In the sunshine of the courtyard at the V&A Museum on Monday a diverse crowd of scientists, business leaders, politicians, councillors, campaigners, academics and restaurateurs gathered to enjoy a feast of leftovers cooked up by a star-studded cast of celebrity chefs.
You’d have to be living on another planet not to have been aware of the current focus in the UK on the future of our own planet. Of the many questions raised over climate change, one affects us all: can we as individuals make any difference? If so, what can, and should we do? The answers lie in a cocktail of politics, science and good-old gut reaction.
As I settled down to watch the Man City vs Tottenham Champions League match the other night, where Tottenham started the match one-nil up on aggregate, I began to think about what it is like to start a match with an advantage.
Most employees will eat at least one meal at work during their day. Despite our best intentions, eating ‘on the go’ can be challenging and many will recognise the temptation to fall into bad habits in the food we buy, and generating food waste.
As experts in food sustainability, we’re probably more tuned into our habits than a lot of other people at WRAP, but that didn’t mean that the odd piece of fruit which had been lurking at the back of a locker, or half-eaten sandwich wasn’t finding itself in the food bin.
Like me, you probably have a drawer in your house filled with redundant tech: vintage phones, unidentifiable chargers, cables that sometimes work but sometimes don’t. Collectively known as WEEE (Waste Electronic and Electrical Equipment), it may include that old laptop that you may just need. Or the old laptop that you’d love to give away, but are worried about the data it holds. You occasionally wonder if any of it is worth anything, but haven’t quite got around to finding out.
The government’s Resources and Waste strategy has been welcomed by the recycling sector. Ambitious and radical, there are some eye-catching policies: businesses and manufacturers will pay the full net cost of recycling or disposing of their packaging waste; shoppers will be charged an up-front deposit when buying drinks in single-use containers; it will be easier for people to know what they can recycle wherever they live in the country, with more consistent schemes from council to council and every home will have weekly food waste collections. There’s a lot to take in, and we await a lot more detail in the numerous consultation papers to follow but, as a package, the strategy offers significant challenges and opportunities for local authorities.
There has been a lot of expectation that the Government’s long-awaited Resources and Waste Strategy would provide the right mix of cohesive policy and fiscal drivers to rejuvenate the resources sector and support the wider economy in England.
This month, I had the pleasure of attending a conference to hear first-hand from those far-sighted businesses who have signed up to the Sustainable Clothing Action Plan. Those who helped kick everything off in 2012 deserve real credit for being the early adopters to a holistic approach which addresses the entire life-cycle of textiles and clothing. They signed up for real change and there’s been good progress so far. But the conference was far from a back-slapping exercise and there was universal acceptance there’s still much to do.