18 July 2014

Recycling can pay off for UK circular economy

Recycling can pay off for UK circular economyDiscussing the benefits of a UK ‘circular economy,’ WRAP chief executive, Dr Liz Goodwin has predicted that Europe could stand to gain £330 billion of economic growth, together with job creation in the region of 160,000 jobs, if industries committed to using as few resources as possible, and appropriately recycling what is expended.


The suggested approach – which would create a more ‘circular economy’ – could direct UK businesses in cutting waste by up to 20 per cent, and the amount of materials used by more than 10 per cent by 2020.


"Building a more resource efficient circular economy will help us deliver a more sustainable future," said Goodwin. "Understanding the potential for the circular economy is one thing, achieving it is something far more complex and challenging."


"Our challenge and opportunity today is to go one step further, and understand how we can turn ideas behind the circular economy into positive action."


For the UK, a circular economy would mean reducing the materials used in industry by 30 million tonnes (Mt). At present, research by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DECC) shows UK businesses consume 600 million tonnes of materials a year. Around one-third of this ends up as waste, even though much of it could be used productively with benefits of up to £18 billion.


One example of beneficial re-use, and part of Merritt Plastics’ remit, is the practice of recycling UPVC products to extrude new, needed materials


It’s one way of helping to meet the four areas, pinpointed by WRAP that will help meet the Circular Economy 2020 Vision; by designing waste out goods, reducing waste in manufacture and commerce, reducing the amount of working products thrown away and increasing the proportion of some products which are leased.