This blog was first posted on EurActiv.
Plastics have brought huge benefits to our society. But with those benefits come environmental problems. Too often, plastic ends up as waste, as marine litter polluting the oceans, or as litter on our beaches.
Lightweight, durable, and low cost plastics have transformed the products we make and consume, becoming ubiquitous through their convenience and adaptability.
This post is by Dr Colin Church, CEO of CIWM, the leading institution for resources and waste management, and the new chair of the Circular Economy Task Force.
I am delighted to become the chair of the Circular Economy Task Force at such a critical moment for resources policy. 2017 has much for us to get our teeth into. The task force’s next phase of work will have two important strands: the implications of Brexit for the resource sector and the importance of resource productivity for the UK’s industrial strategy. As I recently blogged on the former for CIWM, I will focus on resource productivity here. Read more
This post first appeared on BusinessGreen.
As Theresa May’s foreword to the industrial strategy shows, the government has a lot riding on this policy. The prime minister variously talks it up as the answer to the UK’s productivity problem, the means of rebalancing the economy away from financial services, and a source of employment in those parts of the country that have lost successful industries. Delivering all these objectives will require multiple approaches, as no single intervention can achieve everything.
Theresa May recently launched the centrepiece of her domestic agenda: the UK’s industrial strategy. After six months of commentary on the parallels between the phenomena that led to the Brexit vote and US election result, it is useful to reflect on the differences that are starting to emerge. A quick read of the green paper appears to show that May is charting a very different course on industrial strategy from the one now being advocated on the other side of the Atlantic. Significant differences are the approach to resource productivity and the attitude to growing low carbon markets. Read more
It is now just over a year since the European Commission published its Circular Economy Action Plan, with the bold aim of abandoning the old make-use-dispose economy in favour of ‘closing the loop’ and keeping resources in circulation. To mark this milestone, the Commission has just published its first annual report, reviewing its progress in implementing the plan.
The problem of glittery Christmas waste unexpectedly made the front page of the Daily Mail last week. The story rightly highlighted the confusion and frustration people feel trying to work out what they can recycle, compounded by the fact that different local authorities have different recycling policies. Read more
Back in 2007, Green Alliance examined the challenges and opportunities for the more sustainable use of nutrients, chiefly nitrogen and phosphorus, in the UK. It recommended a suite of policy principles to make a more circular system a reality.
Little has happened since in the UK. But last month I was asked to present Green Alliance’s policy principles to a conference of Nordic countries in Malmo, and to discuss how to take the agenda forward. I discovered that the ideas remain relevant and useful. Read more
This post first appeared on BusinessGreen.
The government’s hasty commitment to shield the automotive industry from the worst effects of Brexit demonstrates two things: the political importance of the car industry and the challenge that the industry faces in a post-Brexit UK. Tariff-free access to the single market is important for complex manufacturing, but it won’t make British industry any more competitive on its own. So what else can the government do? One thing would be to scale up a proven strategy and work with businesses to increase resource productivity.
The EU’s Circular Economy Action Plan committed to use the Ecodesign Directive to make the products we use more readily recyclable, repairable and reusable. The European Commission yesterday announced their new ecodesign priorities, but will they give us better products? Read more
Toasters have been in the news again this week, with more controversy, and more delays to the long awaited ecodesign working plan from the European Commission.
The plan will cover the next group of energy related products to be given an innovation boost through ecodesign policies, which drive up energy efficiency standards, rewards market leaders and takes inefficient products off the market. Ecodesign has been one of the EU’s most successful policies: it is already saving each European household €330 per year, and will deliver 40 per cent of the EU’s 2020 energy savings target. Read more