Why does waste matter?
As a society we are becoming increasingly conscious of our consumption of ever more stuff, our 'throwaway' culture and our carbon footprints.
Waste starts as products, so we have to look for them for the majority of the solution. We must also remember that a waste of materials also means a waste of the energy (and thus probably carbon) used to produce them.
However, waste policy in the UK has so far been resolutely 'end-of-pipe' - concerned almost solely with what to do with waste once it has been generated. It has hardly delved into how products and services can be designed to eliminate waste. And little has been done to connect bad consumption patterns to the prospect of global resource crises, except where carbon is concerned.
At Green Alliance we want to change this, and galvanise more concerted action to design out waste.
Designing out waste
Over the next two years we aim to influence the shape of the UK's future waste and resource policy. Our strategy will involve advocacy, debate, policy analysis and research to:
- link everyday waste to global consequences
- influence product policy, working directly with policymakers
- continue our groundbreaking work to change packaging
- explore the benefits of taxing products to reduce waste
This brief working paper sets out our plans in more detail.
Past work on waste and resources
This theme builds on previous Green Alliance projects on waste and resources, particularly our three year Closing the Loop project that finished in March 2008. Go to our publications and events section to view past publications on waste, resources, product policy and producer responsibility or to our Closing the Loop project page to find out more about this work.
We would like to thank Asda, Biffa, Boots, GlaxoSmithKline, Incpen, Johnson Matthey, Royal Mail, Sainsbury's, Shanks, Unilever, Valpak and Veolia for their support of this theme.
For more information about this theme please contact Hannah Hislop.