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The need - The city government of Belo Horizonte, Brazil’s third largest city, had a challenge with growing electronic waste production, youth unemployment, and digital exclusion, disadvantaging low-income communities.
The solution - As part of the BH Digital programme, the government established an electronics remanufacturing facility, Computer Reconditioning Centre (CRC), where citizens from low income communities receive extensive training to restore IT equipment. The refurbished equipment goes on to support over 300 ‘digital inclusion sites’, where locals have free access to computers and the internet, as well as varied training opportunities in basic digital literacy.
The outcomes - Belo Horizonte CRC continues to be the backbone to Belo Horizonte’s skills development, waste diversion, and digital inclusion efforts, having earned Belo Horizonte the title of Brazil’s most digitally advanced city in 2011.
How does the initiative support the transition to a circular economy? - Remanufacturing is a pathway to a low-carbon circular economy. By restoring post-use electronics, the city has restored 7,000 post IT products and diverted 165,000kg from landfill since the CRC launch in 2008.
Explore more about Circular Economy in Cities
This case study belongs to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s Circular Economy in Cities suite of online resources, which acts as a reference point for urban policymakers on the circular economy. It draws out opportunities in three key urban systems - buildings, mobility, and products - and looks at how city governments can enable a circular economy transition.
Five modules aim to answer the critical questions on this topic:
- Vision: What will the implementation of circular economy principles in cities look like?
- Factsheets: What are the circular economy opportunities in key urban systems and what benefits can a circular economy transition bring?
- Policy levers: What can urban policymakers do to accelerate this transition?
- Case studies: What examples are there of urban policymakers already putting this into action?
- Other networks & resources: What are other organisations doing on the topic of circular economy and cities?