From ‘throw away’ to the green way!

23rd April 2012 Posted by

It’s now widely accepted that a sustainable future is only achievable if we change our ways from a ‘throw away’ culture to one which recognises and extracts the value from the resources we consume.

When I look at the waste management industry, I see only the enormous potential it has to help the UK, particularly in terms of renewable energy.

Properly utilising secondary raw materials in place of virgin materials will create significant employment opportunities as well as reducing our overall environmental impact. Millions more tonnes of secondary raw materials could be extracted and a significant percentage of the UK’s electricity could be produced from waste as a result.

However, to truly unlock this potential we need to create the right conditions by partnering with Government and the general public to create a real green strategy and delivery plan.

SITA UK's report: Driving green growth

The Government needs to show strength of leadership by creating the right market conditions and incentives to stimulate the significant £25 billion investment needed to realise the development of this new waste treatment infrastructure.

Considering the amount of manufacturing that now takes place abroad and is fed by our materials, economic planners in Government also need to be alert to the risk and opportunity that the internal market in the Far East develops. Fuelled by their own consumerism, there will come a time when the increasing recyclables supply from the UK and Europe cannot be satisfied by Asian demand. A new reprocessing business needs to be created in the UK to avoid this threat.

Members of the public need to play their part too. Education remains key as we strive towards a broader acceptance of the need to site new facilities in the urban environment, but also in appreciating the opportunities to share in the economic prosperity or employment opportunities these facilities bring to local areas.

The waste management industry is ready to invest in these facilities to answer the demands of its customers which will stimulate economic growth, employment and lead to a more sustainable future. All it needs is recognition of its potential and a helping hand.

SITA UK’s latest report, ‘Driving green growth: The role of the waste management industry and the circular economy’, shows the potential for the waste management industry to meet some of the UK’s most challenging goals on jobs, growth and green energy. You can view the report here.

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