The Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) wishes to identify and estimate opportunities for “financial and environmental savings” through material resource efficiency in the metals, chemicals and construction sectors, with a view to focusing future government support most effectively.
The research, conducted by Eunomia, aims to feed into the forthcoming Government Strategy on Resources and Waste.
The piece of research has been commissioned by Defra’s Materials and Waste Evidence team and went through a public tender.
Defra’s team decided to focus on the metals, chemicals and construction sectors for a number of reasons:
Its 2017 study (Business Resource Efficiency – Quantification of the no cost/low cost resource efficiency opportunities in the UK economy in 2014) showed that UK businesses could save at least £3bn per year through no-/low-cost measures in materials and waste management.
A significant part of this potential is estimated to sit within the chemicals, metals and construction sub-sectors (£1.9bn per year).
In addition, these sectors show significant evidence gaps in terms of understanding the detailed potential across different activities and Defra would like to learn more about them.
The research will support Defra’s forthcoming Resources and Waste Strategy’s evidence, according to a Defra spokesperson, and will have a potential to contribute to its ambition of doubling UK’s resource efficiency productivity by 2050.
The survey aims to gather information from relevant trade associations and businesses to gain insight into what might be realistic in terms of further resource efficiency action.
In the context of this project, metal products, pharmaceuticals and plastic products are also included.
Eunomia is interested in:
- any successful projects/case studies to increase yield, and reduce waste and operational costs
- the extent to which this good practice has been adopted
- the barriers to resource efficiency, any failed initiatives and reasons for their failure
- the remaining potential to further reduce waste and increase yield among your members
- what it would take (in terms of the economics, technology and related Government policy) to realise that potential.
Examples might include re-design of products, process efficiency improvements, material substitution, improved material re-use and recycling, etc.
“Any information you can supply will help us to target future policy and assistance as effectively as possible,” Eunomia said.
The research project, once finalised, will be published with a free access on Defra’s R&D website.