London, 15 March – With rising concerns about the supply of scarce metals essential to the UK economy, DEFRA (the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) today launched its Resource Security Action Plan, with a £200,000 ‘challenge fund’ to encourage businesses to find new ways of recycling scarce materials, particularly from electronic devices.
The Action Plan highlights socio-economic and environmental opportunities, as well as how resource efficient production can reduce costs and increase competitiveness. Better use of resources will also help to protect the natural environment by reducing the need for extraction of virgin materials, reducing GHG emissions and other negative environmental impacts.
DEFRA hopes that the plan will act as a catalyst to encourage businesses to identify new market opportunities in recycling and selling rare materials, as well as innovating to create new manufacturing processes that minimise resource use. In particular, there is concern about SMEs, who are yet to respond to the challenges of resource scarcity and efficiency, due to technical complexity and financial issues.
Along with the challenge fund, the Action Plan calls for an industry-led consortium to be established to build a clear image of potential risks and growth opportunities, a website to provide information and advice to businesses, and a system to map where and how precious metals enter and leave the UK, enabling businesses to innovate and create jobs capturing these materials.
The Rt. Hon. Caroline Spelman MP, Secretary of State for the Environment said, “I want to see British businesses taking advantage of this golden opportunity to boost growth and jobs through how we design products, while re-using, recycling or substituting valuable metals.”
Source: Resource Security Action Plan