The Government must use Brexit to make the UK a world leader in resource efficiency, according to a new report out today.
The report by the Aldersgate Group, which is an alliance of business and political leaders, claims using resources more efficiently could boost the British economy by £76bn by 2030, whilst also improving resource security at the same time.
Entitled No Time To Waste, the report calls on ministers to support an effective regulatory regime for resources and waste through adequate funding for local authorities who can apply pragmatic regulations and tackle waste crime.
It also calls on the Government to create standards to mandate greater resource efficiency in the manufacturing of products, ensuring that these are at least as stringent as those developed in the EU.
It adds using resources more efficientlycan save businesses money, reduce reliance upon finite materials, provide insulation from materials’ price volatility, protect the natural environment from harm by the processes of material extraction and waste disposal and reduce the UK’s carbon emissions.
And to secure these benefits, the Government’s Resources and Waste Strategy must provide a coherent policy framework that moves beyond the take-make-dispose model of waste management and recognises the need for integrated regulations, product standards and technical and financial support to drive business innovation in developing new relationships, products and processes.
‘Resource efficient business models are proven to generate significant financial, material, natural resource and greenhouse gas savings, all of which are essential to deliver the government’s goals in the Industrial Strategy, 25 Year Environment Plan and Clean Growth Strategy,’ said lead report author, Victoria Fleming-Williams.
‘It’s high time for resource efficiency to cease to be an overlooked area of policy and for government to use the public procurement, regulatory and fiscal levers at its disposal to make the UK economy a world-leading resource efficient economy.’
SUEZ Recycling & Recovery UK’s external affairs director, Dr Adam Read, added: ‘There is so much work to be done to overhaul the UK’s approach to resource management, but the prize will be to spur new levels of productivity and economic competitiveness.
‘SUEZ warmly welcomes the Aldersgate Group policy paper which sets out many of the priority areas that must be tackled. Our own recent report similarly emphasises the need to consider resource management at product design stage, whilst a number of policy interventions and measures are needed to more effectively tackle the complexity of our waste streams.
‘We firmly believe that a combination of Extended Producer Responsibility, better data, new non-weight metrics and better labelling will allow consumers and the value chain to identify, extract, harvest and reuse materials more easily. We look forward to working closely with the government and the Aldersgate Group on this vital agenda in the coming months.’