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Bioeconomies are a great area for communities to focus their circularity efforts, because the organic side of the circular economy naturally makes sense to localise as much as possible.
Ideally, a regenerative bioeconomy uses renewable organic materials from forests, soils, crops and the sea to create products that displace fossil carbon use and are fully returned to nature in the end — creating a fully circular economic cycle.
Any thriving community will therefore need regenerative local bioeconomy systems. We think regenerative bioeconomies should be made up of an integrated and locally-appropriate mix of:
- Local food systems
- Integrated bio-industry
- Bio-energy systems
These parts of a modern bio-economy need to be approached together in an integrated way. The allure of starting with simpler-looking bio-energy projects should be avoided. Recent work by Material Economics looks at the big picture of biomass use across the EU economy and highlights that biomass is a scarce resource that needs to be prioritised into higher value production and applications such as construction, fibre, materials and chemicals. Energy uses for biomass are likely to become less competitive in many sectors, though still relevant for final bio-economy waste streams.
You can read in this article a more detailed discussion of how we see these opportunities, as an initial basis for community missions to create regenerative bioeconomies.