Marcus Gover, CEO of WRAP, presents his first blog. It follows his first speech as CEO at the recent RWM event, the outlining of WRAP’s five-year plan, and also the launch of the charity’s much-anticipated framework for harmonised collection systems across England… but that’s not all people were talking about…
If you are going to talk the talk then you need to walk the walk. That has never been more important than earlier this week when I delivered my first speech as WRAP CEO at RWM, and I decided to wear my Nudie jeans. I didn’t realise they would cause so much interest on Twitter – although admittedly not quite as much as #RecycleWeek, which was trending at No3! – but I’m delighted they did.
Nudie is a company that offers a free repair service for your jeans and will keep repairing them until you no longer want them, when, it will take them from you and use the material for repairs or upcycle into a new item. This is a great example of movement towards a more sustainable, resource efficient, circular economy.
We need businesses to embrace new approaches like this and what better time than now. Like it or loath it, we’ve voted to leave the EU. I know many in the resources sector are concerned about this result, but what’s key is to remain positive. I truly believe the impending Brexit presents a perfect opportunity to re-evaluate what we are doing with regards to the circular economy. We have the opportunity to make goods last longer so we don’t have to rely on imported materials. To champion more resource efficient business models, so we are reusing much more of our valuable material, and in doing so, we are building our manufacturing, or rather, re-manufacturing industry.
This is why consistency in recycling is so important. We need to focus on extracting more of those valuable materials from our waste stream to feed the remanufacturing industry. The launch of the new collective vision for recycling in England, which WRAP led for Defra, alongside the industry advisory group, is a big step in the right direction.
WRAP’s Three Priority Areas
As I outlined in my speech, WRAP will continue to work in the three priority areas where it can make the biggest impact – food and drink, clothing and textiles, electricals and electronics – but the first priority is to boost recycling.
To help deliver these priorities I have reorganised our teams. Now we have three agile teams focused on delivering for funders and customers:
- Business Programmes will concentrate on delivering our three priority areas and is about looking through a business lens, helping businesses and their customers recognise the value resource efficient options can deliver.
- Development Programmes ensure we are always looking ahead to new areas; such as sustainable healthy eating, and beyond our shores to truly create a world in which resources are used sustainability.
- Government Programmes is about us continuing our role as a government delivery body, working closely with governments to help them shape the policies and deliver the programmes that will put resource management at the heart of any sustainable resource efficient economy.
It’s this third area which encompasses all of our recycling activity – activity that has contributed to the great progress that both industry and the public have made in recycling these last 15 years.
This progress has led to a thriving recycling industry, where recycling is now a way of life, but building on that success has been more difficult in recent years. Speaking on behalf of the industry advisory group for greater consistency, which I chaired, we believe taking a more consistent approach to the recyclability of goods and packaging, and the way we recycle in England, could reverse this trend.
We’ve now got the vision, which is really just the beginning of the journey, but it provides a clear direction of travel. I now look forward to working with all the different sectors across the recycling supply chain to turn this “talk” into the “walk” where the vision becomes reality.