Industry report states £4bn is being lost through waste

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New report discusses importance of changing the business models to reduce 180m tonne ‘waste mine’

A waste and recycling industry report produced by a waste management company claims that up to £4 billion could be extracted from the food and beverage, manufacturing and pharmaceutical sectors if their waste was processed using a circular economy rather than thrown aside into the rubbish pile.

The report, titled ‘Imagine 2050’, was published on November 2 last week. It is an extension of a report produced by the waste firm in 2014, which focused on promoting sustainable business models in the three sectors mentioned above.

According to the 24-page report, “long-term planning”, developing more sustainable ways of “using water, energy and raw materials”, and “minimising waste”, should be the key considerations for businesses going forward.

The industries are encouraged to use new technologies to reduce waste and reduce their carbon emissions, and to assess these issues in relation to the changing world and growing global population.

The report suggests businesses reassess their business models to increase recycling, reuse and remanufacturing.

This type of circular economy (where waste is not discarded of, but reintroduced into the manufacturing process) is the key to reducing the 130m tonne ‘waste mine’ which is generated by the three sectors.

Additionally, the sectors should readdress how they meet consumer demands, with a focus on changing consumer habits. A number of sources have recently reported on insect consumption for dietary needs, something which 30% of the world’s population already does, according to the UN.

A recent article published in Economist compared the waste and energy involved in the meat industry compared with how much waste and energy would be involved in harvesting crickets for food.

Dr Nick Voulvoulis, of Imperial College London, commented: “Meeting humanity’s rapidly growing consumption needs, with finite resources on a planet that is already under stress, requires more than greater resource efficiency.”

He added: “With three billion new middle class consumers anticipated by 2030, new business models must be explored if we are to continue to thrive.”

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