BITC's response to UK Government’s Resources and Waste Strategy

Gudrun Cartwright, Environment Director, Business in the Community, responds to the the publication of the UK Government’s Resources and Waste Strategy.
Today marks the launch of the long awaited Resources and Waste Strategy. Following hot on the heels of BITC’s Waste to Wealth Summit, it seems that there is real momentum building behind a drive to place better resource use at the heart of generating prosperity in the future.
BITC welcomes the Government’s ambitions and we see huge opportunities for business in taking swift and decisive action. We know that UK business could save more than £7bn each year by using energy and resources more effectively; between £400 and £1,000 of cost savings per employee, per annum is available from better management of offices alone. So what are the key takeaways?

1. The strategy places the opportunities of better resource use up front
To make the most of opportunities to turn waste into wealth, we need to change our mindsets. Switch from seeing waste as a problem to be managed, to thinking about how to redesign products and services to make the best use of resources from conception to end of life. This will be a powerful driver of innovation and value.

2. There is a strong focus on producer responsibility
While the exact details will be agreed in consultation, the principle is clearly established. Companies will be expected to pay the full cost of collecting and processing the waste they are responsible for creating. Starting with packaging, but extending to other products, such as batteries, cars, tyres and textiles over time. From conversations we have with business, we know that what companies want most is a level playing field that rewards those that do the right thing. Extending producer responsibility has a real chance to drive a new level of competition that is focused on maximizing the value we get from the resources we use.

3. Making it easy for people to make better choices in every-day life
From weekly food waste collections, to a consistent set of materials that can be recycled across all Local Authorities; better product labelling to deposit return schemes; encouraging people to reuse and share. Digital technologies will help to drive progress and create exciting new opportunities for new business models.

4. Going beyond plastic
While there is significant action in the strategy to tackle plastic pollution, it is good to see that the thinking is comprehensive and covers a wide range of resource challenges, at resource, sector and system level. Identifying where there are quick wins and making the most of the potential to join the dots will be essential to get maximum benefit for people, the economy and the environment.

As we all prepare for Christmas it is worth reflecting a little on how we can all make the most of resources, at work and at home. Early in 2019, we will share the feedback from our members on what they need to help them drive the Waste to Wealth mission in their businesses. We are delighted that we now have more than 80 signatories to the Waste to Wealth Commitment.
New signatories include:

Another Change - Sustainable Art


Repair café

Cadent Gas




House of Bilimoria



John Lewis and Partners

Simply Waste Solutions

Cirkel Ltd



Cleanzyme Limited




NW Nappy Collaborative CIC


Cory Energy


UK Doorstep Choice (Ltd)

DixonsCarphone Group

PK Safety UK

Waitrose and Partners



Zero Waste in a Box Ltd

E.G. Lewis Group



I very much look forward to seeing what we can achieve together in 2019.