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.

A study has evaluated three types of media campaign conducted by a large UK supermarket to encourage shoppers to reduce their food waste. These used social media, an e-newsletter and a print/digital magazine, respectively. Although they all appeared to lead to reductions in food waste to some extent, similar behavioural changes were also seen for customers who had not participated in any of the campaigns.

Household food waste in the UK, 2015

By Robert Lyons on 17th January 2017

This WRAP report provides estimates for total and avoidable household food waste (HHFW) for 2014 and 2015, for the UK. The changes compared to 2012 and previous estimates are discussed in the context of factors influencing food waste and the Courtauld Commitment 3 target for household food waste prevention. Key points are that the estimated amount of HHFW in the UK for 2015 was 7.3 million tonnes, and that overall there has been no statistically significant change in the estimated levels of HHFW between 2012 and 2015.

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…

A new report by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation argues that by embarking on a circular economy transformation, India could create direct economic benefits for businesses and citizens while reducing negative externalities. Having experienced sustained and rapid growth over the past two decades, India is facing a rapid urbanisation and industrialisation, with the associated negative externalities that this entails. Yet this scenario is not inevitable, as the country can pre-empt linear lock-ins.

Municipal waste management across European countries

By Robert Lyons on 22nd November 2016

Over the past two decades, European countries have increasingly shifted their focus with regard to municipal waste from disposal methods to prevention and recycling. Moving municipal waste management up the ‘waste hierarchy’ is essential to extract more value from resources while reducing the pressures on the environment and creating jobs.

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:

This study by researchers at Plymouth University and Plymouth Marine Laboratory, looked beyond the immediate benefit of beach cleaning on the local environment and examined the well-being, educational value and behavioural intentions of participants, compared with other coastal activities such as rock pooling or walking.  It found that the environment was perceived as less restorative when engaging in a beach clean but that the activity was more meaningful than the others. 

Green Alliance’s new report examines the state of the mobile market, which is stagnating, due in part to the slowing pace of innovation in mobile phones over the past few years, with new devices taking much longer to become functionally obsolete.  This is resulting in the emergence of a new mobile market, based on capturing the value that exists in older devices.  This circular market is poised to grow, with resale estimated to grow four to five times faster than the growth in the overall smartphone market in 2016. 

The construction industry accounts for approximately 60 per cent of UK materials use and one third of all waste arisings.  Commonly buildings are stripped out every few years and often torn down well short of their design life, with little in the way of products or materials being reclaimed for reuse. 

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