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Will we ever square the circle?

29th June 2012 Posted by

I had the pleasure of participating in the Chartered Institute of Waste Management’s annual conference in London recently and was very encouraged by the consensus of opinion about the future direction our industry should take. Everyone agreed that if the UK embraces the circular economy model, this would be the catalyst for behavioural change and would lead to tangible environmental improvements and the efficient use of resources. The real discussion now centres on how we deliver this ideal.

SITA UK's circular economy model

SITA UK’s circular economy model

For the circular economy to become a reality there needs to be a change of emphasis from the short term to the long term.  We need a strategic planning approach that combines the active coordination of stakeholders, with the Government facilitating a more joined up approach. If this could happen, then the right economic conditions to deliver change could be mapped out, and work could begin to deliver these ambitions.

If we truly want to make use of the 29 million tonnes of waste that is still going to landfill each year, we need a plan to optimise the use of our materials and energy.  We also need to move away from our collection-frequency obsession and realise that it is the overarching opportunity to improve the environment that is important.

With the consensus of opinion that already exists, I would urge the Government to seize this moment to galvanise the various groups into action by creating a ‘Resource Council’. This body could deliver a sustainability roadmap, unlocking the green growth that is talked about so much.

Let’s seek cross party support for this approach, as this would enable the circular economy and all its benefits to be the central model, whichever Government is in power.

One comment on "Will we ever square the circle?"

  • Of course, as a consumer, the main problem is when we go shopping, and christmas, well there are never enough collections for the rubbish produced. Isn’t it about time there was legislation about the packaging, it is too much and wasteful. I seem to remember the days when you bought meat, it came wrapped in a bit of paper, now you get the advertising ion the labels with polystyrene cartons. When I buy electrical items they are so overwrapped it is embarrassing.

    Lets hit the consumer industry and go back to basic wrapping, protect washing machines with blankets or something that can be reused, as oppose to polystyrene, lets make all meat bought from the counter and wrap it in a simple film of paper.

    We, as a country, are still not recycling enough, there needs to be legislation and seperation of items, there needs to be a better service from the council to stop people just throwing everything in one bin.

    Love the circular economy to a square theory, exactly what we need.

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