circulareconomy.earth has been developed by Chatham House to allow users to explore the policy and trade dynamics associated with transitioning from linear to circular economic models as well as providing analyses of the opportunities and trade-offs associated with such transitions.

This website is part of a Chatham House project, Building Transformative Alliances for an Inclusive Global Circular Economy, funded by the MAVA Foundation and is comprised of a map of existing circular economy and circular economy-related policies in the countries covered in the project, an interactive data explorer showing global trade of circular economy resources as well as publications from Chatham House and other external experts.

circulareconomy.earth is the sister site of resourcetrade.earth developed by Chatham House to enable users to explore the international trade in natural resources and the sustainability and interdependency implications of such trade.

The methodology for the various components of circulareconomy.earth, as well as updates to the policy map and trade data explorer, is explained below.

Circular economy policy map and waste dashboard

The current geographical scope of the project includes Latin America and the Caribbean, Africa and South Asia. The map includes policies in the following four categories:

  1. Circular economy policy (national level): this category includes any national circular economy policies already in place. The list includes four categories: (i) Product policy (national level): this category includes any policies that support circular practices relating to the design, manufacture, distribution or import of specific products and materials; (ii) Extended producer responsibility policy (national and state level): this category relates to policies that place the responsibility for the environmental impacts of products throughout the product life cycle to producers and is often applied to the collection, processing and re-utilization of waste; (iii) Waste management and recycling policy (national and state/city level): this category covers policies that encourage circular practices relating to the management of waste covering generation, segregation, transfer, sorting, treatment, recovery and disposal; (iv) Fiscal policy (national level): this category includes government tax and spending policies that incentivize circular practices.
  2. National circular economy roadmaps and strategies: Since 2016, 76 national circular economy roadmaps/strategies have been launched. Chatham House, with the support of UNIDO, have collaborated to create the first comprehensive global stocktake of national CE roadmaps/strategies - spanning 76 roadmaps and thematically coding 2900 policy actions.
  3. National bioeconomy roadmaps and strategies: Chatham House, with the support from the World Bioeconomy Forum, has collated and published a map of national bioeconmy roadmaps and strategies.
  4. All other strategies - Chatham House has collated and mapped relevant national strategies which incorporate circularity - these include green economy strategies and national sustainable consumption and production strategies and sub-national strategies.

We welcome new information on circular economy policies which fit the above categories, within the countries the project covers, at [email protected].

To accompany and augment the policy map, Chatham House has compiled two data dashboards on municipal and electronic waste generation, collection and recycling trends in different world regions based on existing data sources.

The municipal solid waste data set is sourced from Kaza, S., Yao, L., Bhada-Tata, P., Van Woerden, F. (2018), What a Waste 2.0: A Global Snapshot of Solid Waste Management to 2050. Washington, DC: World Bank.

All figures shown use national waste generation statistics that are adjusted to a common base year of 2016 for cross comparability. Detailed information on data sources, data collection and estimates are presented in the introduction chapter and annexes of the report.

The electronic waste data set is sourced and derived from Baldé, C.P., Forti V., Gray, V., Kuehr, R., Stegmann, P. (2017), The Global E-waste Monitor. Bonn/Geneva/Vienna: United Nations University (UNU), International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and International Solid Waste Association (ISWA).

Circular economy trade data explorer

The Chatham House Circular Economy Trade Database (CHCETD) has been developed using the same methodology, underlying data source (UN Comtrade) and country groupings as the Chatham House Resource Trade Database (CHRTD) featured on resourcetrade.earth – a full explanation of which can be found on its About page.

Although there is some overlap in the commodities covered, the focus of the CHCETD is on primary and secondary resources which are of particular significance to the circular economy whereas the focus of the Chatham House Resource Trade Database is on raw materials or relatively undifferentiated intermediate resources used by both linear and circular economic models.

The CHCETD includes over 900 individual commodities organized principally into primary and secondary material categories. Primary materials featured include both raw and intermediate bioeconomy products – renewable resources from land and sea used for food, feed, construction and the creation of bioenergy. Here there is significant overlap with the agricultural and forestry products included in CHRTD.

Secondary materials included are those derived from both renewable and non-renewable resources. They include waste, scrap and residue as well as secondary raw materials and used goods. We include all the resources, and many more, covered by the EU Trade in Recyclable Raw Materials dataset.

As with CHRTD, we have further sub-divided these major categories by resource type rather than by employing the industrial taxonomy utilized by the underlying classifications of the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System (HS).

It is widely acknowledged that the HS commodity classifications are imperfect for tracking secondary resource flows. At the most disaggregated HS-6 digit level, it is not always possible to distinguish primary and secondary flows while some commodity codes simply do not differentiate between used, recycled or new products and others include waste, residue and scrap materials in the same commodity code as primary resource streams. In such instances, we have tended to favour inclusivity to represent all flows that are of potential significance to circular economy developments.

As such, the circular economy trade dataset should be regarded as experimental and we expect it to evolve over time as data availability improves. Nonetheless, we are not aware of any other public resources of comparable scope or ambition and our hope is that it serves as a valuable resource for all those interested in the circular economy. We welcome feedback via [email protected].


In addition to the policy map and circular economy resource trade data explorer, the publications page showcases Chatham House research and thinking, as well as articles authored by external experts, on the topics covered by the project.

Terms of use

The Terms and Conditions of use for www.chathamhouse.org apply in full to circulareconomy.earth (‘our site’) with the following exceptions and limitations:

  • circulareconomy.earth trade and data accessed or downloaded thereon are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International Licence.
  • Attributions must clearly provide a link back to circulareconomy.earth. A preferred citation is given below.
  • Data from, and based on, UN Comtrade are used and re-disseminated under licence.
  • Users are kindly requested to report any errors or deficiencies in the site by e-mailing [email protected].


When citing or reproducing any data or material from circulareconomy.earth please use the following reference:

Chatham House (2021), ‘circulareconomy.earth’, https://circulareconomy.earth/

Contact us

circulareconomy.earth is an initiative of the Environment and Society Programme at Chatham House.

You can contact us at [email protected].


  • Trade data is calculated from source data provided under licence by UN Comtrade.
  • Policy data was collected by Kweku Attafuah Wadee (Resource Transformation Ghana), Gareth Price, Johanna Tilkanen, Melissa MacEwen, Charlotte Watts and Anna Åberg (Chatham House) and Philippa Lockwood (Cambridge University).
  • The site is by Applied Works.
  • The site is generously funded by the MAVA Foundation.