Resource minister Lord de Mauley has expressed Government support for a shift towards a circular economy.
Speaking in a ministerial keynote at Chartered Institution of Wastes Management (CIWM) conference, de Mauley also praised the ESA for having taken a “leadership position” on the topic with the publication of its report ‘Going for Growth’.
The minister said that moving towards a circular economy had to be a collective effort, but emphasised the importance of businesses and local authorities taking action.
“Government can set the [right] conditions by providing policies and the legal framework, but a truly circular economy hinges on everyone playing their part, the resource management industry, local authorities and ordinary people,” he said.
De Mauley added that several actions were needed to move towards a circular economy, including manufacturers designing products for reuse and recycling and councils working in partnership to help re-negotiate contracts.
Overcoming economic constraints
He said that economic constraints at a national and local government level were going to affect the pace of delivery of a circular economy but said that efforts should be made to overcome them as the sector had a huge potential for economic growth if such a shift was made.
“Rome wasn’t built in a day. There is a real opportunity to drive growth and improve the environment in a more circular economy,” he said.
In one example of this challenge, the minister highlighted the need to improve the collection of green waste, in particular food waste, going to compost or anaerobic digestion.
In a Q&A session, de Mauley said that export of materials to China is not inherently a bad thing.
He said: “Sometimes that circular economy is quite a large circle. So it might be right that the recycling goes back to where the goods are made.”