Just after finishing its biggest annual event – the day dedicated to the circular economy – at the end of June, the Circular Innovation Hub (CIH) in Wiltz is continuing its activities and working on a training programme for the coming months. “In particular, we would like to be more present in schools and find new synergies with new partners or strengthen existing links,” explains Ariane Bouvy, the CIH manager.

Created in 2020 at the initiative of the Commune of Wiltz and the Fonds du Logement, the Circular Innovation Hub aims to be the meeting and communication point for all topics related to the circular economy.

The – temporary – location of its premises is very symbolic: in the heart of the future Wunne mat der Wooltz district, which echoes the glorious industrial past of the commune. This new area is planned to be built according to the principles of the circular economy and will include, among other things, about 1,000 new homes.

The Circular Innovation Hub concept was developed with the support of Jean-Claude Backendorf who, in his role as project manager at Luxinnovation, worked from September 2017 to May 2020 alongside the Commune of Wiltz to develop the circular economy project. “Having the opportunity to work on the flagship project on the circular economy, and seeing several projects subsequently taking shape, including the Circular Innovation Hub, was a great privilege for me,” he explains.

Targeted training sessions

The CIH is part of the municipality’s efforts to become a Municipal Circular Economy Hotspot. This initiative was launched in 2015 under the impetus of then Secretary of State for the Economy, Francine Closener, and Secretary of State for Sustainable Development and Infrastructure, the late Camille Gira.

As a precursor on several levels in the circular economy, the municipality of Wiltz has developed a multitude of projects and tools and decided to set up a place of exchange to transmit and share its experiences.

Today, the CIH focuses its activities – mainly training sessions – on three target audiences: municipalities, schools (on request) and the general public. “For municipalities, we started with introductory training sessions explaining what the circular economy is and presenting our experience as a circular economy hotspot. From September on, we will also offer sessions on more specific topics,” explains Ms Bouvy, who notes a growing interest from municipalities in these topics.

From the beginning, it was clear that educating municipalities and citizens is one of the major keys to the successful transfer from a linear to a circular economy.”

Further training sessions for municipalities are already planned in the autumn: one on 28 September focusing on economic models and circular purchasing, and one on 11 November on the circular economy in urban planning.

“From the beginning, it was clear that educating municipalities and citizens is one of the major keys to the successful transfer from a linear to a circular economy,” Mr Backendorf emphasises. “A municipality is already in itself closer to the citizens and therefore has more possibilities to present concrete and practical examples of the circular economy to the population.”

An educational walk on 30 July

After having been slowed down due to the consequences of the health crisis, the CIH’s momentum is now picking up again. From September on, activities for the general public and schools will be more numerous and regular. “The circular economy as such is not necessarily a topic that excites the masses,” notes Ms Bouvy. “On the other hand, if we are able to integrate the circular economy in practice into projects that impact the daily lives of citizens, we can help them to better understand and take ownership of the concept more quickly. Our role is then to highlight the positive effects for them as much as possible.”

The summer will not be idle. On 30 July, a “Hike & Like” walk will be organised in partnership with Visit Wiltz to discover the circular economy in Wiltz.

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