Category Archives: Circular economy

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.”

Read more

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

The secret life of stuff remains a secret to most of us

Electronic circuit board close up.It is nearly ten years since my book The secret life of stuff was published. Those ten years have seen some big changes to the planetary agenda, and the book might have had an even warmer reception had it been published now. But there are aspects of what I was trying to illuminate a decade ago that are strangely still under the radar. Read more

Setting the record straight: our view on plastic packaging

Fruit DisplayLast week, on behalf of the Circular Economy Task Force, we published an insight into what the grocery sector is really doing about plastic. The report, Plastic promises, has generated considerable amounts of attention and debate, which is gratifying to see. It is especially heartening that it seems to have (finally) got people talking in earnest about why we need to address more than just plastic use and waste if we want a sustainable packaging system. Read more

Why we need more than plastic promises

intext-plasticThe post was first published on Business Green.

In December 2017, Blue Planet II shocked the world with disturbing images of plastic pollution: albatrosses feeding their chicks plastic bags, plankton mistaking microplastic for food and young dolphins potentially killed by plastic toxins. In the intervening two years, plastic has rarely left the headlines. Read more

We know throwaway culture is bad – so why is the market for bottled water growing?

bottled water small.pngThis blog was first posted on Business Green. 

We all want to do the right thing when it comes to avoiding unnecessary packaging, but when different materials have different impacts, it can be hard to choose what sort of container has the best environmental credentials. This can be as true for retailers and producers – the people putting material on the shelf – as it is for the consumer choosing what to buy. Which are better, for instance, lightweight plastic bottles that damage the marine environment when mismanaged or high carbon but highly recyclable glass bottles? What about relatively low carbon cartons that are difficult to recycle, compared to aluminium cans that create toxic waste in production but can then be recycled over and over again? Read more

« Older Entries