A report co-authored by chief scientific adviser at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) says that waste is a problem that is increasing in scale and scope as it sets out recommendations for Government.
The recommendations include a review of innovative circular economy practice throughout the economy; a waste and resource strategy to increase the economic performance of the UK; and establishing a “Data with a Purpose Initiative” to drive market behaviour.
The report, “From waste to resource productivity”, comes from the former Government Chief Scientific Adviser (GCSA), Sir Mark Walport, and is co-authored by Professor Ian Boyd, the Chief Scientific Adviser at Defra. It explores how we can treat waste as a valuable resource and use new technology and approaches to get the most from it in the UK.
“Waste nationally and globally is increasingly problematic and challenging to policymakers. It is a problem that is increasing in scale and scope.”
The report brings together evidence on waste from a range of industry, academic and government sources.
The report states: “Waste nationally and globally is increasingly problematic and challenging to policymakers. It is a problem that is increasing in scale and scope. It matters to all of us for a series of reasons:
- There is simply so much waste. In a countrywith a small land area and a large population,the sheer bulk of waste is in and of itself a problem.
- As humans congregate in cities aroundthe world, the production of waste has become highly concentrated and that creates particular challenges for its collection and disposal.
- Much waste is harmful. The scale of that harmhas become global. It harms both humans and the other species with which we share the That harm comes in many forms.
- Most importantly, there are big opportunitiesfor the UK to become a more prosperous and secure society by generating value from: material that is prevented from entering waste pathways in the first place; and material
- that is extracted from waste pathways.
- We need to change from a mindset of managing waste to one of increasing resource productivity. Based on the ideas in this report, we set out 13 specific Areas to Explore. These are designed to provide strategic direction; enhance our understanding of the issues, risks and opportunities; and encourage action on the ground to make the UK a more resource productive society.”
The report also sets out activities that could improve resource performance in areas including business, environmental risk, building and construction and food and agriculture. It also says strong leadership on resource productivity could be achieved by Government on an international level.
The Environmental Services Association (ESA) commented on the report, saying that while not itself a statement of government policy, it welcomes this “long-awaited report as an important ingredient in the formulation of Defra’s resources and waste strategy due out in 2018”.
ESA’s Chairman Dr Stewart Davies said: “This report is timely, following on from publication of the Government’s Industrial Strategy at the end of last month, and sends a consistent message about the need to improve UK resource productivity.
ESA – “It provides another important building block as we move towards development of Defra’s resources and waste strategy next year.”
“It provides another important building block as we move towards development of Defra’s resources and waste strategy next year.
“The Chief Scientific Advisers have rightly identified that leadership and direction from government is an essential ingredient in improving resource productivity at all levels – through a new strategy, better data, promoting innovation, and facilitating a more equitable distribution of responsibilities along supply chains.
“Equally, the report identifies important actions for businesses, including some key sectors, as well as for citizens, cities and local government.
“As I have said previously, industry-government collaboration will be key in making progress on this agenda. We need now to convene business sectors across supply-chains, along with relevant government departments, in a resource productivity forum, to ensure the insights in this report are thoroughly discussed to inform the approach to the Government’s resources and waste strategy.”