A circular economy is an economy that keeps the resources that enter the system in productive use as efficiently and as long as possible in order to maximise economic value – and reduce pressures on the natural environment. While nature is full of such circular systems, most human economies work very differently, in a “linear” way: extracting natural resources, using them, discarding them, then extracting more resources.

Wastewater, excreta, farm waste and food waste are all rich with raw materials that can be safely processed back into economically valuable – and environmentally sustainable – products. These include agricultural fertilisers and soil conditioners that are just as effective as commercial chemical alternatives, if not more so; dry fuels and biogas – for home use or large-scale energy production; irrigation water; and more.

In 2018, SEI’s UrbanCircle project will be working with stakeholders in the Kenyan city of Naivasha to explore how to reshape organic waste management in order to boost economic, social and environmental sustainability, as well as public health and food and water security.

This dialogue will be supported by REVAMP, a tool developed by the SEI Initiative on Sustainable Sanitation that quantifies what resources are available in a city’s waste streams, and what value different reuse scenarios could bring.

This brief introduces UrbanCircle and how it will work in Naivasha.