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Jan 31, 2019

As awareness grows of the environmental, even existential, consequences of our take/make/use/throw approach to resources, minds are focusing on the benefits of a ‘circular economy’ in which materials and manufactured goods are routinely recycled and re-used, and not just once.

Our panel members welcome the Strategy, but don’t underestimate the massive challenges it represents, including the 65% recycling targets set for local authorities. While some councils have already made changes that will help them meet new demands, others are less well prepared.

One feature of the Strategy that comes in for much discussion is the focus on the design of products and packaging. Its been suggested that up to 80% of the environmental impact of a product or its packaging is determined at design stage. And yet as our panel point out, there is at present little dialogue between designers and the waste management industry.

Incentivising on the one hand manufacturers and retailers (producer pays), and on the other, consumers (deposit and return schemes), to change behaviours is discussed. So too, inevitably, is the question ‘exactly which recyclying bin does this wrapper go in?’

Waste professionals they may be but our panel ‘fess up to being as confused as the rest of us with some of the materials passing through their shopping baskets and fridges into the bins.