A council of representatives from organisations operating across the economic value chain – from design through to waste management and major users of secondary materials – has been formed to help the UK transition towards a more resource-efficient economy.
Coordinated by the Environmental Services Association (ESA), the newly-formed UK Resources Council seeks to negotiate a sector deal with the UK Government, within the next 12 months, to help British industry make the most of the country’s waste material, by ensuring that materials and resource management systems are designed with high value recovery and industrial users in mind.
In addition to acting as a general advisory, the council has created four technical work groups, drawing on a wealth of specific expertise from council members and experts from other external organisations.
Each of the work groups will concentrate on one of four themes – People, Places, Data and Infrastructure – and will contribute to the sector deal put before Government towards the end of 2019.
The Places work group will consider issues related to regional development plans, availability of resources, availability of workforce, local infrastructure and other spatial considerations, whereas the People work group will consider themes related to education and training, innovation, accreditation, research and academia, among other areas.
The Data work group will review issues related to tracking material flows through the economy, while the Infrastructure group will consider the infrastructure necessary to support and deliver an effective system – such as resource collection, processing, treatment and re-processing facilities.
The UK Resources Council is chaired by David Palmer-Jones, CEO of SUEZ recycling and recovery UK.
David Palmer-Jones – “This council has been established to create a plan which will help the UK transition from viewing waste as a burden to be managed, to recognising that waste materials could become high-value material flowing around a circular economy, with the right infrastructure, innovations, skills and economic drivers.”
David Palmer-Jones said: “The UK generates millions of tonnes of waste every year and, although this is well managed by the recycling and waste sector, we are not currently making the most of this potentially high-value commodity in our domestic industrial base.
“This council has been established to create a plan which will help the UK transition from viewing waste as a burden to be managed, to recognising that waste materials could become high-value material flowing around a circular economy, with the right infrastructure, innovations, skills and economic drivers. This is not just the secondary materials we currently collect, like plastic, metals and glass, but also chemicals, organics and a plethora of new or emerging materials.
“The membership of the UK Resources Council draws upon expertise from a range of sectors and involves major organisations with the ability to deliver on the commitments we intend to make in the sector deal. However, we will be consulting and engaging widely with other organisations involved in, or closely aligned to, the sector to ensure that the deal we put before Government doesn’t miss any opportunity.”
ESA Chief Executive Officer, Jacob Hayler said: “The UK has made great strides in moving waste out of landfill over the past 20 years and the Government’s recently published Resources & Waste Strategy will help to boost our recycling rates even more.
“But we need to start thinking now about going beyond recycling and bringing forward the innovative new technologies of the future to transform our wastes into high value raw materials for our strategic industries, such as chemicals and advanced manufacturing. Realising our ambition of a truly resource efficient UK will require a broad coalition of businesses and stakeholders from across UK industries to develop proposals which we can take forward together to form the basis of a Sector Deal with the Government. The new UK Resources Council will look to make this a reality in 2019.”