Value of untapped resources revealed

1st December 2016

Related Topics

Related tags

  • Business & Industry ,
  • Manufacturing ,
  • Chemicals ,
  • Food and drink ,
  • Waste


Kenneth Goodwin

UK manufacturers, pharmaceutical and chemical businesses and firms in the food and beverage sector underuse resources worth £4bn a year, according to a report by waste management company Veolia.

Imagine 2050 looks at the innovative business models needed in the three sectors to meet resource and waste challenges between now and 2050. It estimates that, together, the manufacturing, pharmaceutical and chemical, and food and beverage sectors generate around 13 million tonnes of waste each year. If this was properly reused, recycled or remanufactured could it generate £4bn.

‘The hidden value of unutilised resources in these industrial sectors is not something we can ignore,’ said Estelle Brachlianoff, senior executive vice-president at Veolia UK and Ireland. ‘Realising this value has a double windfall – it helps businesses manage their resources more efficiently, and generates new revenue streams.

According to the report, manufacturing businesses could benefit from £2.8bn of hidden value in waste streams by generating, using and recovering energy and water resources. It says that, by 2050, waste materials are likely to be turned into tradeable commodities, potentially enabling 100% recovery rates.

Meanwhile, the value of waste resources in the pharmaceutical and chemical, and food and beverage sectors is estimated at £800m and £460m respectively. In pharmaceuticals, designing efficiency into products at a concept stage would enable medicines to be produced more efficiently. And, although people are unlikely to greatly alter their diets, the report predicts that where food comes from will be radically different, with people consuming cultured meats and insects. The food industry could also benefit from new technology that made better use of energy and helped to minimise costs.


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