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With the UK’s relationship with the EU at the top of the news agenda, Resources & Waste UK (R&WUK) emphasises the need for the UK to be proactively engaged in environmental and Circular Economy policy making at a European level, particularly on the Commission’s Circular Economy consultation.

Resources and Waste UK (R&WUK) is the newly created partnership between the Chartered Institution of Wastes Management (CIWM) and Environmental Services Association (ESA).

It is a unique partnership of the professional institution and trade association at the heart of the sustainable resources and waste management industry in the UK. It has been created to form a single voice in the interests of championing the future of resource management.

According to R&WUK’s chief executive, Steve Lee:

“The resources and waste management sector is dynamic and fast growing, and has a huge contribution to make to the UK economy both in terms of jobs and in supporting UK plc to become more resource efficient and competitive. However, if we are to truly make the transition from ‘waste’ to ‘resource management’, many of the drivers and mechanisms need to be implemented at a European level.”

A new policy framework has been derived from the Circular Economy consultation, a policy that will hopefully drive progress towards a more resource efficient future, with all the potential economic and environmental benefits which this could provide. Therefore an essential part of this is for the new Government to develop and articulate a coherent and positive response which reflects the opinion of all four UK countries.

The call for this positive push follows from the launch of the R&WUK’s manifesto, which was launch last month and titled: ‘Sustainable resource and waste: priorities for the new UK government’.

R&WUK proposes action on six priority areas where it believes the most serious challenges lie for the resources and waste sector in the short to medium term:

1. Supporting and improving waste collection and recycling performance

2. Improving the climate for investment in circular economy infrastructure to deliver sustainable growth and jobs

3. Boosting domestic UK demand and markets for recycled materials

4. Creating the right regulatory balance between hitting waste criminals hard and encouraging legitimate businesses in the    industry

5. Delivering coherent resources and waste policy across Governmental departments and between the four UK Governments

6. Engaging positively in policy development for resources and wastes at a European level

According to ESA executive director, Jacob Hayler:

“The medium to long term outlook for our sector is hugely positive, but right now every part of the supply chain is facing significant challenges to some degree or another,” says ESA executive director Jacob Hayler. “Local government funding for recycling is, and will continue to be, squeezed; UK reprocessing capacity is being buffeted by global market trends; the investment landscape for new waste infrastructure remains challenging; and the strategic planning necessary to ensure that the UK extracts the maximum material and energy value from its waste is not happening in a holistic way. Failure to act on waste crime and turning our back on Europe’s role in driving resource efficiency and a more circular economic approach could also have serious longer term consequences for the UK’s resources and waste sector.”

R&WUK is not placing all the responsibility at the feet of government however; the document also proposes action by the industry on the priority areas, and a letter sent to Defra for the attention of the incoming waste and resources minister says:

“We seek a proactive and open relationship with you and your department to help deliver this sector’s full potential and to reap the benefits of a more circular materials economy. R&WUK draws together extensive knowledge and experience across a wide range of industry issues, as well an understanding of the resource and waste management needs and opportunities of our customers in all industry sectors. We are keen to put this expertise at your disposal.”

The full report can be found on the R&WUK website at


Resource and Waste UK