Malton is moving ahead with two large-scale demonstrator projects to bring the circular economy into the community and start creating tangible benefits.
The first project, enabled by the Rural Community Energy Fund, is a community anaerobic digester (or AD plant), which will use the town’s commercial food waste to produce biogas, which can power the site, with surplus gas going to local heat networks and supporting the town.
The AD plant will form part of the Eden Circular Hub, which will showcase and demonstrate circular business practices, providing information and visits to local schools and businesses, and incubation space for new circular enterprises. The Circular Malton and Norton team are currently designing site plans for their preferred location, working with the local landowners, developers and planners to place it on the Eden Business Park, where it will be well-placed to engage and support the wider rural business community.
The second project currently starting up in Malton is the creation of a repair and upcycling hub to encourage better resource use and allow residents to repair their goods, saving them from landfill. This initiative, with the working title of the CRRU Project (standing for Circular Reuse Repair and Upcycle), would offer residents the chance to donate items that are no longer needed, have broken items fixed, learn new skills, and buy repurposed and upcycled goods. This keeps items in circulation and reduces the purchasing of new products, which helps save resources and reduce carbon emissions.
Placing the initiative within the heart of the town, as Circular Malton hope to do, also helps give a working example of circular economy within the community, keeping residents involved in a community resource. This work has been made possible by Circular Malton and Norton CIC securing a grant from the National Lottery’s Together For Our Planet fund, which aims to help communities take action on climate change.
Circular Towns Guide
Finding ways to adapt to our changing world is crucial to being able to meet the new challenges that face us. The cost of living, food prices, and energy costs are rising, putting families and communities under new strains – but the circular economy offers a mechanism to alleviate those pressures, whilst limiting the impact of climate change and emissions.
The circular economy promotes a method of only using the resources we need, and being smarter about what we use and how we consume it. In a circular economy, items are reused, repurposed, refurbished, repaired, and shared amongst people, reducing waste and consumption and helping us make the most of the assets we have. Working with our towns to help them bring these ideas into their homes and communities is key to being able to move towards becoming England’s first carbon-negative region.
The Y&NY LEP’s Circular Towns Guide offers a simple, flexible framework for communities looking to explore circular economy ideas within their neighbourhoods; it is free for anyone to access, but the LEP is trialling it with three towns across the region – Malton, Scarborough, and Selby.
Malton was North Yorkshire’s first pilot circular town, and parts of the Circular Towns Guide were informed by the approach that the Circular Malton and Norton team, headed up by Sue Jefferson, found effective in their work. Engaging the community in the idea was crucial to the success of the project, and large parts of the initial couple of years of the project were spent raising awareness and linking up with local projects, like the Malton Free Fridge, which redistributes surplus food amongst the community to reduce food waste.