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Rewarding awards

What a night we had. At least, that’s what those I spoke to at the National Recycling Awards on Thursday night were saying and I’ve had some very positive emails since.

I realise I’m probably not the best person to judge how the awards evening went because my own contribution is part of the proceedings but the EMAP team who put it together for MRW did a grand job.

The editor’s speech is traditionally an occasion to reflect on an eventful year in which the waste sector has continued to out-perform the rest of the economy but without getting the credit that that deserves.

For me, the key moment was the ‘Rogerson letter’ in which the newly appointed resource minister wrote to ‘stakeholders’ late last year telling us Defra was ‘stepping back’ from new policy work.

As the dust settles, I now think that Rogerson’s message is part of a growing recognition that waste producers can and should do much more themselves – but with your help. The concept of the Circular Economy is a challenging one to get across – not least the name – but there has been greater momentum and awareness around it in the past 12 months.

Such themes were considered as we planned for the transformation of MRW to a bigger, fortnightly format in May. Much of our coverage is now tagged ‘The Bottom Line’ – which is arguably a day-to-day manifestation of the circular economy. MRW will continue to focus on both the bottom line and the innovative ways the sector come up with to address it.

This wider picture was also something we sought to reflect more of in the categories in this year’s NRAs awards and we placed greater emphasis on the waste hierarchy and waste reduction in particular. Judging from the record number of entries – 30% up on last year and double those of 2012 - that change has struck a chord. We’ll be reporting on the best of this best practice in our coming issues.

There’ll be a full roll call of the winners in our 19 July issue and the full list is at www.nationalrecyclingawards.com

Much of the current issue of MRW is devoted to the good work going on in Wales. I was fortunate enough to be guided through the Valleys by Wrap Cymru and I also caught up with other authorities, including the Natural Resources minister Alun Davies, during my two-day visit.

It’s clear there is a keen pride in the shared enterprise between the Welsh government, local authorities and the private sector that puts resource efficiency at the heart of their work.

Planning for the 2015 NRAs starts immediately.

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