The key to unlocking the challenges to waste prevention or minimisation lies in design. Of course, making good use of our resources and recycling or reusing as much as possible, makes economic sense. But even better is an approach where we apply smart thinking and innovative ideas at the design stage.
Most of us understand the logic of using as little resource as possible to make a product, avoiding the creation of waste and keeping that item in circulation for as long as possible. That means finding ways to repair and refurbish to prolong life - and when that is no longer an option, ensure we can easily dismantle the item and recycle its component parts.
If we are to create products that make it easy for us to follow this circular model, getting the right design for durability and repair is critical.
The solutions need not be costly or complex. For example, around 2.5 million washing machines are sold in the UK a year and they account for one of the highest material and production impacts.
Some manufacturers have already been designing-in ways of giving machines a longer life, from using noncorrosive stainless steel, to the use of sensors that detect and prevent major causes of damage and failure.
These are the kind of smart solutions that will help manufacturers manage resources and costs, produce products that consumers can get maximum value from, and ensure that, at the end of life, recycling is the easy option.
Liz Goodwin, WRAP