A recent report by Green Alliance has shown that treating discarded materials as resources is good for the economy. The reports suggested that by 2030 there would be more than 200,000 jobs created with the perception now changing on waste materials and what are now classed as recyclable materials. With many people now seeing discarded waste materials as a resource, it opens the door for a new type of business that will now see the benefits of this and will incentivize recycling and the servicing of good to prolong their lifespan.
The director of Green Alliance Matthew Spencer said that parts of the economy were now recycling in a way that has done away with the old fashioned practice making goods, using them and then disposing of them in landfill, showing the benefits of recycling. What is starting to happen now he explains is a circular business model, which includes changing the design of goods so that lifespan is increased, or so that they can be repaired easily. Furthermore, companies are designing products that allow for their recovery when they reach the end of their life and are recycled.
In today’s economic climate, it is an exciting prospect to have such a sector that is growing and can offer a wide range of new jobs to facilitate the recovery of waste materials throughout the country, especially in regions with high unemployment.
Matthew Spencer also called on the government to help raise the bar and to “set higher standards for product and resource recovery.”
Critics of the report argue that if the regulations governing the re-usability and ease of recycling of products get tougher, then the cost of such products would increase and put them out of reach for the poorer households in the UK.
This though is countered by the Green Alliance report, and they argue that although the prices for products may initially rise, a lower cost on servicing them will make the product cheaper in the longer term.
This idea is already at the centre of some UK businesses, such as vacuum cleaner maker Dyson who are renowned for offering servicing on their products and parts to prolong their lifespan.
Economist Stephen Machin has said of the report that it “emphasizes the need for this kind of job creation especially given the decline in jobs in the middle tier of the labour market.” He went on further to say that, “creating jobs with decent pay as innovative technologies evolve is a challenge given the UK’s traditional difficulties in generating good jobs for workers with low and intermediate skills.”