It’s not only limited to the employment advantage. Manufacturers who could shift to recycled raw materials can reduce the total cost of operation by as much as £50 bn every year. The Environment Services Association (ESA) has recently published the full report. You can also get it in the government funded, private initiative known as Waste and Resources Action Program (WRAP).
Subsequently, the need for better recycling would also encourage innovation and the development of new ways of recycling designs. Research into the better use of discarded materials and minimizing the costs of recycling would further generate as many as 50,000 new jobs in the UK economy and an overall boost of £3 bn to the country’s economy.
UK will gradually be moving towards becoming a “circular economy” where the concept of waste will actually turn into a resource to be reused and recycled efficiently. With the price of raw materials sky rocketing and the global resources becoming scarce, the reliance of recycling could decrease this demand by as much as 20% by the year 2020. A perfect example of such initiatives is seen in products like the Google Nexus. The phone can be easily disassembled to the extent of easily recovering the valuable metals used in its construction. Unlike the iPad, the components of Nexus are screwed together and can be unscrewed without damaging the components.
While products such as the Google Nexus would become the future of the industry, UK’s ESA estimates that more than 395m tonnes of waste material would be passing through its recycling belts by 2020. Operating in the current scale however, only 255m tonnes would be recoverable. The moment the country achieves 100% recycling, the economy will be boosted by as much as £1.4 bn.
According to the CEO of WRAP, Liz Goodwin, “Reuse makes sure we get the maximum value from materials and brings significant business benefits. It is the complete opposite of make, use, throw away, and make another – the way of doing things now”. However, the transformation will need an in-depth rethinking of how the waste could be recycled in the most efficient manner and that minimum energy is lost in the process. Also, 80% of a ‘future’ product’s environmental impact will be accessed at the design stage itself and in turn be made to be completely recyclable.
IT recycling or E-waste recycling is among the key components of the transformation. By 2020, UK would be producing 12m in IT waste, which would have an intrinsic value close to £7bn. The government should be intervening more to ensure that products of tomorrow are more recyclable, reducing the VAT on items that can be thoroughly recyclable would be a huge step forward to encourage growth and this growth will equal to more job creation, investment opportunities and also generate more in shareholder returns.