The critical role that resource productivity and efficiency can play in supporting both the environment and the economy has been brought to the attention of the UK government’s new Secretary of State for the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra), Michael Gove, in a letter from the Chartered Institution of Wastes Management (CIWM).
In addition to highlighting particular issues including waste crime, the letter sets out the need for a clear and stable policy framework for the resource and waste management sector so that it can make a strong and stable contribution to supporting clean and sustainable growth.
The letter states:
“Sound economic growth is not just about labour productivity; the availability and efficient use of resources – raw materials, water, energy, land use – will also be critical to UK industrial competitiveness and resilience and needs to be a cross cutting priority for Government.
“Growing competition for resources is having an impact on UK businesses, with 29% of profit warnings issued by FTSE350 companies in 2011 attributed to rising resource prices. More recent developments, such as increased price volatility in some commodity markets, reinforce and continue this concern.
“Recycled and recovered materials, especially when processed within the UK, can help provide a buffer to this. In addition, greater resource efficiency and better use of secondary resources derived from waste can support local economic development and, according to some estimates, lead to tens of thousands of net new jobs.
“At the same time, the improper handling of materials at the end of their life is leading to growing pollution problems and health risks in the UK and globally. As an example, the average European shellfish eater now consumes up to 11,000 microparticles (and retains about 1%) of plastic each year because of the pollution of our seas and oceans.
“The resource and waste management sector has a big role to play in addressing these issues. It is a dynamic sector that provides over 100,000 jobs and almost £7bn Gross Value Added to the economy. However, it faces the dual challenges of waste crime and an uncertain policy context.”
The full CIWM letter can be found HERE
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