Defra lends backing to circular economy taskforce

A business taskforce has been created to encourage the Government to bring in policies that will help move the UK towards a circular economy.

The Circular Economy Taskforce has support from Defra and other leading businesses and organisations and the idea is that it will feed in policy ideas to Government. 

The taskforce will continue the work of the Designing out Waste Forum, which canvassed opinion from a variety of businesses in ways of reducing waste and moving towards a circular economy. 

The forum has now completed its work and has published its final report - 'From Designing out Waste to the Circular Economy' - and one of its key findings was that while business could achieve a lot on its own, Government needed to establish an 'enabling policy framework'. 

Dustin Benton senior policy advisor at the Green Alliance, which set up the forum, told edie that the taskforce was, "intended to give progressive businesses an opportunity to feed into Government thinking. 

"To help inform Governments what businesses believe are the best tools and approaches to deliver the circular economy that is resilient to resource constraints." 

Julie Hill, author and Green Alliance associate, speaking to edie added: "There's quite a lot that can be done by business but where it stops is where there is a need for investment - whether it be a need to retool or redesign to remanufacture. 

"It's difficult to come by investment and businesses have to be able to show a return, so if there is no requirement to use recycled content on so on, businesses will ask why they should invest." 

Hill added that there was also uncertainty around the future business models of those working in resource recovery making it difficult for this industry to invest. "The one certainty they have is that landfill tax is going up and at some point will be capped," she said. 

"There are a lot of 'chicken and egg' situations where nobody is quite making the investments needed and what everyone needs is a signal from Government." 

Some of the recommendations made in the report include: consistent, ambitious policies to encourage business to innovate around these issues; whole life costs given more consideration during procurement; mandatory carbon testing; consistent standards for measuring product lifetime impacts; sustainable options to be made the most cost effective; guidelines as to what is a sustainable product.


| Circular economy


Waste & resource management
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