Circular Milan: the alignment of economy towards the establishment of circularity

Green TransitionNewsTop stories

The city of Milan, with its large economy and flourishing businesses, is today one of the pioneers when it comes to recycling of bio-waste. In the last few years, the city achieved to recycle 85% of its bio-waste, which is one of the highest percentages among European cities. To further support their goal of transitioning to a circular economy, several projects were introduced by the City Council and Mayor Giuseppe Sala.

First such project was Food Policy guidelines 2015-2020 which focuses on food management. This policy promoted establishment of a sustainable food system, which was done through the fight against food waste, introduction of local consumption and several types of tax reduction. Donation of food surpluses to charity and donations by restaurants, enabled these facilities to be exempted from part of taxation.

This project was further supported after the local administration of Milan created the Milan Urban Food Policy Pact, which was an international agreement made in 2015. This pact was signed by 207 cities from all around the world. Every participating city agreed to enhance and develop sustainable food systems, which will provide food to all their citizens, minimize waste generation and preserve biodiversity.

These two projects inspired the European Regional Development Fund to create their own model for food policy, which resulted in the establishment of the OpenAgri project. The budget allocated to this project reached 5 million euro. The main goal of this programme is to enhance peri-urban agriculture and enable the municipality to establish the city of Milan as a lab for innovation, especially in the sphere of the food supply chain. Along with the food supply chain, promotion and support for creation of start-ups was also included in this project.

To further enhance the development of circular strategy, the city of Milan entered networks and pilots of European cities. This action will enable better exchange and flow of ideas and solutions for various problems. 

The Reflow is a network with pilots in six European cities, one of them being Milan. The primary goal of this organization is to conduct an analysis of the situation, which will then helps these cities to transform urban material flows and test some of the circular solutions. This network enabled the city of Milan to introduce a project, called “Food Market 2.0“, with the aim of improving covered markets around the city. This project was funded by both the local government and Horizon 2020 project.

To additionally support the archival of the circular economy, the city of Milan also developed three isolated plans for the future of the city. First plan, called Milano Plastic Free, aims at raising awareness in commercial business circles, in order to reduce the usage of disposable plastic and usage of plastic packaging.

The second plan, called the Sustainable Mobility Plan, aims at promoting circular programmes for mobility in the city. Some of the measures presented in the plan are an increase in electric bike sharing, car rental and carpooling.

The third and latest plan announced by the City Council and Mayor Sala is the Air and Climate Plan, which offers a framework of regulations for future strategic direction. This plan also includes projects for reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, improving air quality in the city and adaptation of the economy to climate change. (photo credit: vectorjuice/Freepik)