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West Midlands’ Circular Economy Routemap


Anaerobic Digestion:

A sequence of processes by which microorganisms break down biodegradable material in the absence of oxygen. The process is used for industrial or domestic purposes to manage waste or to produce fuels.


The process by which the nutritional quality of food crops is improved through agronomic practices, conventional plant breeding, or modern biotechnology. Biofortification differs from conventional fortification in that biofortification aims to increase nutrient levels in crops during plant growth rather than through manual means during processing of the crops.


Processes that use biological systems to either restore or clean-up contaminated sites .


Denoting or relating to urban sites for potential building development that have had previous development on them.

Building Passports:

A securely stored, online and up to date record of the physical attributes of a building through its lifecycle.

Circular Design:

A design process that considers the entire lifecycle of a product and aims for flexibility, adaptability, longevity and disassembly.

Circular Economy:

An economy based on the principles of designing out waste and pollution, keeping products and materials in use and regenerating natural systems.

Clean Tech:

Refers to any process, product, or service that reduces negative environmental impacts through significant energy efficiency improvements, the sustainable use of resources, or environmental protection activities. It includes technologies related to recycling, renewable energy, information technology, green transportation, electric motors, green chemistry, lighting, grey water, and more.


For this routemap, an enabler is a mechanism, process, product or infrastructure that supports a transition to the circular economy.

Environmental Product Declarations:

A transparent, objective report that communicates what a product is made of and how it impacts the environment across its entire life cycle.

Extended Producer Responsibility:

A policy approach under which producers are given a significant responsibility – financial and/or physical – for the treatment or disposal of post-consumer products. Assigning such responsibility could in principle provide incentives to prevent wastes at the source, promote product design for the environment and support the achievement of public recycling and materials management goals .

Industrial Symbiosis:

A subset of industrial ecology, it describes how a network of diverse organizations can foster eco-innovation and long-term culture change, create and share mutually profitable transactions, and improve business and technical processes.

Material Banks:

Repositories or stockpiles of valuable materials that might be recovered. If those materials replace primary resources used during the construction, operation or refurbishment of buildings and their parts, the need for primary resource mining, for example, of rare earth elements, can be eliminated.

Nutrient Loop:

A nutrient loop is the movement and exchange of organic and inorganic matter back into the production of matter.


The development of agricultural ecosystems intended to be sustainable and self-sufficient.

Raw Material:

The basic material from which a product is made.

Regenerative Agriculture:

A conservation and rehabilitation approach to food and farming systems.

Sharing Economy:

An economic system in which assets or services are shared between private individuals, either free or for a fee, typically by means of the internet.

Social Economy:

Refers to a set of associations, cooperatives, mutual organisations, and foundations whose activity is driven by values of solidarity, by prioritising people over capital, and encouraging democratic and participative governance processes.

Social Value:

The quantification of the relative importance that people place on the changes they experience in their lives. Some, but not all of this value is captured in market prices. It is important to consider and measure this social value from the perspective of those affected by an organisation’s work.

Strategic Intervention:

For this routemap, a strategic intervention is a sector-based project or opportunity that can accelerate a transition to a circular economy.

Virgin Material:

Materials sourced directly from nature in their raw form, such as wood or metal ores. Manufacturing products using virgin materials uses much more energy and depletes more natural resources, as opposed to producing goods using recycled materials.