The Government’s recent ‘Resources and waste strategy for England’ paper was published on the 18th December and sets out plans to preserve material resources by minimising waste, increasing efficiency and moving towards something coined as “a circular economy”.
For those not in the know, a circular economy refers to a continuous cycle in which resource input and waste, emission, and energy leakage are all minimized by slowing, closing, and narrowing energy and material loops; this can be achieved through long-lasting design, maintenance, repair, reuse, remanufacturing, refurbishing, recycling, and upcycling.
So what does this mean for businesses? The new waste strategy means that supermarkets, retailers and major drinks brands are set to pay tens of millions of pounds towards recycling the packaging they create. Currently, major producers of packaging waste pay but a fraction of the cost to collect and recycle the 11 million tonnes of packaging waste produced in the UK.
Consumers will already be familiar with the carrier bag charge, introduced in 2014, which was enforced in the same vein as the newly proposed changes. Since the plastic bag scheme was introduced, the number of used bags has reduced by a dramatic 80% and success such as this will fuel other schemes which look to help the Government fulfil its goals set out in the 25 Year Environment Plan for ‘A Green Future’.
The governments’ 25 Year Environment Plan pledges to leave the environment in a better condition for the next generation. A generation that is seemingly getting behind the proposals after a barrage of social media campaigns and popular documentaries, such as Blue Planet and Drowning in Plastic, all of which have contributed to a growing awareness of the detrimental impact of waste on our world.
According to an international study by Unilever, a third (33%) of consumers are now choosing to buy from brands they believe are doing social or environmental good. Whilst public opinion is shifting towards ethical and green living, businesses planning for the greener future are innovating and looking at their processes to service this growing demand in the market.
One of these forward thinking companies is the Big Beanbag Company, a Cornish start-up, who supported by Acceleration through Innovation have brought to market a beanbag made with a compostable filling, 100% natural fabrics and all held together by thread manufactured from recycled plastic bottles. It’s the first sustainable and eco-friendly beanbag in the world – and it looks good too.
Businesses looking to bring a new product to market, implement a new process or service, or change its business model to something that little bit greener are encouraged to get in touch with ATI and speak to our Innovation Experts about your goals for environmental good. To find out more and register your interest, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.