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ESA: Better design could boost UK recycling

United Kingdom – An extra 140 million tonnes of waste could be recycled in the UK if all products were consciously designed to maximise end-of-life recovery of components and commodities, according to a new report from waste and industry body Environmental Services Association (ESA).

The ‘Going for Growth’ document underlines that if products and their packaging could be reused, dismantled and recycled more easily, the waste and recovery sector could help generate a further £1.4 billion (US$ 2.2 billion) for the UK economy in extra recyclate revenues.

‘80% of the environmental impact of a product is determined at design stage,’ states ESA’s chairman David Palmer-Jones. ‘By helping manufacturers ”design for recovery”, the waste and resources sector can make a significant contribution to the creation of a zero-waste circular economy.’

In a circular economy, materials are reclaimed and reused or recycled as secondary raw materials, or are converted into soil nutrients such as compost and fertiliser, with any residual waste used to generate energy.

According to the ESA report, the creation of a circular economy in the UK could generate 50 000 jobs. ‘Going for Growth’ examines in detail the contribution the waste and resource industry can make to a circular economy and offers 10 recommendations for policy-makers and other stakeholders.

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