A Government report has highlighted ways that businesses can increase resource efficiency while tapping into lucrative business opportunities across the product supply chain.
The Department of Business, Innovation and Skills and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs have jointly published Less is More: Business Opportunities in Waste and Resource Management, part of the Governments New Industry, New Jobs report.
It states there is a huge need for producers to extend product life to reduce resource use. For example, IBM is designing its PCs so that the outer casing can be used with upgraded components. And printer manufacturer Kyocera is coating its Ecosys laser printer drums with silicon rather than plastic so it lasts for 300,000 pages rather than the standard 5,000 to 20,000 pages.
Businesses should also introduce product service systems, where firms provide repairs or rentals on products rather than just selling new products. This is already in place in sectors such as commercial vehicles, office IT, household washing machines and power tool hire.
Defra secretary Hilary Benn said: What is good for the environment can be good for business. There are real opportunities for British companies to lead the way in innovative product design and supply systems. We need to be smarter about reusing and recycling waste, getting the full value from our resources rather than simply dumping it in landfill.
Food waste, paper and board, glass and plastics have all been highlighted as sectors which have gaps in the supply chain when it comes to collecting and reprocessing. In particular, the report highlights the great potential for growth in the mixed plastics and plastic film reprocessing industries, which are currently not well developed in the UK.
The report also calls for more innovative waste collection systems, such as those that incentivise waste reduction. There is also a lot of room for business development to help increase commercial waste collection and recycling from small companies, which are currently struggling to afford trade waste recycling services.