A new report looking at how a circular economy could be developed in the UK has been published today by the RWM Ambassadors – a selection of leaders from the waste and recycling industry, business supply chain, retail, plus public sector and academia.
The panel, together with the team from RWM, the waste and resource management event taking place in Birmingham, said that it discussed and identified the key waste and resource efficiency issues and possible solutions.
Today’s report attempts to identify the key questions to provoke debate on the measures that will be needed to move the UK towards a circular economy. It addresses the policy landscape for resource management, including the fiscal framework in place to stimulate behaviour change across the supply chain. It also looks at how to engage all parties involved in recycling, both in terms of the supply chain and consumers, and the important role of local authorities.
In addition, the report examines the role of waste producers in maximising resource efficiency and how they can be encouraged to take responsibility for product stewardship.
Suggested solutions include the need to make sure all systems, from product design and production, to recycling and data collection, are shaped to deliver optimum outcomes to help generate a circular economy.
The discussions and solutions in the report need to be resolved at policy level and across the industry supply chain, but are primarily designed to:
- maximise waste prevention;
- maximise recycling where prevention is not possible;
- encourage a renewed strategic focus on food waste;
- improve data on waste stream composition and arisings;
- understand and maximise the market potential of all product materials;
- capitalise on the ability of designers and manufacturers to improve the environmental outcomes related to their products through producer responsibility and voluntary agreements; and
- improve greening of public procurement framework
Steve Lee, CEO, CIWM, said: Food waste is the next big bite in terms of improving our recycling rate. Local authorities clearly have an important role to play in terms of household food waste and must be supported, but we also need to consider whether we should follow the Scottish approach and require the separation and collection of all food waste. CIWM has also warned government that if it cannot find another reliable way to measure and map commercial and industrial wastes, it will have to consider making edoc (electronic duty of care) a mandatory requirement.”
Lee Marshall, CEO, LARAC, added: “Whilst the concept of producer responsibility has been established for a while the actual application of it is still not quite there in the UK. It is often the case that local authorities and the consumer end up with the responsibility, which works against the ‘polluter pays’ principle behind producer responsibility. A more rational approach could see producers fully fund schemes to ensure that management of products is in line with Circular Economy principles.”
Key members of the RWM Ambassador Programme will join a panel debate at RWM to discuss the report in depth and answer industry questions – in particular, standardization of household waste collection and discussions around the best policy to stimulate circular economy. Professor Margaret Bates, University of Northampton, Lee Marshall Chief Executive of LARAC, CIWM Chief Executive Steve Lee, Paul Vanston from Kent Resource Partnership and John Twitchen, executive director at Copper Consultancy will take to the Circular Economy Connect stage on 18 September from 12.45 to 13.30. In addition, copies of the free report will be available at various locations throughout the event. The Ambassadors will also announce the recipients of the Ambassador’s Fund at RWM (£15,000 each year for 2014 and 2015), which is intended to support the sector in developing new resource efficiency initiatives.
Sarah Porter, divisional director for the environment events at i2i, which includes RWM in partnership with CIWM, added: “This report draws together the thoughts of leading minds from all aspects of business and demonstrates that we can no longer afford to ignore the consequences of a linear economy. It is unashamedly controversial and is designed to stimulate minds and provoke debate; it provides possible solutions but not definitive answers. The report outcomes will be addressed further in future scheduled events, starting with a panel discussion at RWM on 18 September, where industry feedback will be welcomed and the core issues discussed.”
RWM is Europe’s premier resource and waste management event. It is free to attend and takes place from 16 to 18 September 2014 at the NEC, Birmingham. The event and free CPD accredited conference also features two other theatres, the Energy from Waste Theatre and Local Authority Theatre.
RWM in partnership with CIWM is co-located with The Water Event, The Energy Event and The Renewables Event, all taking place on 16 and 17 September 2014 in hall 3. To register to attend (gaining free access to all four shows), please visit www.rwmexhibition.com.