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.

Valuing Our Clothes: the cost of UK fashion

By Robert Lyons on 18th July 2017

A new report by WRAP examines the environmental impact of the UK clothing industry. It highlights recent achievements in the sector, explores opportunities for businesses, and shares insights on consumer attitudes and behaviour toward clothing. However, it also notes that while the amount of clothing being sent to landfill has fallen by 14% from 350,000 tonnes in 2012 to 300,000 in 2016 around 25 per cent is still binned rather than recycled.

This European Environment Agency report explores the circular economy from a product perspective, applying a systemic approach and transition theory. Drivers of product design and usage are discussed in the context of emerging consumption trends and business models. For governance to be effective, it has to address the product life-cycle and the societal context determining it. Indicators and assessment tools are proposed that can help fill the current data and knowledge gaps.

Reusing waste water for non-drinking uses in decentralised plumbing networks may improve the efficiency of water supply in urban areas, a new study has found.

Europe aims to obtain 20 per cent of its growth from industrial processes by 2020 and at the same time has set itself incredibly ambitious environmental targets.

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.

Pages