British MPs encourage UK Government to support the circular economy

24 July, London – British MPs are calling for lower VAT on recycled products, longer warranty periods for consumer goods and a ban on food waste being sent to landfill, in a report looking at how the Government can insulate the UK from rising resource prices and create a more Circular Economy.

The report comes after an inquiry by the House of Commons’ Environmental Audit Committee, in which several leading British companies emphasised that the circular economy makes economic, as well as environmental sense, with potential benefits of billions of pounds for businesses and consumers.

Although the UK Government is engaged in several initiatives to support a circular economy, the Committee lamented that it has not shown the ambition and commitment that other countries have. “Unless we rethink the way we run our economy and do business in a different way, environmental problems like climate change will get worse and the cost of living and doing business in the UK could continue to rise,” said Committee Chair, Joan Walley MP.

The report recommends that the Government should reform taxation and producer responsibility regulations to reward companies that design products with lower environmental impacts. To ensure re-use of waste, it is advised that the Government support efforts to improve information about the location of materials and give direct guidance to local authorities on what materials are collected and recycled. This would include a ban on food waste to landfill and separate food waste collections.

It is also recommended that the Government work with industry to set longer warranty periods for consumer products and new environmental standards for eco-design, taking steps to stop businesses using materials that cannot be recycled when better alternatives exist, and use Government procurement standards to promote a more sustainable and circular economy.

Click to read the report, ‘Growing a circular economy: Ending the throwaway society’.

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