The external seminar of the CoR's Commission for Environment, Climate Change and Energy (ENVE) was held in Tallinn on 6 June. The event was organized in cooperation with the City of Tallinn, European Green Capital 2023, and the OECD. CoR members joined the 5th OECD Roundtable on the circular economy in cities and regions, and had the opportunity to share and learn from relevant initiatives at local and regional level towards the implementation of circular economy solutions. At this occasion, an OECD report of Tallinn's circular economy was published, showing the current situation, indicating the challenges and suggesting recommendations for the transition to a circular economy in Tallinn.
The OECD report recognizes Tallinn for the steps the city has already taken in making waste management more sustainable. For example, the city has achieved a higher level of separate collection, is planning to open circular economy centres, as re-use rooms and repair workshops are being added to waste stations. This clearly supports reducing consumption and keeping things in circulation. Expanding the circular economy department, assigning specific roles and responsibilities there, as well as organizing in-house trainings and information days, are among the recommendations. Furthermore, as the circular economy plays a key role in the reduction of indirect CO2 emissions, Tallinn is already planning to start working on its Circular Economy Strategy.
“The wasteful economic model of take, use and throw away cannot take us forward anymore, because it is an excessive burden to the environment. Therefore, implementing circular economy is an important goal for the city of Tallinn. We would like to thank OECD for its comprehensive work, the results of which will help us set new goals to implement the transition to a circular economy. We are happy to say that so much has already been done in Tallinn, but more systematic and ambitious work still awaits us", Deputy Mayor of Tallinn Joosep Vimm said.
The event was jointly organized by the ENVE Commission, the OECD and the City of Tallinn, and on the invitation of CoR member Jevgeni Ossinovski (EE/PES), Chair of Tallinn City Council. It provided an excellent occasion for cities and regions to highlight their challenges and success stories when implementing circular economy plans, developing circular economy solutions, or establishing monitoring indicators.
The programme included a presentation of the European Commission's Circular Economy in Cities and Regions Initiative (CCRI). The CCRI aims to increase synergies among projects and initiatives, disseminate relevant knowledge, and give greater visibility to best practices. This initiative will provide tailored technical and financial support to cities and regions and different stakeholders, including industry representatives, research and technology organizations and civil society, through the whole life cycle of local and regional circular economy initiatives. The CoR is already an associated partner.
ENVE Commission members also participated in a study visit organized by the City of Tallinn. To honour its selection as the European Green Capital 2023, local and regional authorities walked on the Pollinator Highway "Putukaväil", a 14-kilometre-long species-rich green corridor between six city districts and were also invited to the sustainable community Kopli 93. Another group learnt best practices from the Estonian deposit packaging system, and the Ülemiste City standards in sustainable development of an innovation-driven smart city solution with green and healthy urban spaces.