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Zero waste and circular economy key to growth

Zero waste strategies are key to developing a sustainable and growing UK economy, according to a report which urges politicians to create credible policies in the run up to the general election.

Research from the Aldersgate Group, an alliance of business leaders promoting a sustainable economy, also concludes that developing waste infrastructure is an important catalyst for this.

The report, An Economy That Works (file right), calls on the politicians to fill a “policy vacuum” on sustainable growth, which it says is neglected in current political debates.

It highlights “Zero Waste” and “Low Carbon” as two core characteristics which define a successful economy in a world where resources are depleting.

Recycling, reducing UK dependency on imports and on landfill and using circular production models will benefit the economy, the report concludes. It advocates the introduction of new consumption models which shift from products to services, the increased sharing of products with multiple users, and the development of investment vehicles that reward zero waste business strategies based on reduced reliance on scarce resources.

The report also backs recommendations from the Circular Economy Task Force, an initiative launched by the Green Alliance, which has suggested various government interventions including a study of material insecurity and stricter producer responsibility regimes.

The UK’s energy, transport and resource infrastructure needs urgent investment, the report also states. It suggests making energy efficiency an infrastructure investment priority, and creating an infrastructure plan for energy, waste, housing, transport, water and flood defences.

Aldersgate Group director Oliver Dudok van Heel, who wrote the report, said: “The most recent growth figures are welcome news for the UK economy, but the government needs to ensure that growth is equitable as well as financially and environmentally sustainable. An Economy That Works provides some clear policy guidance to achieve good growth.”

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