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UK circular economy drive enters “new and ambitious phase”

October 28, 2014

The Circular Economy Task Force aims to “put policy reform in the spotlight”.

Sue Armstrong-Brown, Chair of the Circular Economy Task Force (Credit: Edie)

Sue Armstrong-Brown, Chair of the Circular Economy Task Force (Credit: Edie)

Edie reported on the appointment of Sue Armstrong-Brown to the chair of the Circular Economy Task Force, which was established by the Green Alliance two years ago, with Brown stating that the task force is aiming to change government policy and put “reform in the spotlight” in a “new and ambitious phase” for the circular economy in the UK.

Whilst there are “still a range of systemic barriers to the UK adopting the circular economy model”, Armstrong-Brown believes that “policy is at the heart of overcoming them”, with the task force publishing reports in the last couple of years that “identified the barriers” blocking the circular economy and addressing the “broken recycling system” in the UK to “encourage more valuable remanufacturing and redesign”.

A third report will look at the role and influence of “government institutions and the reforms necessary to bring about a step-change in UK resource management”, with a focus on information sharing with the EU, where “circular economy thinking is a step ahead of the UK”.

Armstrong-Brown stated: “The Task Force has been very effective in getting the conversation started. But what I’d hope to achieve in the next two-year phase is to come up with some really clear, achievable, deliverable steps for the next Government to put into place to support the circular economy. There are things that could be done at a policy level that would enable it to happen better and faster – that’s what we’re going to be focusing on. Targets can be a useful driver for behaviour change, but they’re not the only one and they might not be the most important thing to implement.

“Our first two reports really highlighted the opportunity gap for the circular economy. Now, we want to develop some policy solutions that close that gap. We’re in touch with Defra and BIS for this new analysis and as results come out we’ll be having conversations with them about the options we’ve come up with to progress – we can, at the very least, stimulate some conversation. The findings will be released relatively soon.”

The Recycler reported earlier this month on European debates about transitioning to a circular economy, while government and businesses have been working towards a future that embraces the model. UK MP Laura Sandys also spoke in July of her backing for the circular economy model’s implementation in the UK.

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