Category Archives: Resource stewardship

Why Michael Gove should be worried about the UK’s recycling crisis

plastic-bottles-115082_1280Freedom’s Sentinel, Operation Red Dragon, Liberty Shield, National Sword and Green Quest. They all sound like the names given to military interventions of recent years. And, in fact, they all are, apart from one, which is a Chinese government programme aiming to improve the quality of recycling. And, no, it’s not Green Quest (a short lived American operation investigating terrorist financing sources). Rather, the programme seeking to prevent imports of poor quality recyclates is National Sword, a surprisingly aggressive title for such an environmentally beneficial endeavour.

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Let’s use the digital revolution for resource efficiency to raise UK productivity

blue geometric  shape abstract technology backgroundThis post is by Angela Francis, chief economist at Green Alliance, and Caterina Brandmayr, policy analyst at Green Alliance.

UK productivity hasn’t grown for nine years. Investment in digitalisation, also known as the fourth industrial revolution, is one way to kickstart the economy and end economic stagnation. Read more

Let’s not be losers when it comes to resources

Backstreet BritainThis article was originally published on Business Green.

It’s been more than six months since the prime minister triggered Article 50, what’s commonly referred to as “the starting gun” for our departure from the EU. If you imagine Brexit as a race, then, that means that we’re over a quarter of the way through the process that will, in theory, conclude on 30 March 2019 at the latest. At that time, EU treaties – all 750+ of them – and the various laws and regulations that have accumulated over the past 40 odd years – including more than 1,100 pieces of environmental law – will cease to apply here.

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Will we get an industrial strategy for the 2050s or the 1950s?

conveyer beltIn 2014, Dunlop Systems and Components relocated from a leaky old factory in Holbrook to a highly efficient new factory in 2014.  At the same time the company fundamentally redesigned the high pressure steam processes used in making its air suspension components, saving the business 67 per cent on energy and 38 per cent on water use.  This strategic approach to resource efficiency turned around a failing company to become a thriving domestic and export business providing high quality jobs in Coventry.

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Why a circular economy is good for jobs and growth

equipment for Metalworking production blurred imageThis post is by Marcus Gover, chief executive of WRAP, a longstanding member of Green Alliance’s Circular Economy Task Force, which works with leading businesses to develop practical ways to make the circular economy happen.

I often find myself explaining to people what the circular economy is not. People commonly think that it’s another way of talking about recycling, that it’s the latest passing corporate fad, or that it’s only relevant to the waste and resources sector. None of these things are true.

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What Dieter Helm’s review and the industrial strategy might miss

2143563816_27d654bf2b_b.jpgNot all of the ten ‘pillars’ of the industrial strategy green paper will make it into the white paper expected by the end of this year.  Civil servants working on the final strategy say the innovation, skills, place, business and infrastructure pillars are the ones likely to remain and the content of the affordable energy and clean growth pillar will be embedded across the strategy.   If that can be done well it will better than having a standalone chapter, but if it is done badly, it will be a disaster for the UK’s low carbon transition.

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Five simple solutions to Michael Gove’s plastic problem

8598451066_9623d447a0_bThe scale of plastic pollution plaguing our oceans is alarming. Eight million tonnes of the stuff is being lost to the sea each year. At least 136 species of marine life are affected by plastic entanglement, and many more still – at least 250 species – ingest plastic pieces that can be a million times more toxic than the water around them. We are one of those species, with European shellfish consumers ingesting around 11,000 bits of microplastic every year. Read more

How plastic bags helped us grasp the bigger picture

7791437584_617626e707_kThis post is by Dr Colin Church, CEO of CIWM, the leading institution for resources and waste management, and the chair of the Circular Economy Task Force.

In the resource management sector, when a group of ‘strategic colleagues’ meets up, one of the conversations I’ve often heard around the table is a lament as to why politicians and the media are so focused on carrier bags, or plastic bottles, or coffee cups, or any other single product or waste stream in the news that day. They argue that this is deflecting attention from the holistic and more important bigger picture around resource productivity and the circular economy. Given that several of these specific issues featured in Michael Gove’s first keynote speech on the environment recently, I imagine this conversation is live once more. Read more

Three simple ways European product design can help eliminate poverty abroad

5241715320_e3246875fb_bThis post is by Richard Gower, senior associate for economics and policy at Tearfund. This post first appeared on Tearfund’s policy blog.

In poor nations, millions of people already make their living from ‘circular’ trades such as repair and recycling. The way we design our products in the EU – the toxic chemicals we permit and the ease of repair that we require – has a strong influence over their livelihoods. But these impacts are not currently considered as part of the process for setting design standards.

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