Resource efficiency could be worth an extra £3bn to UK businesses by 2020

Abfallcontainer (Foto: Kroll/Recyclingportal)

London, UK — By 2014 the Environment Agency had launched 11 new End of Waste Quality Criteria that, by 2020, could help businesses save £139m a year through reduced waste management costs and generate a further £355m a year through the sale of ‘new’ resource that would otherwise have needed to be disposed of. In total, between 2014/15 and 2020/21, these changes are projected to be worth £3.58bn to businesses.

According to just released Defra brochure on „Resource management: a catalyst for growth and productivity“, it is estimated that the core waste sector generated £6.8bn in gross value added (GVA) and supported 103,000 jobs in 2013. Broadening the definition to include repair, re-use and leasing activity that help extend the life of products, the contribution to the economy could be much greater. Data for 2013 suggests it could have been as high as £41bn to approximate GVA (aGVA) and 672,000 jobs, with £18.9bn of this being generated in the automotive sector, but it is difficult to determine exactly how much of this directly relates to activity that extends the life of products and reduces waste.

Over the past decade the value extracted from managing UK waste resource has increased significantly. The GVA/tonne of waste managed by the sector has risen from £32 in 2004 to £43 in 2012 (after adjusting for inflation), representing a 33 per cent increase in real terms over the 8 year period. There has been a significant reduction in waste arisings and relatively stable GVA over the period.

As David Palmer-Jones, Chairman of Environmental Services Association, prognosticated in 2013, „a circular economy, where the UK increasingly re-uses and recycles the resources it already has, could help generate 50,000 new jobs with £10bn investment, boosting GDP by £3bn.“

Next steps will be:

  • The sector already makes a significant contribution to the economy and is finding new
    ways to extract greater value from waste;
  • The wider economy is becoming increasingly resource efficient; and,
  • Significant opportunities remain for businesses and the wider economy as we transition
    to a more circular economy.

The report on „Resource management: a catalyst for growth and productivity“ can be downloaded under

Source: Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs