WRAP warns of circular economy challenges ahead

As circular economy thinking starts to enter the mainstream, concerns are growing over how to deliver on this agenda and turn the theory into practice.

In a position statement released today on closing the loop, WRAP warned that products were becoming less durable with only a limited focus on repair, upgrade and reuse.

It argued that in some cases product design was even making recycling more difficult to undertake.

“Products [are] being designed for relatively short working lives, in part reflecting technological change and to some extent, consumer and business demand,” the paper stated.

“Around 80% of the environmental impact is ‘locked in’ at the design stage. To make a step change in resource usage we need to end the throwaway culture driven by cheap manufacturing costs and low quality products,” it continued.

WRAP is looking to address this by facilitating greater collaboration between key stakeholders along the value chain including retailers, manufacturers, facilities managers and waste contractor.

It also wants to drive impactful action around the development of alternative business models such as leasing, service procurement and maintenance to prolong product life and prevent waste.

“We are helping build the case with consumers and businesses for such a shift by providing information on the financial and environmental case for action,” WRAP added.

Recently the organisation released an infographic to encourage ideas around alternative, resource-efficient solutions.

And last month WRAP chief executive Liz Goodwin spoke to edie about the importance of harmonising thinking on circular economy issues from both within and outside of the waste industry.

Maxine Perella

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