Waste not, want not: Circular Economics post-pandemic

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Waste not, want not: Circular Economics post-pandemic

ESS recounts and analyses the major talking points at the debate on circular economies after COVID-19 that Edie hosted recently and how ESS can help businesses looking to make their own operations more sustainable.

Coming full circle

A circular economy is based on prioritising sustainability and environmental health, as well as consumer experience. The concept revolves around creating goods and services with potential for up-cycling and recycling as inherent design features.  Contrasting the current linear model which predominantly converts resources into waste materials unfit for reuse. A circular economy however, cycles and reuses its resources, incurring a much lower cost to the environment while increasing the value of goods.

Leaders within the EU and the UK have faced growing pressure throughout lock-down to ensure that the economic recovery that will be necessary post-pandemic does not conflict with climate goals.

As such, Edie’s talk on the resources available in creating circular economies, the opportunity that COVID-19 has presented and the challenges ahead, could not be more pertinent.

The talk began with a poll being drafted to both industry representatives and listeners from the public proposing the following question:

“What policy introduction would have the biggest impact on the UK’s circular economy approach?”


The speakers at the conference were representative of several separate elements of the consumer chain from purchase to disposal.

Gudrun Cartwright, Environmental Director of Business in the Community (BITC), in reference to the question of what she felt optimistic about regarding the recovery post-COVID-19:

“Seeing that there is so much energy and advocacy coming out towards governments around the world to make sure that as we come out of the coronavirus that we are building toward a greener, fairer world… the circular economy has the potential to drive that further and faster.”

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One of the consistent talking points throughout the discussion was the onus on businesses, as well as consumers, to instil better practices into their production models.

The stimulus for clean, technology-driven jobs and businesses will be central to the EU’s vision for net zero 2050 and creating products to last, from materials that can be reused will be key steps in creating a circular economy.

Increased accountability for producers is believed a credible source of systemic change as demonstrated by a resounding 35.54% majority on the initial poll.

However, Trewin Restorick, chief executive at Hubbub, was keen to remind listeners and fellow speakers alike that waste disposal is and will continue to be an essential component in the circular economy.

“…for the whole of the UK, consistency of recycling collections but also consistency of packaging formats and also the sorting facilities as well.”


 On the basis of the poll, and the prevailing attitudes of some 200 UK business leaders that have endorsed the importance of a green economic recovery, it is clear that waste disposal and producer responsibility will receive keen scrutiny after COVID-19.

ESS has been advising and supporting businesses in effective and responsible waste disposal for over 20 years, boasting an extensive pool of industry experts. ESS’s services page details the ways in which you can save on waste disposal.


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