Why advocate on waste and a circular economy?

RS67759_LEB2015_DXC_R_0162Well, we’ve produced a guide which aims to answer just that question. We’ve explored in previous posts (in particular here, here and here) how the current approach to resources is creating mountains of waste, which are harming some of the most vulnerable communities in low- and middle-income countries. This waste could instead be re-used or eliminated; this circular economy approach – keeping resources in use for as long as possible – would:

  1. improve health;
  2. create jobs; and
  3. be better for the environment.


In August 2016 Tearfund and the Institute of Development Studies published a report, Virtuous Circle, exploring for the first time this triple win for those in poverty. The report made the case for the circular economy as an alternative development pathway; one which decouples economic growth from its typical damage to the natural world.

Making the case was however just the beginning. The ‘Why Advocate on Waste and a Circular Economy?’ guide is just one way that we are working to encourage and resource partners, communities and organisations to employ this new development approach. To fully realise the life-saving and -changing potential of the circular economy we need to see change in the systems, policies and practices that incentivise our current wasteful approach. Advocacy, alongside other tactics, is a crucial tool for seeing this shift at a global and local level, by communities and civil society, governments and businesses. This guide is an entry point to why and how to do this.


Tearfund believes that a transition to a circular economy can play a major part in tackling poverty and reducing our impact on the natural world. If you are working in this area already, or find the guide useful, we would love to hear from you about your experience. The circular economy requires a whole-system approach; many actors make for far-reaching work, and many more lives impacted. That’s why we advocate in the first place.

You can download Tearfund’s guides on advocacy on a range of topics from here.

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