Category Archives: Resource stewardship

The single misuse problem: it’s not just about plastic

This post is by Colin Church, chief executive of IOM3 and chair of Green Alliance’s Circular Economy Task Force.

Single use plastic is evil, or so we are repeatedly told in the media. From ‘Blue planet’ to ‘The war on plastic’, much recent discussion has focused on moving away from plastic. I’m not going to argue that plastic stirrers are a good thing, but ‘plastic bad – all other materials good’ is just too simplistic; I want to make the case for a different approach.

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Ecodesign is a huge environmental success story, it should be expanded

At the risk of being uncool, I get very excited about ecodesign. Specifically, I have great enthusiasm for what it, together with energy labelling, has achieved and what it could do in future. It has been one of the most effective policies at improving environmental outcomes, at the same time as benefiting consumers and driving product innovation. It’s the reason why so many of our everyday appliances are so much more effective at what they do than they used to be. By the most conservative of estimates (the ones produced by the UK government), these measures save the average household £100 a year and cut the UK’s emissions by eight million tonnes of CO2 equivalent in a year.

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The government’s aim to eliminate waste is spot on, now we need to see action

“There’s never actually been a more exciting time to be working in resources and waste”,  according to Environment Minister Rebecca Pow, who was speaking at an event we hosted last week. She added: “That’s a strange thing to be saying about waste, but I genuinely think that there are huge opportunities, both for the economy and the environment, that can be harnessed – can be, and need to be – and government is putting in place the policies that we so much need.”

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AD or not AD: what’s the role of biogas in a net zero future?

This post is by Martin Bowman, senior policy and campaigns manager at Feedback.

Anaerobic digestion, or AD, the process of producing ‘biogas’ from organic matter like crops and food wastes, has been presented as the silver bullet to many of the UK’s environmental woes. It promises to do everything from producing green gas for heating and biofuels to providing greener fertiliser for our crops. A recent AD industry conference was boldly titled ‘There’s no net zero without biogas’. The industry is hungry for growth, aiming to build over 100 AD plants per year and, because AD is economically unviable without subsidies, the industry wants the government to pay out millions more to support its ambitions.

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Why would England ditch its recycling targets when waste is such a problem?

Back in March 2018, the government won kudos for reversing its opposition to tough recycling targets included in the EU’s Circular Economy Package. “I want the UK to lead the way in driving global resource efficiency and that’s why, as well as backing the EU’s Circular Economy Package, we have committed to publishing a new resources and waste strategy in 2018,” then Environment Minister Thérèse Coffey said. Read more

Scandinavians call their waste incineration ‘crazy’, so why copy them?

Last week, Policy Connect released a report, supported by the cross party Sustainable Resource Forum, looking at waste management and the shift to net zero. It contains several assumptions worth challenging (not least the opening statement that half of England’s waste isn’t recyclable, which is internally contradicted by the statement that the country can recycle 60 per cent of its waste by 2030). But I’ll concentrate here on its main recommendation: that England “should move towards a Scandinavian style approach to residual waste”. Read more

A circular economy will protect us against future shocks

Mobile phone recycling: data erasure and new OS installationOver the past few months of upheaval, Covid-19 has succinctly highlighted many shortcomings of what used to pass for the ‘normal’ functioning of economy and society. It’s made many rethink what they value and what they expect the state to value, protect and promote. While it remains unclear what changes will stick and what greater changes are coming down the line, it seems inevitable that the pandemic will permanently alter how we live and how the economy functions. Read more

We want to repair our electronic equipment so why is it so hard to do?

gadgetsThis post is by Janet Gunter and Ugo Vallauri, co-founders of the Restart Project.

A new poll by YouGov shows that more people in Britain would like to repair their smartphones (47 per cent), as opposed to those who would rather get a new one (45 per cent). For laptops, a strong majority (58 per cent) would prefer to repair rather than replace. Read more

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