Reuse central to building a circular economy says CRA

In response to a wide-ranging Government consultation on waste prevention, we are calling on the UK Government to work with charity retailers to dramatically increase rates of reuse in England.

The UK Government’s consultation sets out a wide range of proposals to support the move to a circular economy. Proposals include:

– steps to design out waste through minimum product standards and labelling requirements

– supporting local authorities to deliver higher levels of reuse and recycling

– funding for research and circular economy hubs

– developing proposals for a textile Extended Producer Responsibility which would raise new revenue for reuse and recycling initiatives

– reviewing regulations around Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment

Our submission in response to the consultation, calls on the UK Government to be ambitious in its aims to increase rates of reuse and sets out the central role played by charity retailers in making reuse happen. Taking clothing as an example, charity retailers already reuse or recycle a larger volume of clothing than ends up in landfill or incineration each year. Our submission also discusses the importance of preventing items from entering the waste stream in the first place via the promotion of direct donations to charity retailers. This is because once items enter the waste stream the possibility of reuse is dramatically reduced.

Instead of setting up competing initiatives, we are urging the UK Government and local authorities to work together with charity retailers and reuse organisations to increase levels of reuse. This needs to include support in managing the costs faced by charity retailers in managing the small proportion of donated goods that cannot be sold in-store and support with collection, sorting and storage infrastructure.

The UK Government is expected to publish their final version of their Waste Prevention Programme later this summer.

The CRA response to the consultation is available here.