Urban agrifood circularity: exploring consumable and capital micro circular production loops

Peter David Ball, Ehsan Badakhshan, Nicola Holden, Jens Jensen, Lydia Smith

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


The circular economy concept is typically applied at scale, especially for high value products and materials. The dominant manufacturing model is for large global factories with research and practice independent of agriculture. This paper challenges the dominant “big is beautiful” ethos and explores how agricultural and industrial production can operate at local, urban scale with wastes circulating for consumable and capital production. The research case is a UK city where food wastes could be used for food production and beverage production waste could be used to produce building materials. The research explores the industrial symbiosis engineering challenge of small-scale waste conversion and the digital challenge of identifying and measuring waste flows for conversion. In considering waste conversions through local, distributed manufacture this paper also tackles the digital challenge of how to source local, small volume material flow data for optimization. Future potential research avenues of micro manufacture as well as digital twins are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationGlobal Conference on Sustainable Manufacturing
Place of PublicationBuenos Aires, Argentina
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 4 Dec 2023

Bibliographical note

This is an author-produced version of the published paper. Uploaded in accordance with the University’s Research Publications and Open Access policy.


  • circular economy, urban manufacturing, distributed manufacturing, industrial symbiosis, digital

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