Creating a Circular Economy in Luxembourg is a truly national initiative. Along with government and the business community, the people of the Grand Duchy will also have a vital role to play. Popular support from ordinary citizens will encourage firms and local authorities to move ahead with pilot projects, and to make the policy changes needed to create a more sustainable future.
People can show their support in many different ways, starting with their spending power. By making informed choices about what they purchase and by looking at new approaches to meeting their needs, citizens can help to steer companies towards a more sustainable way of doing business.
Taking the local option
As Circular Economy labelling is introduced, buyers will be able to choose consumer goods that are designed and manufactured to reflect the new approach. This would include the types of materials used to make a product, the carbon footprint created during its manufacture and use, and how easily it can be repaired and/or recycled into a new product. Support can also mean choosing a local option, whether in the area of food and drink, or in household items, such as furniture. In the Mullerthal region, for example, the ‘Holz vun hei - Regioun Mëllerdall’ (‘Wood from here – Mullerthal region’) project aims to encourage local crafts people to create new wood-based goods and to raise public awareness about them. Another way of helping local businesses is to support Luxembourg-based e-commerce platforms, such as Lëtzshop, whose services were particularly valuable during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Sharing, instead of owning
Consumers can also help the Circular Economy by looking at new ways of doing things, such as paying for the use of an item - known as Product-as-a-Service - rather than purchasing one of their own, including sharing with other users. There are plenty of examples of this already in the area of mobility. From car-sharing to bike rental services, our resources can be used more efficiently and citizens can save money by sharing instead of owning.
As awareness of the Circular Economy grows, people can also create a multiplier effect by spreading these ideas through community groups, sports clubs, trade unions and local events. Online platforms are available to help people to learn and to get involved in this new economy. The Aktioun Nohaltegkeet website, for example, is a collaborative tool in three languages for civil society, businesses, schools, municipalities, public bodies and researchers to share their knowledge about sustainability projects in the Grand Duchy.
Enthusiasm, and entrepreneurship
In Esch-sur-Alzette, there are plans to build an eco-friendly development that uses as few new resources as possible. The Benu Village project is already leasing space to Circular Economy businesses, including a restaurant, a store creating new clothes from old, and an exhibition space for local artists.
A different kind of citizen-led organisation is focusing on making towns in Luxembourg less dependent on fossil fuels and supporting the energy transition through green energy production coopertives, such as TMEnercoop from Transition Minett (please find here a complete list of cooperatives and support information).
The Centre for Ecological Learning Luxembourg (CELL) draws on the Transition Towns initiative that began in the UK in 2006 and is now a global movement. Divided into regional groups and a wide range of topics (such as green energy, urban gardens, permaculture, repair cafés and DIY), CELL works to deliver projects at the local level across Luxembourg. The organisation is supported by the Ministry of the Environment and local authorities.
Similarly, the Ministry of the Environment, Climate and Sustainable Development has been supporting Repair Café events where citizens can work with volunteers to fix broken appliances. With the slogan, 'Repair rather than throw away', the cafés help to make the Circular Economy part of everyday life.
Meanwhile, this portal will keep citizens up to date with the latest news and projects for the Circular Economy, while public consultation events will be organised by central and local government. If Luxembourg’s economy is to change, everyone needs to make a contribution. Business leaders in industry and finance are also citizens, and will be able to take action in both their personal and professional lives. Enthusiasm, along with an entrepreneurial spirit, will be essential in tackling the challenges and embracing the opportunities that lie ahead.