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The Resources and Waste Strategy for England - how we can make the most of this valuable resource

18 Dec 2018

The Resources and Waste Strategy for England - how we can make the most of this valuable resource

Duncan Baker-Brown

"Michael Gove is absolutely correct that waste is a valuable resource, but his focus on recycling and single-use material tax is short-sighted. The Resources and Waste Strategy for England does not unlock the massive potential of waste, and doesn’t go far enough in developing a Circular Economy that could bring huge financial and environmental benefits to the whole UK.

“We can introduce small measures like taxes and bins to change consumer behaviour and charge our manufacturers for using undesirable materials, but there’s so much to be gained from understanding a truly Circular Economy where repurpose and reuse is key.

“To put this into context, in 2017 the London Waste and Recycling Board (LWARB) identified that by 2036 a Circular Economy could provide London with net benefits of up to £7bn per annum, with up to 12,000 new jobs. That potential only ripples out across the country.

“The UK produces 600 million tonnes of waste every year. The main contributor to that is our construction industry, accounting for around 60% of all waste. There are already some fantastic innovators across the UK and around the world who are doing something to tackle this, including new tiles and bricks being made from crushed concrete and brick. But these innovations must be funded, fostered and focused on to allow us to change our throw-away culture.

“The Secretary of State’s strategy is welcome, but it’s a half measure. To understand the potential of reuse and repurpose we should be coming together to collaborate and find new ways to address our waste problem. Platforms such as industry-led Futurebuild with its dedicated Waste Zone allow that to happen, with academics, researchers, manufacturers, builders, designers and architects all in one place with one common purpose; to fully realise the benefits of a Circular Economy.”

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