Possible Implications of Brexit for the Circular Economy

  • Katrien Steenmans (Speaker)

Activity: Talk or presentationOral presentation


Unsustainable amounts of waste are currently produced that need to be managed. As a result of detrimental economic, environmental, and social implications of the current dominant waste management options (landfill and incineration operations), there are increasing calls by policymakers, practitioners, and researchers to transition towards circular economies. In essence, a circular economy is a system in which wastes and other resources are reused, recycled, and recovered to achieve economic prosperity, environmental protection, and social equity. Such systems can operate from the micro level of products, companies, and consumers to national level and beyond. Circular economy manifestations already exist within and across the European Union (EU), and continue to be promoted as a result of its Circular Economy Package. Within the UK, for example, the city of Peterborough is aiming to be a circular city by 2050, while at the national level, the UK exports certain wastes to Sweden in order to be burnt at incineration plants for their district heating systems. Brexit will thus affect circular economy approaches with the UK because of such existing macro circular exchanges between the UK and other countries, in addition to EU waste laws largely having driven waste law within the UK. It is therefore anticipated that the amount of waste sent to landfill in the UK will increase in the short term. Simultaneously, Brexit has also been considered an opportunity for the UK to stimulate more localised circular economy systems. This paper therefore investigates possible positive and negative implications of Brexit for the circular economy within the legal context. These will be identified through desk-based research.
Period10 Oct 2019
Event titleEU-CARICOM Conference 2019
Event typeConference
LocationCoventry, United KingdomShow on map