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Circular economy could boost UK GDP by £29bn



Embracing a circular economy in the UK could boost GDP by £29 billion over the next decade, according to research from Imperial College London.

The report  – The Circular Economy Revolution – examines the economic benefit of transitioning to an economy that considers the challenge of resource depletion and acts to close the loop between resource extraction, production and disposal. Veolia commissioned the paper.

The research suggested that a combination of ‘closing the loop’ on resource use and moving to a service rather than a product based economy has the potential to add 1.8% to UK GDP each year. This is the equivalent of £2.9 billion per year, circa £29 billion over a decade.

Estelle Brachlianoff, senior executive vice-president for UK & Ireland at Veolia, commented, “The world is facing an enormous challenge. Expanding populations and a rise in living standards means demand for raw materials is growing, at the same time resources are rapidly depleting.

“Businesses need to wake up to the unsustainable nature of our throwaway economy and pt more value on resources.”

Recycling and reprocessing is where the biggest gain can be made. Recycling materials from households and commercial and industrial services could bring an additional £23.7 billion to the economy. In addition moving to a product based economy could boost GDP by £3.1 billion.

It is estimated that businesses could save £2.3 billion in taxes currently paid on waste sent to landfill, encouraging a circular economy could greatly reduce the amount currently spent on these taxes and enable businesses to invest in other areas.

Photo:  ellesmere FNC + James via Flickr

Further reading:

European Commission urged to adopt circular economy measures

Report urges tech firms to embrace circular economy

EU plans to recycle 70% waste by 2030 to promote circular economy

Switching to a ‘circular’ economy will unlock crucial investment

EU air pollution and recycling laws could be scrapped