$700bn boost from reuse

8th February 2013


Related Topics

Related tags

  • Food and drink ,
  • Manufacturing ,
  • Business & Industry ,
  • Stewardship ,
  • Life Cycle Analysis



Adopting a circular economic model that preserves or enhances the biological and technical "nutrients" in materials could save the global consumer goods sector $700 billion each year, according to a new report from the Ellen MacArthur Foundation (EMF)

It finds that increasing rates of reuse and recycling in the textiles sector could save more than $70 billion and that switching to re-usable glass bottles could reduce drinks manufacturers’ packaging costs by 20% per 100 litres of beer.

EMF acknowledges that reusable bottles will have to be made more durable. This will involve using 34% more glass, but additional costs will be dwarfed by the savings made from reusing the bottles up to 30 times, a rate that is already achieved in Germany.

It also claims that the cost in the UK of collecting one tonne of textiles is far outweighed by the profit from reusing it.

UK local authorities could also benefit, says EMF. It estimates that councils could receive $1.5 billion in additional income each year by collecting household food waste separately and processing it in line with circular principles to generate biogas and return nutrients to agricultural soils.

The study comes as Unilever announced that it is bringing forward its zero-waste target from 2020 to 2015. The revised deadline has been set because 130 of its 252 plants worldwide already divert all non-hazardous waste from landfill.

Unilever says cutting factory waste and increasing recycling and recovery of materials is saving the company €70 million a year.


Subscribe to IEMA's newsletters to receive timely articles, expert opinions, event announcements, and much more, directly in your inbox.

Transform articles

EU and UK citizens fear net-zero delivery deficit

Support for net zero remains high across the UK and the EU, but the majority of citizens don't believe that major emitters and governments will reach their climate targets in time.

16th May 2024

Read more

There is strong support for renewable energy as a source of economic growth among UK voters, particularly among those intending to switch their support for a political party.

16th May 2024

Read more

Despite cost-of-living concerns, four-fifths of shoppers are willing to pay more for sustainably produced or sourced goods, a global survey has found.

16th May 2024

Read more

One in five UK food businesses are not prepared for EU Deforestation Regulation (EUDR) coming into force in December, a new survey has uncovered.

16th May 2024

Read more

Each person in the UK throws a shocking 35 items of unwanted clothes and textiles into general waste every year on average, according to a new report from WRAP.

2nd May 2024

Read more

Taxing the extraction of fossil fuels in the world’s most advanced economies could raise $720bn (£575bn) by 2030 to support vulnerable countries facing climate damages, analysis has found.

2nd May 2024

Read more

The largest-ever research initiative of its kind has been launched this week to establish a benchmark for the private sector’s contribution to the UK’s 2050 net-zero target.

2nd May 2024

Read more

Weather-related damage to homes and businesses saw insurance claims hit a record high in the UK last year following a succession of storms.

18th April 2024

Read more

Media enquires

Looking for an expert to speak at an event or comment on an item in the news?

Find an expert

IEMA Cookie Notice

Clicking the ‘Accept all’ button means you are accepting analytics and third-party cookies. Our website uses necessary cookies which are required in order to make our website work. In addition to these, we use analytics and third-party cookies to optimise site functionality and give you the best possible experience. To control which cookies are set, click ‘Settings’. To learn more about cookies, how we use them on our website and how to change your cookie settings please view our cookie policy.

Manage cookie settings

Our use of cookies

You can learn more detailed information in our cookie policy.

Some cookies are essential, but non-essential cookies help us to improve the experience on our site by providing insights into how the site is being used. To maintain privacy management, this relies on cookie identifiers. Resetting or deleting your browser cookies will reset these preferences.

Essential cookies

These are cookies that are required for the operation of our website. They include, for example, cookies that enable you to log into secure areas of our website.

Analytics cookies

These cookies allow us to recognise and count the number of visitors to our website and to see how visitors move around our website when they are using it. This helps us to improve the way our website works.

Advertising cookies

These cookies allow us to tailor advertising to you based on your interests. If you do not accept these cookies, you will still see adverts, but these will be more generic.

Save and close