Aachen, Germany

The city of Aachen became active in the field of sustainability in the early 1990s and joined the UNs‘ Agenda 2030 in July 2018. Circular economy was already implemented in Aachen in the waste management concept of 1993, which follows the guiding principle of avoidance before recycling and recycling before disposal. In order to implement this guiding principle, incentives are set through the design of waste charges. During the development of the waste management concept , a waste advisory service was set up in 1992, with information offers, campaigns and even waste education, which still exist today. In order to achieve a high level of recycling, there is a wide range of offers for the collection of recyclable materials and delivery systems with recycling centers, recycling container locations and even green waste collection. By signing the circular cities declaration, the city of Aachen commits itself to continue and improve its efforts in circular economy. Circular economy should be integrated even more in administrative processes as well as in development strategies and city planning, including through the participation of citizens.

© CCE/IME, RWTH Aachen University, photo by Ayodeji Fabusiwa

Renewable energy

Circular economy also includes energy: In Aachen, this specific topic is part of the strategy of the climate protection concept (IKSK), which focusses on the expansion of installation and usage of renewable energies. To achieve this goal, a financial support program encourages citizens and entrepreneurs to install solar panels on their roofs. Furthermore, it is planned to install solar panels on all suitable roofs of municipal buildings until 2025. In the spirit of circular economy, it is important to the city of Aachen that the building stock is used instead of constructiing many new buildings. Financial support for the energetic refurbishment of buildings is offered to citizens. The retrofitting of municipal buildings (residential and non-residential) is also part of the circular economy strategy.

Sharing rides

Sustainable and low-emission mobility is another key topic of Aachens circular economy efforts. This includes offers for car & bike-sharing and ridesharing. To be able to combine well all low-emission transport systems such as sharing, buses, etc. with each other, all offers can be booked in one step via the online platform moVA. Moreover, expert guidance on low-emission mobility is offered to companies. The city administration itself sets a good example by offering electric vehicles for business trips and commuter tickets. Finally, it's worth noting that Aachen received the certificate „Fair Trade Town“ and considers fair trade criteria in its procurement.