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Waste Prevention: You said...

NIGEL HARVEY: Waste prevention is about:

  • Incorporating product longevity criteria into mandatory standards.
  • Making spare parts readily available and inexpensive.
  • Adopting strategies to avoid early obsolescence.
  • Ensuring that products with rechargeable batteries are replaceable by users.
  • Encouraging the adoption of products where long life, low energy alternatives exist already, such as low-energy LED lamps.
  • Moving away from the fashion-conscious “must have” of the latest tablet, mobile phone, or similar.
  • Making second hand clothes cool to buy and wear.
  • Making better use of organisations such as Freecycle.

Twenty years ago, drink driving was acceptable; today it is not. The perception of unnecessary waste must go the same way. Not an easy task, though.

STELLA JOB: Well said, Nigel. The e-Bay revolution has made second-hand items far more acceptable than 20 years ago, and our children see recycling as a normal part of life, though there is a way to go to get consistency and efficiency in household recycling.

But some aspects of cultural change are not likely to happen. Gadgets change so fast - the appetite for new ones is not going to go away.

Much of it is down to materials, hence Government funding competitions for research in this area, such as Materials Innovation for a Sustainable Economy (; Resource efficiency: new designs for a circular economy (

JANET RAWLINGS: The landfill tax has been a good driver of recycling and waste reduction. It would be good see that continue to rise in line with inflation after 2015.

Site mindset first. Then ban plastic bags, then pay as you throw.
Meditative Dustman, @MeditativeDust

Continued economic and resource scarcity woes will be the best way. Eco design + alt biz models + mobile/network tech 2.
Daniel OConnor, @DanWasteMan


“Overall, I think that Defra and its consultants tend to underestimate the opportunity costs associated with waste prevention measures. Implementing waste prevention often has a positive fi nancial return. But so does investment in productive business activity/output. It is not necessarily irrational for businesses to choose to invest in production rather than waste prevention, but policymakers often seem to miss this point.”

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