Essex County Council: BLUEPRINT to a Circular Economy Project

Essex County Council is leading this ERDF-funded project. BLUEPRINT will help local authorities in England, France and beyond transition to a circular economy. They are working with partners across the France (Channel) England (FCE) region to help local authorities connect the circular economy to sustainable and inclusive growth. The project will create a toolkit for local authorities, develop a circular economy training programme and engage residents and businesses in circular economy practices.

The challenge

The transition to a circular economy in Europe could be worth €1.8 trillion a year by 2030 but local authorities are either unaware of this opportunity or don't know how to take advantage of it.

Furthermore, they currently treat low recycling and high unemployment rates as two separate issues, which the BLUEPRINT model will help to transform.

The solution

The BLUEPRINT model, which will be created by March 2023, will help local authorities to create waste management strategies that also address social value and innovation.

BLUEPRINT will help local authorities to understand the potential jobs created by a circular economy. These include reverse logistics and secondary markets.

The project will also enable residents to play a part in the circular economy. By involving families, schools and households, BLUEPRINT will help local authorities to meet the EU recycling targets of 65% by 2035.

The project will produce a cross-border solution to be used across the FCE region and beyond. It will be tested and validated across a range of local authorities. These will include large county councils and smaller "communautés".

Partners will engage with at least 30 local authorities to develop the model. They will also learn from other countries and regions to create a holistic BLUEPRINT.

The project will also engage training bodies and households from both countries. Cross-border collaboration will ensure the training scheme and behaviour change campaigns are replicable and transferable.

The impact

By adjusting waste management strategies, local authorities will be able to prioritise welfare gains and reduce the risk of economic exclusion. This will produce outcomes that are better for both the planet and the population.

By March 2023 the project will:

  • Engage 30 local authorities
  • Upskill 118 social enterprises to deliver our training programme
  • Deliver training to 2,000 disadvantaged people (15% of these will secure work within 2 years of completing the project)
  • Engage 78,000 individuals in behaviour change pilots

Lessons learned

The project is still in its infancy; however, we hope to learn:

  • How to connect the circular economy to social innovation
  • How local authorities can implement a circular economy at local level
  • The role played by social enterprises within a circular economy
  • How to engage residents and businesses to implement a circular economy
  • How to create a cross-border model for accelerating the transition to a circular economy


Leah Martin, Project Communications Officer