March 13, 2014 at 10:57 am
The House of Lords Science and Technology Committee have just released an important report, titled ‘Waste or Resource? Stimulating Bioeconomy’. This report calls on the Government to change their negative view on the ‘problem of waste’. The basic undertone of the report suggests that waste should be seen as an opportunity rather than a hindrance.
The report proposes that the Government take steps to encourage waste management companies to create an alternative solution that will allow the country to turn waste into a valuable resource. Chair of the House of Lords Science and Technology Committee Lord Krebs, said: “There is a huge amount at stake here, economically and environmentally, and no single department appears to be leading the way.”
The main issue outlined is that, despite efforts by the Government to encourage a decrease in waste, there will always be a certain amount of unrecyclable and unusable waste produced by households and commercial entities. This should be seen as an opportunity to create a bioeconomy. Companies have already started addressing this issue and it is not only proving successful, but also profitable. For example, one company is utilising microbes to break down waste gases from steel mills to produce jet fuel. Not only does this create money, the jet fuel is also more eco-friendly, producing 60% less carbon than its fossil fuel counterpart. Moreover, the report shows that technology now available to the UK can produce 4% of the petrol used every year. This is a total financial gain of £2.4 billion.
The conclusion of the report is that the Government is neglecting to see the economic benefits of waste and should be starting to do so. By incentivising sectors in this field and crowning a ‘Waste Champion’ for finding the best solution, the Government can help to produce a more financially beneficial bioeconomy.