In a joint publication today (18 December 2018), Defra (Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs) and the Environment Agency have set out how they will preserve material resources by minimising waste, promoting resource efficiency and moving towards a circular economy in England.
The strategy sets out how they plan to double resource productivity and eliminate avoidable waste of all kinds (including plastic waste) by 2050, which is an ambitious aim.
The strategy sets out three main objectives to:
- preserve our stock of material resources by minimising waste, promoting resource efficiency and moving towards a circular economy
- minimise the damage caused to our natural environment by reducing and managing waste safely and carefully
- deal with waste crime
Building on the earlier publication: 25 Year Environment Plan (see our post: A Green Future: Our 25 Year Plan to Improve the Environment), it claims to combine actions with firm commitments to give a clear, longer-term policy direction for the next 25 years.
The Strategy document seeks to extend the use-life of the materials and goods, so that society can move away from an inefficient ‘linear’ economic model of ‘take, make, use, throw’ towards a more, circular economy (re-use, re-manufacture, repair, recycle). This change to a circular economy should facilitate retaining resources in use for as long as possible allowing the maximum value to be extracted by a process of recovery and regeneration of products and materials at the end of their lifespan.
The Strategy will be over-shadowed in the popular media by weekly food waste collections and, maybe, monthly general waste collections, the confusion of what plastic waste can be recycled & deposit schemes for returned bottles (not a new idea but its time has come around again). Once you get beyond these issues, there is a lot to like in the Strategy but it is not perfect and does not provide all the answers on how to transition to a circular economy.
You can review the contents of the Strategy, which is available as a free download in the links below, and comprises two documents:
Our waste, our resources: a strategy for England