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Circular Economy in Barcelona

The Circular Economy in Barcelona

Together with our partner, Swapfiets, we have created an overview of the Circular Economy in Barcelona, and offered a breakdown of the ongoing Circular Initiatives in the city. Offering a opportunity for innovation and integration between businesses, natural ecosystems, our daily lives and waste management, it’s great to see that Barcelona is switching towards a more circular economy. 

If you want to find out more about the benefits of taking advantage of the Circular Economy Model, then look no further!


Re-defining Progress - The Circular Economy

The Circular Economy is a model of production and consumption which involves reusing, repairing, refurbishing and recycling existing materials/products for as long as possible. In this way, the life cycle of products is extended. The Circular Economy Model offers a new chance of innovation and integration between businesses, natural ecosystems, our daily lives and waste management.


By using this model, when a product reaches the end of its life, its materials are kept within the economy wherever possible. These materials can then be productively used again and again, thereby creating further value.


Looking beyond the current take-make-waste industrial model, a circular economy focuses on positive society-wide benefits. It explores how, through a change in perspective, we can re-design the way our economy works by designing products that can be ‘made to be made again’.


Adopting a circular economy represents a systemic shift that builds long-term resilience, generates business and economic opportunities, and provides tonnes of environmental and societal benefits.

The Benefits

Moving towards a more Circular Economy could deliver benefits such as reducing pressure on the environment, encouraging innovation, boosting economic growth and creating jobs. 


Consumers will also be provided with more durable and innovative products that will definitely save them money in the long term.

Barcelona - A Circular City

‘The green and circular economy in Barcelona City Council Policies’ study was presented in a meeting at Barcelona Activa as part of a strategy to promote the green economy through municipal policies. 


The study analyses the results of measures implemented by Barcelona City Council between 2016 and 2019 in the areas of energy, water, waste, urban greenery, mobility, air quality, housing, local economic development, consumerism, commerce and tourism.


The study concludes that there was a combined overall investment of 603 million euros on average for each year of office, around 51% of which was used on mobility and air quality, 19% on urban greenery and 15% on housing. Public policies on the green and Circular Economy by the City Council have generated over 1,380 permanent jobs a year on average and 5,200 temporary jobs. 


The evaluation made during the study makes it possible to identify which strategies implemented during this term of office were of the most interest in terms of adding vitality to the economy and creating new jobs. Some of which include:


  • Shared (electric) vehicles to foster intermodality.
  • The renewal of energy use in buildings.
  • The municipal energy distributor and backing for renewable production.
  • Urban greenery: the opportunity offered by green rooftops.
  • Waste reduction: zero waste strategy.
  • The circular economy in other strategic sectors (digital companies and ITC, energy efficiency, social and solidarity economy, responsible tourism and commerce).

Circular initiatives in Barcelona

There are many ongoing circular initiatives in Barcelona across various different sectors, such as:

  • Food Industry & Agriculture
  • Chemical, Energy & Water Industries
  • Health, Wellbeing and Life Science
  • Sustainable Mobility
  • Industry 4.0 & Industrial Systems
  • Design
  • Packaging
  • Build Environment
  • Education


Below you will find 6 practical initiatives, that you can easily apply to your daily life.

Circular economy


Swapfiets is the world’s first ‘bicycle as a service’ company. Their concept is quite simple - For a monthly subscription fee, Swapfiets members receive a fully functional bicycle or e-mobility solution for their own use.If you're keen to sign up to become part of the Swapfiets community, use code: SWAPEXPATLIFE to receive a €25 discount on your subscription.

Circular economy

Go Zero Waste

With Go Zero Waste app find Zero Waste products and services near you and learn tricks and tips for a waste-free life. Founded in Barcelona.

Circular economy

La Fàbrica del Sol

La Fàbrica del Sol provides environmental education, promoted by the Area of ​​Ecology, Urbanism and Mobility of the City council of Barcelona.The rehabilitation of the space has integrated environmental measures and solutions, such as the use of rainwater, an interior vertical garden, a geothermal heat pump, a pergola and a wall with photovoltaic panels, in addition to natural ventilation.

Circular economy


If vintage fashion is your thing, you’ll be glad to discover Humana, a charity shop where a large selection of good quality second hand clothes are sold at affordable prices (for both men and women). Venture to their store on Ronda Universitat, or one of the several other branches scattered around Barcelona to get your hands on a bargain.

Circular economy

Too Good To Go

Download the ‘Too Good To Go’ app and help fight food waste in Barcelona! Simply download and choose a goody bag of surplus food from restaurants, cafés, supermarkets, bakeries, canteens and wholesalers. The best thing about this app is that you won’t know exactly what’s in your order until you pick it up. Receive great food at great prices, and do your bit for the planet.

Circular economy


A startup company with the first returnable packaging system for catering. Bûmerang was created from the concept that our grandparents were so used to: the concept of reusing.

Where to find more information

About Swapfiets

Swapfiets started in a very organic way, with a group of friends creating an idea and just trying it out. For a fixed price a month you get a Swapfiets bicycle and they ensure your bicycle always works. Over the years, Swapfiets has designed it’s own bicycle and is now an established brand in a number of cities across the globe.

Not only is Swapfiets embracing circularity in Barcelona (aiming to have fully circular bicycles by 2025), it offers tonnes of other benefits for it’s members, some of which include:

  • All Swapfiets products are secured anti-theft and armed with double locks on the bikes.
  • If needed, a repair service is available within 48 hours to repair or directly swap your two-wheeler at no additional cost.
  • Swapfiets uses Dutch Bikes – all of which are excellent quality and have superior features.
  • No NIE or other paperwork are needed to sign up.
  • They offer student voucher codes for subscriptions.
  • Swapfiets Bike Club community – Offering bi-weekly social biking tours with fun collaborations (Yoga, Art, Ecology).

Swapfiets has grand ambitions. Not just to provide their members with an environmentally friendly way to navigate the world, crush their collective carbon footprint, put fewer cars on the road or keep our bodies moving. But also, to encourage the world to adopt a new way of thinking and using – through circularity. Swapfiets is committed to running their business in the most responsible way possible – sustainably. So, in 2021 they have committed to 100% renewable energy contracts for all locations; from offices to warehouses and stores.

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