Reinventing the wheel

12th October 2011 Posted by

I was pleased to attend last week the launch of a new report by Green Alliance, the environmental think tank, entitled ‘Reinventing the wheel: a circular economy for resource security’. By sponsoring the creation of this thoughtful and timely report SITA UK helps lift the issues surrounding how we can best facilitate an improvement in resource efficiency.

The report coincided with the European Commission publishing its long awaited Resource Efficiency Road map which sets out in stark terms the challenges Europe faces over its usage of natural resources. The report warns that if we are to deliver a resource efficient Europe then “within a generation our economy will require a fundamental transformation across all sectors and also in producer and consumer behaviours”.

The report picks up on the issues surrounding which particular policy instruments could be developed to stimulate and improve the movement and usage of materials within the ‘circular economy’. Up until now the focus of policy making has concentrated on the end of the value chain with the landfill tax escalator being the best known. This is all well and good and has had the effect of changing behaviour towards recycling and recovery, but if we only concentrate on the end of the chain we will not be able minimise waste or design for higher levels of recycling.

I strongly believe that if we are to achieve a Resource Efficient Society then Policy makers need to begin to use a wider range of economic instruments as a cost effective way of developing the right behaviours in producers and customers alike. We all need to start to recognise the interconnectedness within our economy to the wider natural environment that we exploit for our benefit and ensure that we have the right drivers in place to allow a real transformation in attitude and practice to take place for the benefit of the environment.

Reinventing the wheel report cover

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