September 2016

A Resourceful Future – Expanding the UK Economy

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Posted in | by Adam Baddeley, Thomas Vergunst

This report, launched at the RWM exhibition on Tuesday 13th September, was commissioned by Suez and shows that more than £9 billion could be added to the UK economy by integrating circular economy principles into the country’s emerging industrial strategy.

It is the first comprehensive assessment of the long-term direction of travel for the recycling and waste management industry, following the EU membership referendum earlier this year. In particular, the report proposes a series of policy measures aimed at the newly-formed Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) as it considers how to reinvigorate the UK’s industrial fortunes.

An uplift of £9bn to the UK’s economy by 2030 could be realised if the Government adopts an ambitious path of policy and legislative measures aimed at integrating resource conservation into its industrial strategy – which in turn would underpin significant investment in recycling and re-use activities, as well as generate improved profits for companies cutting down on their raw material usage.

A Resourceful Future calls on BEIS to encourage greater use of secondary raw materials in products manufactured in the UK, thereby stimulating a domestic recycling and reprocessing industry focussed on delivering quality secondary materials to UK-based manufacturers – helping to re-shore a significant percentage of the 14 million tonnes the UK exports each year, which in turn could generate around £650 million each year for the economy.

Value to the economy is measured by GVA (Gross Value Added), as calculated by the production of goods and services, together with the wealth created by the profits they generate; payments made to employees from those businesses; and all related taxes that flow back to Treasury.

The report focuses on the importance of creating a coherent strategy and policies to allow for the greater recycling, re-use and repair of primary materials used, in particular, within the textiles, furniture, and electrical and electronic equipment sectors. The greatest level of economic uplift would arise from a positive transition towards a 70% recycling level achieved across the UK by 2030, which in turn would also result in significant reductions in UK carbon emissions, falls of up to four million tonnes in green-house gas emissions per year – 27 million tonnes by 2030 – equivalent to 3.4% of the UK’s 1990 emissions.

It also calls on BEIS to work with Treasury and Defra to bring about a system of incentives and taxation to stimulate industrial behavioural change towards the use and reuse of materials, including:

  • Legislation on extended warranties – obligating manufacturers to offer longer term warranties and thereby influencing the durability or repairability of goods
  • Obligations on public procurement to include percentages of reused or recycled materials in specific goods supplied to public sector organisations
  • Enhanced producer responsibility where producers of a wider range of goods are obliged to pay the cost of recovering and recycling products and product packaging
  • Differentiation on tax regimes e.g. VAT for recycled materials v primary, with more flexibility on tax differentiation if the UK leaves the EU
  • R&D tax breaks for novel processing techniques

This report is available free of charge. Press the orange button and supply a few details about yourself in order to access the download.

 

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