Wales could save £2bn a year in materials costs alone if it adopted a ‘circular economy’.
The claim has come from sustainability charity the Ellen MacArthur Foundation in a report titled ‘Wales and the Circular Economy: Favourable system conditions and economic opportunities’.
The report, commissioned by WRAP Cymru for the Welsh Government and unveiled at WRAP’s Welsh conference, says the circular economy could deliver the £2bn savings in materials, though this would apply through the entire supply chain, including those parts located outside Wales.
It could also bring job creation, a positive economic climate and cost savings throughout industry.
The reported highlighted examples from Welsh businesses already demonstrating circular economy thinking in their work, including textiles firm Courtauld, brewer SA Brain, furniture manufacturer Orangebox and waste electricals specialist Metech.
Finance minister Jane Hutt told the conference at Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium, that EU funds were helping the country to achieve its goal of moving towards zero waste.
“We want to accelerate a circular economy in Wales, in which the valuable materials in waste are not landfilled, but are used productively by Welsh manufacturing companies able to extract maximum value from them,” she said.
“Recycling alone cannot answer the threat to our planet posed by overconsumption. We need to consume less, meaning that the products that we make and buy need to use less resources in their production and use. Moving towards a circular economy can help save businesses money, help secure their raw materials and help create sustainable jobs.”