London and other global cities more circular

New research by ReLondon, in collaboration with Valpak, reveals the potential economic growth and job prosperity possible over the next decade, if London’s businesses, policymakers and communities work together to adopt a circular economy and achieve the targets outlined in the Mayor’s Environment Strategy.

By clearly defining the different ways jobs can be circular and including all the sectors that can contribute – either as core circular businesses or from those directly or indirectly supporting core businesses – ReLondon’s modelling shows that circular economy can deliver not just substantial environmental gains but also make a significant contribution to job creation and economic growth.

If the city meets the Mayor of London’s waste and recycling targets to prevent 450 thousand tonnes of waste and increase the municipal recycling rate to 65%, 284,000 new circular jobs could be created – over and above the existing 231,000 circular jobs London has currently.

New jobs will be driven by increased public demand for planet-friendly products and services; by new business approaches like sharing, renting or leasing products instead of buying new, reusing and recycling materials in new products; by providing refill and repair services across the capital; and by the waste sector collaborating with businesses and local authorities to recirculate 1.1 million tonnes of material, helping everyone in the economy to waste less and reuse, repair, share and recycle more.

With less than six months to go until COP27, ReLondon is calling for all those acting on the climate emergency to recognise the role that circular economy can play in tackling the 45% of global greenhouse gas emissions associated with our consumption of food, goods and services – but also to recognise the double dividend it provides in terms of good quality jobs at every level; as well as the urgent need for investment in skills, training and qualifications to support businesses as they transition to circular business models.

As a first step the organisation is encouraging all businesses to get involved in their fifth annual Circular Economy Week. #CEWeek2022 is a showcase of inspiration and celebration to grow the circular economy in London. Sponsored by Cleveland Steel & Tubes and the London Environment Directors’ Network (LEDNet), #CEweek2022 will cover a broad range of topics, sectors and materials but this year will particularly focus on the role that the circular economy can play in helping a green recovery following the pandemic.

Victoria Lawson, chair of the London Environment Directors’ Network (LEDNet), said:

Investing in greener, more circular economies brings huge opportunities for local places, people and businesses. This report confirms what we are seeing on the ground through our work – that collaboration between communities, businesses and local authorities to reduce waste can support green economies, jobs and skills for local people.
“Collective leadership and partnership working is absolutely critical to delivering the shift we need towards net zero and stronger, greener economies – whether that’s collaboration across borough boundaries via LEDNet, with partners like ReLondon, or cross-sector working with community groups, local businesses and academia. We are proud to be supporting and partnering with ReLondon on Circular Economy Week, to further promote and spread the benefits of circular economies in London and beyond.

Roy Fishwick, managing director of Cleveland Steel & Tubes, said:

Construction is a very big factor in environmental issues and waste creation. It is crucial in addressing the climate emergency that our actions have a net effect on the current situation. In the case of steel, recycling is already best practice so it is hard to improve. Reuse allows for increased environmental benefit and also is a natural extension of refurbishment of existing buildings. Both of these things have a huge effect on waste reduction.

Refurbishment and reuse require new workforce and skill sets and will typically involve local, UK based, labour pools. Steel is a simple product to develop circularity with but the principles can be applied to many other products and services. It is time for a change in business thinking and practice to encourage waste reduction and reuse and it is not as difficult as people might think.

Wayne Hubbard, CEO of ReLondon said:  

In producing this report, we’ve seen again that circular economy is everywhere. It’s not just the reuse and recycling sector, but rather a system touching on almost every aspect of our lives and encompassing a whole raft of crucial activities and jobs that underpin it. This is why it’s so important to London’s low carbon goods and services sector.

Transitioning to a low carbon circular economy will require action at all levels of society, from national government to consumers, businesses, and the education sector – but this new report shows that the job creation made possible by evolving to circular models can’t be ignored. It could provide a real boost to the capital, helping us recover from the pandemic, navigate the current cost of living crisis and potentially safeguard jobs and communities.

Young people and certain minority ethnic groups have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic, resulting in more of London’s young working population being unemployed in comparison to the UK . ReLondon believes the circular transition provides a real opportunity to mitigate the negative economic impact of COVID-19 in the city and provide good job opportunities for all.

Shirley Rodrigues, Deputy Mayor for Environment and Energy said:  

Tackling the climate emergency presents a significant opportunity to create new jobs and support businesses driving the transition to a resource-efficient circular economy. The Mayor is supporting this through the Green New Deal fund and his Green Skills Academy which includes a focus on skills which drive activity towards the circular economy and circular jobs.

We very much welcome this research by ReLondon, anticipating the potential for a more circular economy to create over a quarter of a million net new jobs for Londoners by 2030. This would also support a reduction in waste in line with the Mayor’s aim for London to be a zero waste city and net zero by 2030.


For more information, For more information, contact / 07801849967

Notes to eds

#CEweek2022 is a week of inspiration and celebration to showcase and accelerate the stuff revolution. It is hosted by ReLondon, London’s circular economy partner. This year it takes place from 13th – 17th June and will look at the role that circular economy can play in helping a green recovery.

Find out more at

  • ReLondon is a partnership of the Mayor of London and the London boroughs to improve waste and resource management and transform the city into a leading low carbon circular economy.
  • ReLondon’s team delivers tailored support to government, businesses and citizens. The organisation works to reduce waste, increase recycling and accelerate London’s transition to a low carbon circular economy by:
    – Empowering London’s boroughs and businesses by exploring, testing and proving transformative innovations with them
    – Advocating for policy or regulatory change
    – Encouraging behaviour change at all levels
  • ReLondon is in the process of publishing a series of material flow analysis reports (across five priority sectors), and this circular jobs and skills report will help ReLondon build a complete picture of where the opportunity areas and sectors are for development of circular intervention over the next few years.
  • ReLondon will then tailor and develop their support offering to these sectors to accelerate London’s transition to a low carbon circular city.
  • ReLondon was established as a statutory Board under the Greater London Authority Act 2007 as the London Waste and Recycling Board (LWARB)
  • Find out more at:

Valpak, a Reconomy Group Company, is the largest environmental compliance scheme in the UK. It works with major names, such as J Sainsbury’s, ASOS, and Miele, and manages compliance for more than 2,000 businesses. In 2022, it celebrates its 25th anniversary. Valpak services include compliance under Packaging, WEEE, and Battery Directives; data management services; international compliance; recycling services (total waste management options and solutions for niche materials); consultancy, and accreditation under environmental schemes, such as Zero Waste to Landfill. For more information, please visit

Cleveland Steel and Tubes Limited was established 50 years ago to specifically repurpose and reuse Oil Industry and other steel tubular products. During this time it has developed all the services required to reuse steel. Whilst the history has been on tubulars CST has always been involved in the sections market and is now able to offer reused sections as well as repurposed tubulars.

  • London Environment Directors’ Network (LEDNet) is the membership association for the Environment Directors across London’s boroughs and the City of London.
  • We work together to make London a better place, by providing collective leadership on climate, and supporting the delivery of effective, efficient and innovative environmental services for all Londoners.
  • The outcomes we want to see are:
    – Increased adoption of circular economy approaches, reduced residual waste and increased recycling, cleaner air, more resilient green and blue infrastructure, a more resilient energy system and a thriving natural environment
    – Increased adoption of best practice around digital solutions, proactive use of effective demand management and behavioural change approaches to achieve net zero carbon in London
    – More cost-effective outcomes for London residents.
  • We are working towards our outcomes by:
    – Influencing development of relevant policy and legislation at a national and regional level;
    – Providing a professional support network for London’s environment directors;
    – Facilitating collaboration between directors that contributes to London’s joint working;
    – Working together on seven flagship, cross-boundary climate programmes to help London get to net zero; and
    – Commissioning research and developing best practice and policy on environmental and place-shaping issues of strategic importance for London.
  • Find out more about LEDNet, our work and our policy positions here.

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