U.K. shifts focus to closed-loop economy

UK businesses will face increasing pressure to use natural resources more efficiently as a way of stimulating economic growth, as part of new a strategy being developed by UK government-backed waste body, WRAP.

Liz Goodwin, chief executive of WRAP (Waste and Resources Action Programme), set out plans to place a greater emphasis on the financial benefits of creating a "closed loop" economy, in which products are designed and manufactured so that materials can be re-used.

Research by consultancy McKinsey launched earlier this year found that European manufacturers could save $630 billion a year by 2025 if they moved towards greater resource efficiency and reduced their reliance on increasingly rare and costly raw materials.

Separate research from Defra has found that businesses could save more than £18 billion (US$28.8 billion) a year by adopting no-cost or low-cost measures to enhance their resource efficiency.

While WRAP has been a long-time supporter of "closing the loop" with regards to materials, Goodwin today signalled that the organization's annual conference would mark a shift in its approach whereby it will become even more "acutely aware" of the economic case for reducing waste and enhancing resource efficiency.

Speaking exclusively to BusinessGreen on the eve of the conference, she explained that resource efficiency could become more widely recognised as a means of driving much-needed economic growth.

"A lot of businesses don't see the full cost of not being resource efficient and they're very busy trying to keep their head above water," she said. "It's a battle, but we need to find the right messages to demonstrate the way things can be done differently."

Image of recycling bins provided by sunsetman via Shutterstock.

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