WRAP and the circular economy


What is a circular economy?

A circular economy is an alternative to a traditional linear economy (make, use, dispose) in which we keep resources in use for as long as possible, extract the maximum value from them whilst in use, then recover and regenerate products and materials at the end of each service life.

Circular economy
  • Increasing construction resource efficiencyDesign/manufacture

    Around 80% of a product's environment impact is locked in at design stage. We're working with designers and businesses to create new and innovative ways of reducing this.  We're also looking for ways of increasing the opportunities for re-use and repair, prolonging the life of products.  This reduces the need for virgin materials, stabilising prices and reducing reliance on volatile markets.

  • Retailer

    Working with more than 50 signatories in the grocery sector, the Courtauld Commitment voluntary
    agreement seeks to reduce packaging and food waste along the whole supply chain.  To date, this has led to an 8.8% reduction in product and packaging waste.

  • Consumer/householder/LA

    Working with local authorities and private sector partners, Love Food Hate Waste has helped consumers reduce food waste in the home by 1.1m tonnes since 2006 - stopping £2.5bn of food from being thrown away.  More than 90% of english local authorities use WRAP guidance to help make their collection and recycling services more efficient.

  • Re-use/repair/recycling

    Worth over £200m in gross revenue each year, 23% of the 348,000 tonnes of waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) collected at household waste and recycling centres could be re-used with minor repairs.

  • Recycling sector

    Since WRAP began in 2000, reprocessing capacity has increased by 49million tonnes, today generating
    more than £10bn in sales  and employing 30,000+ people.  The sector has continued to invest during the economic downturn.  In 2010, it invested £368m.

Why a circular economy is important

As well as creating new opportunities for growth, a more circular economy will:

  • reduce waste
  • drive greater resource productivity 
  • deliver a more competitive UK economy.
  • position the UK to better address emerging resource security/scarcity issues in the future. 
  • help reduce the environmental impacts of our production and consumption in both the UK and abroad.