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Resource Efficiency Could be Worth £3.5 billion to UK Businesses

Friday, February 6, 2015

A new Report by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) claims that resource efficiency could generate an extra £3.58 billion for UK businesses by 2020.

The Report – Resource Management – a catalyst for growth and productivity – suggests that better regulation could help drive further progression to prevent waste, reduce costs and generate revenue from waste.

According to Defra, by 2014 the Environment Agency launched 11 new End of Waste Quality Criteria that, by 2020, could help businesses save £139m a year through reduced waste management costs and generate a further £355m a year through the sale of ‘new’ resources that would otherwise need to be disposed of.  

In total, between 2014/15 and 2020/21, these changes are projected to be worth £3.58 billion to businesses.

The Report shows that businesses need to start to look at waste as a valuable resource and increase the use of reuse, repair and remanufacture schemes to improve their income.  It also shows that the global market for waste management is set to grow significantly, from an estimated $548 billion in 2013 to $1,074 billion by 2020.

The Report also estimates that the core waste sector generated around £6.8 billion in in gross value added (GVA) in 2013 and supported over 100,000 jobs.  Data also suggests that GVA could have been as high as £41 billion if material reuse, repair and remanufacturing activities are also considered.  

The findings of the Defra analysis suggest that the waste and resource management sector already makes a significant contribution to the economy, and is finding new ways to extract greater value from waste.  It also shows that the wider economy is becoming increasingly resource efficient and that significant opportunities remain for businesses and the wider economy during the transition to a more circular economy.

Other data from the Report show that the UK is extracting more value from our waste, with the gross value added to the economy per tonne of waste having increased 33%, from £32 in 2004 to £43 in 2012.  The UK is also extracting greater value through energy recovery.  In 2013 approximately £447.4m (9005 GWh) of electricity was generated through energy recovery in the waste sector, of which £35.1m (707 GWh) was from anaerobic digestion.

The full Defra Report is available to view here

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