Speaking at WRAP Northern Ireland’s first annual meeting last week, the organisation’s chief executive Liz Goodwin pointed to new research commissioned by WRAP that shows that making better use of our natural resources could contribute as much as 10% of the target reduction in UK domestic greenhouse gas emissions by 2020.

The research indicates that resource efficiency could prove to be a ‘secret weapon’ against climate change as it allows immediate action to meet pressing and challenging targets. From an economic perspective, resource efficiency can also offer £6.4 billion savings a year to UK businesses.

Liz Goodwin said: “WRAP’s research shows the significant impact that resource efficiency could have on the environment and the economy. Today we have highlighted the important role that businesses in Northern Ireland have in contributing to combating climate change, through making better use of natural resources.

“For example, last year construction projects worth more £4 billion included requirements to cut waste going to landfill.

“Of the Northern Ireland signatories that WRAP has worked with so far, they are able to influence £899 million of projects where the commitment can make significant gains in resource efficiency which will impact on the construction supply chain in Northern Ireland.

“This will bring increased diversion from landfill, increased recycling and recovery of materials and provide the potential for economic growth and increased employment.”

Environment Minister Edwin Poots also highlighted the opportunities that recycling can offer the Northern Ireland economy.

He said: “The Northern Ireland Waste Management Strategy recognised that a major obstacle to increasing levels of recycling and resource recovery in Northern Ireland is the lack of local markets for recovered materials, compost and products containing recycled material.

“Establishing sustained demand for these products is the most effective means of stimulating the market. Recycling offers many new business opportunities for the Northern Ireland economy.

“I am a great believer that the environment and the economy do not need to be competitors. They can be partners helping us to build a stronger and better and more sustainable Northern Ireland.”

Sam Bond

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