According to a study by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), the UK waste sector generates an estimated £6.8 billion in gross value and supported 103,000 jobs in 2013.

The UK waste sector generates an estimated £6.8 billion in gross value and supported 103,000 jobs in 2013, according to a Defra study published on the 5th of February 2015. It also stated that efficiencies are increasing with council waste collection costs per household down the 5.7%.

However, DEFRA has also found that while the sector was ahead of the growth curve prior to the recession, since 2008, it has failed to regain high levels of activity similar to those seen in 2007-2008, although it is now on the rise again.

The study published by DEFRA, ‘Resource management: a catalyst for growth and productivity’ considers the past and potential future contribution of the waste and recycling sector to wider economic growth across three themes:

  • Extracting greater value from waste;
  • Increasing resource efficiency; and,
  • Increasing the export of goods and services.

Resource mangement studyThe report was produced as part of the government’s work on way to drive economic growth, reduce the deficit and increase UK exports. The Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) explained the themes had been chosen as they represented “opportunities to increase production or productivity which are important determinants of growth both in the short and long term”.

“This analysis also shows there is a massive opportunity for businesses to make money from repairing, re-using and remanufacturing equipment to extend the life of products. Using our resources more carefully is not only good for the environment, it’s also vital to build a stronger economy.”

Resource management minister Dan Rogerson said:

“The UK waste and resource management sector already makes a significant contribution to the economy, and this research shows there are even more opportunities out there. By building on this success and exporting our knowledge and expertise we    can lead the way in new markets.

“This analysis also shows there is a massive opportunity for businesses to make money from repairing, re-using and remanufacturing equipment to extend the life of products. Using our resources more carefully is not only good for the environment, it’s also vital to build a stronger economy.”

According to the report the core waste sector generated £6.8bn in gross value added (GVA) and supported 103,000 jobs in 2013, it also states:

“Broadening the definition to include repair, re-use and leasing activity that help extend the life of products, the contribution to the economy could be much greater. Data for 2013 suggests it could have been as high as £41bn to approximate GVA and 672,000 jobs, with £18.9bn of this being generated in the automotive sector, but it is difficult to determine exactly how much of this directly relates to activity that extends the life of products and reduces waste.”

This is thought to be one of the first times that Defra has linked waste and recycling in a detailed way with the automotive sector although it becomes more relevant in terms of assessing the circular economy as a whole.

The research finds that the waste industry adds “a lot more value than comparable extractive industries in the UK. In current price terms in 2012, the waste industry added almost £41 of GVA for each tonne it treated compared to the ‘other mining and quarrying’ sector which adds £16 for each tonne it produces. The difference is perhaps not surprising, given the waste industry is delivering a service by removing waste as well as generating new raw materials (which are approximately comparable to materials generated by the ‘other mining and quarrying’ sector.”

Value is also generated, says Defra, through energy recovery. By 2020 it predicts that this will be worth £330m with 893 MW generated from residual waste treatment and 272 MW from AD projects.

The costs of managing local authority waste have fallen and the activity has become more efficient, the study finds. It claims that in constant prices and excluding landfill tax, the cost fell by 3.5%.

References:

Resource management: a catalyst for growth and productivity

Let’s Recycle

Policy Connect

EDIE.net

www.gptwaste.com

www.thewastesolution.co.uk

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