Research and Resources

Explore sustainability-related research and resources here, including recently released reports, journal articles, online tools and databases. Use the left sidebar to filter resources by theme.

Recycling reset: how England can stop subsidising waste

By Robert Lyons on 17th January 2017

The latest report from the Circular Economy Task Force recommends four positive steps to solve the problem:

  • standardised recycling collections;
  • waste-generating companies to contribute to council costs;
  • responsible companies should pay lower producer responsibility fees;
  • enable councils to charge those households which don’t recycle properly.

More…

Using food waste as pig feed

By Robert Lyons on 22nd November 2016

This FCRN blog post by Karen Luyckz argues that instead of feeding virgin crops like soy, barley or maize to pigs and chickens, we should allow these omnivores to eat our leftovers, as they’ve done for thousands of years. In fact, in the UK, during both world wars leftover food was the only thing they could eat at all, as it was illegal to feed pigs any food that was deemed fit for human consumption.

A new report by a research team at Cardiff University presents the results of an ESRC-funded project which examined the behavioural and attitudinal impacts of the English plastic bag charge, introduced in October 2015.

This implementation guide from Resource Efficient Scotland, a programme from Zero Waste Scotland, describes how organisations can effectively measure and monitor their use of energy, water and raw materials, in order to identify patterns of wasteful behaviour and opportunities to reduce resource use, improve environmental performance and save money.  It provides a clear five-step guide:

Plastics Market Situation Report. Spring 2016

By Editor on 20th April 2016

The Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) has updated its 2011 Plastics Market Situation Report, providing an update of key developments over the past few years. The report finds that significant improvements have been made by local authorities, the recycling industry and other parts of the supply chain towards achieving a circular economy for plastics.

A new report by Green Alliance shows how ambitious circular economy measures could bring over 270,000 unemployed people in Italy, Poland and Germany back into work, thus saving at least €3 billion in unemployment costs.

The latest thematic issue of Science for Environment Policy provides an overview of new research on the linkages between energy and resource efficiency to help to inform policy-making in this area.

A recent Imperial College London report, commissioned by environmental management firm Veolia, outlines the business case for adopting a circular economy. The report is the first to put a figure on the potential of a circular economy in the UK, highlighting that adopting a circular economy could contribute £29bn or 1.8% of current GDP to the UK economy by 2025. While the World Economic Forum has forecast that the circular economy will contribute $1tr a year globally by 2025, this is the first time a separate figure and breakdown has been provided for the UK.

The Ellen MacArthur Foundation recently launched Circulate, an online location for news and thought-leadership on the circular economy and related subjects. The website is designed to provide a central location for information and news on circular economy related topics.

With globalized trade, a significant share of the environmental impacts linked to a country’s consumption of goods and services takes place outside its borders. There is a growing interest among policy-makers in many countries in finding ways to reduce such external environmental impacts of consumption. But it is not always clear what policy instruments might offer the most efficient ways of doing so. This policy brief outlines steps that governments can take to identify policy instruments they can use to reduce their countries' extra-territorial environmental footprints.

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