Posted by Adam Read, Practice Director on 3 July 2015It’s been a busy few weeks since my last blog, with much of that time spent with UK local government clients facing up to the big issues of the day, namely what to do in the face of more budget cuts, how do we get to 50% recycling rates and beyond; and how to de-risk any future service decisions when we don’t know what to expect from our newly elected Government. No matter what our starting point, in terms of the commission / assignment, the discussion and evaluation usually comes back to one of 3 things:
Posted by Stephen Wise, Principal Consultant on 30 June 2015I recently moved house, which came with the expected stresses and strains. But it also brought the principles of the circular economy down to a personal scale, making me think in a different way about what it can mean in practice and how best to explain it to others. The move also involved changing from one local authority to another and an associated switch in bin system - a re-education.
Posted by Gareth Morton on 22 June 2015It’s Recycle Week once again and this year WRAP is launching its refreshed Recycle Now campaign. This, together with some of the recent work I’ve been doing with local authorities on recycling and communications, started me musing about how far we’ve come with our recycling, how far we still have to travel and what the challenges are for the future. There are big issues facing us, principally quality and contamination (the two are intrinsically linked) and the plateauing of recycling rates. Just how do we get more, better quality materials?
Posted by Kate Davis, Senior Consultant on 3 June 2015Water is crucial for life, but it is often overlooked by businesses in the UK as it is perceived as cheap and plentiful. However awareness of its importance is increasing; particularly the concern of not having enough water. Responses to a recent global survey showed 68% of respondents thought water availability posed a substantive risk to their business. The first step in reducing this risk is to understand how much water your organisation uses, and reduce this as much as possible.
Posted by Adam Read, Practice Director on 26 May 2015Unfortunately this will be a shorter blog than normal, as I am writing it between trips to a number of UK airports in recent weeks. I have been lucky enough to have enjoyed a few weeks of R&R in Cyprus with the family, but I am now setting off for a series of workshops and client meetings in Riyadh as we close out the new waste strategy for the city. What all this travelling has allowed me to do is to reflect on just how prevalent recycling has become across all forms of public space in UK.
Posted by Adam Read, Practice Director on 27 April 2015This last week saw me spend a few days at Sustainability Live at Birmingham’s NEC, taking part in some workshops and catching up with the big issues for energy, waste and water. The technical content may not have been as pertinent as some other events, nor were the exhibitors the usual industry experts with quite a mix of specialist products on show for energy and water efficiency in particular, but what did strike me was the more integrated nature of the debates and the exhibition.
Posted by Jess Twemlow on 17 April 2015The future of the NHS is a hot topic at the moment and is going to be one of the defining issues of this election. The NHS faces a future of increasing constraints and emerging challenges that threaten the sustainability of services. Regardless of which party is in power after the 7th May, NHS Trusts across the country will have to find millions of pounds worth of efficiency savings over the next few years. Shifting to a circular economy model will help them achieve this and will free up funds for direct patient care.
Posted by Adam Read, Practice Director on 2 April 2015In the last few months we have seen the continuing worrying trend of international commodity markets falling, and in particular the value of UK recyclate reaching worryingly low levels! Clearly this might have something to do with the amount of commingled recyclate we generate in the UK, even with TEEP attempting to test the supposition that commingled is OK, but has as much to do with the increasing volumes of recyclate coming from other countries around the globe, including Eastern Europe, India and China. With the bottom falling out of key commodities, there is now real pain being experienced by local authorities, their waste management contractors, and ultimately the reprocessors and remanufacturers based in the UK. Many local government refuse and recycling contracts are based on expected income levels from recyclate helping offset basic service costs, whilst many recent collection contracts have encourage profit share arrangements, which are now delivering little value to all partners.
Posted by Simon Gandy on 25 March 2015Although carbon league tables for local authorities (LAs) have been around for a while, they have not assessed the performance of the full waste service, focusing just on recycling and composting. This partial picture does not demonstrate the contributions (both positive and negative) that waste treatment technologies can make. For the first time, our new league table brings together information for the whole of the UK and for all local authority waste. The results are surprising.
Posted by Alan Mercer, Sciencewise Programme Manager on 26 February 2015Thursday 26 February saw the publication of the much awaited report from the House of Commons - Science and Technology Committee on advanced genetic techniques for crop improvement: regulation, risk and precaution. This high profile committee has received evidence, both written and verbal from a wide range of stakeholders and interested parties. In addition to a detailed assessment of the scientific evidence relating to genetically modified crops, it is very pleasing to see how the Committee has recognised the importance of a more productive conversation with the public about what we, as a society, want from our food supply and what sort of agriculture we would like that supply to be based upon.