Just three years since it was conceived, the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) is celebrating its anniversary with the launch of its second business plan. The plan, which effectively heralds the organisations second term, will guarantee WRAPs continuing influence on the UKs waste and recycling activities until 2006.
The very existence of WRAPs second business plan goes some way to show the advances that this once small but rapidly growing enterprise has made on UK recycling activities. Although the organisation will not release its official review of activities undertaken during the first three years of operation until July, it already claims to have delivered around 4 million tonnes a year of new recycling capacity across both the municipal and commercial waste streams.
This, said WRAP chairman Vic Cocker, was achieved along with the development of new industry standards (for example, PAS 100 for composted materials) and the creation of new outlets across the whole range of knowledge from universities to business.
WRAP had no guarantee of life beyond those first three years, Cocker said, but weve learnt a lot in that time and that is reflected in this new business plan. Importantly, he said, WRAP had developed into an organisation that was able to influence markets and fulfil a role for government without actually being a government department.
Now confident of its own existence, this second business plan is ambitious both for WRAP and the markets within which it works. The plan has been developed to deliver an additional 4.25m tonnes of recycling capacity by 2006 which, said WRAP chief executive Jennie Price, would account for 15% of the 2015 target.
The new programme would maintain an element of market creation but greater emphasis has this time been placed on resource efficiency, waste minimisation, behavioural change and market evaluation and development.
The mission, Price said, was to create stable and efficient markets, and remove barriers to waste minimisation. The programme plans to harness market forces, focusing on higher-value activities and providing tailored recycling and waste minimisation solutions for specific market sectors. She also explained that emphasis would be placed on materials that could provide large tonnages, including organics, aggregates and paper, which will provide big wins, but not at the expense of other materials.
In the first three years we have done a lot of the obvious things, we are now trying to find new technologies, she said. This would require a number of approaches, including supporting waste industries and local authorities, looking abroad for innovative but appropriate solutions, influencing wider behavioural changes, and taking a new consumer-based approach.
Unlike the first plan, which was firmly focused on the creation of new markets, this latest vision aims to take these markets one step further, growing the recycling industry and stimulating innovation. There was indeed much talk of progressing some of the innovative projects developed during the past three years and helping them become viable businesses.
Waste minimisation also features strongly in the new WRAP plan. The organisations resource efficiency mission not only includes the better use of recyclates but also aims to minimise household waste by encouraging home composting, promoting product reuse schemes and working with the retail sector to address waste generated by supermarket products.
Ray Georgeson, WRAP director of policy and evaluation (pictured), said: Somehow we have to slowdown or stop the rising tide of municipal waste. Stopping the increase is a real challenge. He said that home composting would provide a very real means of achieving this but that simply distributing home composters would not achieve the desired result. We cant just distribute home composters. We have to make sure that people use the composters and stay enthused.
Georgeson also reaffir