The incoming CIWM president for 2023 Dan Cooke is calling for the UK to celebrate its “world-class” recycling and resource management sector.
Following yesterday’s CIWM (Chartered Institution of Wastes Management) Presidential inauguration, CIWM launched Cook’s presidential report “This Is What We Do: Showcasing A World-Class Sector & The UK’s Circular Economy Pathfinders” which celebrates the UK’s recycling and resource recovery sector and highlights its contribution to the UK economy.
CIWM says the waste and resources sector plays a “vital role” in the UK economy, employing over 100,000 people and servicing nearly every home and business. The industry, working with governments and local authority partners, has continued to increase recycling rates, with the UK now standing at 44% overall. The top recycling areas in the UK are now:
- Wales – Pembrokeshire (74.3%)
- England – Three Rivers District Council in (63.5%)
- Northern Ireland – Antrim & Newtonabbey (60.2%)
- Scotland – East Renfrewshire (58.1%)
All the above exceed the UK’s target of 55% by 2025. Even waste that cannot currently be recycled is generating enough energy from waste-derived fuels to power c. 1.5m homes.
Since 1990 the sector has taken great strides largely through the reduction in landfill via investment in recycling and resource recovery infrastructure, which has reduced greenhouse gas emissions from waste by 46%.
CIWM says its members continue to actively engage in incentivising waste reduction and deploying “innovative” services and technologies to accelerate the move towards a more circular economy, including utilising AI and robotics to improve productivity and reduce health and safety risks at recycling facilities.
CIWM says the sector is committing to invest a further £15 billion over the coming decades in recycling and resource recovery facilities, such as Viridor’s plastics recycling facility in Avonmouth, to help deliver a closed-loop economy.
CIWM also says the sector is “at the heart” of British culture. It cites that Veolia plays a key role in keeping the streets of Westminster safe and clean during events such as the recent King’s coronation. As well as events, CIWM says the waste and resources industry is delivering “tangible” social value through its activities – from re-use shops to charity partnerships and more.
Recent research found that, over the last 18 months, for every £1 spent on delivering services to Suffolk County Council the contractor, FCC, was generating £0.60 in social value.
Dan Cooke, incoming CIWM President for 2023, commented: “Each year the president of CIWM has the privilege of producing a report on an aspect of the crucial work delivered by the waste and resources sector.
This is a chance to shine some light on the outstanding services and resource management leadership we have here in the UK.
“This year, which marks the 125th year of the CIWM, we’ve chosen to showcase the genuinely world-class services, facilities, contracts, and people we have within the sector in the UK – increasing resource efficiency and quietly delivering benefits to our communities and economy.
“Through the process of reviewing and collating the projects highlighted in the report, the innovation, commitment, and quality of thousands of professionals across the UK come through loud and clear.
“Many people not involved in this sector may not appreciate the lengths to which we go to reduce waste, and to ensure that materials can be recycled and how value can be recovered from ‘rubbish’. This is a chance to shine some light on the outstanding services and resource management leadership we have here in the UK as we drive towards a more circular economy.”