Dragons' Den approach needed to push waste up the hierachy
A young generation of entrepreneurs is needed to drive forward the upcycling of waste into new materials that have better environmental value.
Speaking at the WEEE Forum conference in London yesterday, Gunter Pauli from Zero Emissions Research Initiatives (ZERI), said that a new business model was needed to resolve waste issues.
The Antwerp entrepreneur and author of the Blue Economy, a book that highlights a business model that operates without emissions and waste, talked about upcycling and how this process makes better use of waste by converting old materials into new materials or better quality products that have more environmental value.
"Green is expensive and whatever is good for you and for your health you pay more," he said. "What I am proposing is that we innovate and change the business model so that whatever is good for you is cheap."
Pauli went on to say that waste solutions could no longer be left to the large corporations alone to resolve.
"We need to have a much more broad-based societal stakeholder involvement and that requires not a focus on the problem; it requires mobilising people around the vision," he said.
"What you need is the entrepreneur who at the end of the day will manage this because somebody ultimately has to take the risk and the responsibility."
Pauli praised the WEEE Forum for its work. He said it had delivered on the political agenda to gain compliance and on the business agenda to make costs bearable for companies.
Hosted by Repic, the two-day conference brought together e-waste experts from across Europe to discuss the challenge of transposing WEEE II into national law and looked at critical elements that need to be considered if the WEEE Directive is to be realised.