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WRAP outlines £330billion economic growth potential for EU from smarter resource use

14 November 2013

Speaking to UK and European business leaders at WRAP’s Annual Conference in London, Dr Liz Goodwin has outlined the benefits to the economy, job creation and the environment, identified by WRAP’s EU 2020 Vision.

Goodwin pinpointed food as one of the most wasted resources and called for ‘concerted action’ to halve UK household food waste by 2025. 

She said business opportunities from more efficient resource use include:

  • Business competitiveness improvements of £330billion
  • The potential for an additional 160,000 people to be employed in the recycling sector
  • Improved trade balance of £90bn
  • 500million tonnes of CO2 equivalent could be avoided
  • 190m tonnes less extracted raw materials and imported goods used
  • 220m tonnes less waste produced
  • 350m tonnes more materials recycled
Building on WRAP’s work, and in line with WRAP’s conference theme, ‘Vision 2020: the path to a circular economy’, Dr Goodwin called on businesses to work together to achieve these benefits. 

“Understanding the potential for the circular economy is one thing, achieving it is something far more complex and challenging,” she said. “Our challenge and opportunity today is to go one step further, and understand how we can turn ideas behind the circular economy into positive action.

“Building a more resource efficient circular economy will help us deliver a more sustainable future and I intend WRAP to be at the heart of delivering the vision in the UK and beyond. This will deliver benefits to our funders, to business, and to consumers.”

WRAP’s work on biomass and material flows shows that food is one of the heaviest uses of resources and the stream in which most is currently wasted. Efficient food production and consumption is therefore critical to a circular economy.

Turning to WRAP’s Household Food & Drink Waste 2012, Dr Goodwin called for a collective ambition to further reduce household food waste.

She said this could be achieved by wider adoption of initiatives already underway, for example the recent roll out of a ‘Love Food Hate Waste’ behaviour change campaign across West London Boroughs which saved councils £8 for each £1 invested.

“Working together in a concerted effort, rolling out initiatives more widely, spreading best practice… I believe through that we can all make a major impact. I know there is real commitment to tackle this issue. Every day I see innovations and initiatives by governments local and national, by communities, by business, by think tanks, by individuals.

“At WRAP, we think that by 2025 it could be possible to prevent up to another 15m tonnes of avoidable household food waste. This means that food worth a staggering £45bn could be saved. If collectively, working together, we could do this, it would mean reducing avoidable UK food waste by half by 2025, compared to when we first started work in this area, in 2007.”

Matt Simister, commercial director Group Food, Tesco, added: “Tackling food waste requires collaborative action and I’d like to congratulate WRAP on the ambitious vision they have set out today. We’re working with WRAP, alongside our suppliers and customers, to try to cut waste at all stages of the food journey from farm to fork. The steps announced by WRAP today will not only help to significantly drive down the levels of food waste but benefit consumers and farmers too.”

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