The view from WRAP

  • The Resources and Waste Strategy: The Cobra Effect and Policy Making

    By: Dr Peter Maddox, Director, WRAP UK Posted: 18 Jan 2019
    I was talking to an economist friend over a drink last weekend, and he told me about the Cobra Effect. It is based on an amusing tale from Delhi in the 19th Century.Concerned at the huge number of venomous cobras in the city, officials sought to control and reduce the excessive population by offering a bounty to be paid for every dead cobra returned to the authorities. Locals responded with...
  • 2019: new year, new ambitions and a new Resources and Waste Strategy

    By: Peter Maddox, Director, WRAP UK Posted: 21 Dec 2018
    The government’s Resources and Waste strategy has been welcomed by the recycling sector. Ambitious and radical, there are some eye-catching policies: businesses and manufacturers will pay the full net cost of recycling or disposing of their packaging waste; shoppers will be charged an up-front deposit when buying drinks in single-use containers; it will be easier for people to know what they can...
  • Resources and Waste Strategy: A major step forward, with lots to do

    By: Dr Marcus Gover, CEO WRAP Posted: 17 Dec 2018
    There has been a lot of expectation that the Government’s long-awaited Resources and Waste Strategy would provide the right mix of cohesive policy and fiscal drivers to rejuvenate the resources sector and support the wider economy in England. At WRAP, we were clear that the Strategy had to deliver some fundamental changes to incentivise businesses, local government and citizens to do the...
  • WRAP’s first 18 years – saluting success and looking to the future

    By: Julie Hill, WRAP Chair Posted: 14 Dec 2018
    The first Chair of WRAP, Vic Cocker, thought that WRAP only needed to exist for a few years. The then Government had given WRAP a very specific job to do – find markets for the increasing quantity of recyclables being collected from households, as policy-makers aimed to push the UK up the European recycling league table. It worked – in 2000, at WRAP’s inception, household recycling was 11%, and...
  • Why we should be focusing on clothing as well as plastics

    By: Peter Maddox, Director, WRAP UK Posted: 26 Nov 2018
    This month, I had the pleasure of attending a conference to hear first-hand from those far-sighted businesses who have signed up to the Sustainable Clothing Action Plan. Those who helped kick everything off in 2012 deserve real credit for being the early adopters to a holistic approach which addresses the entire life-cycle of textiles and clothing. They signed up for real change and there’s been...
  • Businesses leading the way in eco-innovation

    By: Dr Marcus Gover, CEO, WRAP Posted: 23 Nov 2018
    At WRAP, we have done a lot of work making the business case for sustainability; demonstrating how it is possible to strike the balance between what is good for a company’s profit line and for the planet.We believe that we have to shift from the linear make, use, dispose culture to a circular one which embeds sustainable production and consumption and prevents us from plundering the planet’s...
  • From farm to fridge: how we can all play our part in reducing milk waste

    By: Peter Maddox, Director, WRAP UK Posted: 8 Nov 2018
    I’m feeling pretty pleased with myself: I’ve just tweaked the temperature control dial in our fridge. And it’s shocking to think that if every household made sure their fridges were no warmer than 5°C, the loss of milk in the UK each year would be cut by 50,000 tonnes. These lost ‘pintas’ cost a remarkable £25 million.WRAP has just completed a detailed analysis of the scale of milk wasted from...
  • ‘Bioplastics’: help or hindrance to achieving a circular plastics economy?

    By: Julie Hill, Chair, WRAP Posted: 2 Nov 2018
    The recent summit of The UK Plastics Pact aired many successes, but also some challenges, and one was the role of biodegradable and compostable plastics. The Pact target is for all packaging to be re-useable, recyclable or compostable by 2025. The ability for plastic to join food or garden waste in a compost heap and return to the soil, or, if loose in the environment, to magically melt...
  • Courtauld: a model for the world to follow in the fight against food waste

    By: Dr Marcus Gover, CEO, WRAP Posted: 31 Oct 2018
    In 2005, when we first embarked on our ambitious journey to tackle food and packaging waste in the UK through an expansive voluntary agreement which aimed to span the whole of the supply chain, there was a good helping of scepticism.How could we keep a huge, complex industry, often with competing interests, in an increasingly volatile economic environment, united under a single goal: to reduce...
  • Autumn Budget proposal to encourage recycled content in plastic packaging could be a game-changer

    By: Dr Marcus Gover, CEO, WRAP Posted: 30 Oct 2018
    In tackling the complex issue of plastic pollution, WRAP has consistently said that any fiscal measures need to be part of a holistic response which aims to transform the entire plastics system in the UK. We have also long argued for incentives to boost the demand for packaging made from recycled content. Along with colleagues from INCPEN and the Advisory Committee on Packaging I led a...
  • 'It's the economy, stupid'. Or is it?

    By: Dr Peter Maddox, Director, WRAP UK Posted: 18 Oct 2018
    'It's the economy, stupid' was coined by Bill Clinton's election strategist, James Carville, in 1992 to emphasise the single most important issue to voters. The mantra became established thinking; the economy was thought to trump all other areas of policy. However, is that still the case? Do we care about money above everything else?Scientists have long warned of the serious risks of rising...
  • Six months on: The UK Plastics Pact delivering action

    By: Dr Marcus Gover, CEO WRAP Posted: 16 Oct 2018
    I was inspired and excited to see so much content, commitment and collaboration at the Summit we held to mark the first six months of The UK Plastics Pact on October 11th.We heard about the fantastic progress towards meeting the ambitious Pact  targets which has been already made members and supporters in just six short months. Progress which demonstrates a real commitment to act, and to act...
  • Britain recycles – because it matters

    By: Peter Maddox, Director at WRAP Posted: 27 Sep 2018
    It’s bin day. But there are no kerbside recycling collections today – or on any other day. And not just in our street or town. Across the country, there are no blue, green or brown bins. In the home or on-the go. Recycling, it seems, is dead.Bear with me on this, as it is obviously fiction: after all, this is written in Recycle Week, our annual celebration of the benefits of recycling. But what...
  • We’re on a road to halving food waste – now let’s drive it forward

    By: Dr Marcus Gover, CEO, WRAP Posted: 25 Sep 2018
    This year we broke a new world record. But it wasn’t anything to celebrate.This year, Earth Overshoot Day fell on the earliest day of the year ever - since the world began recording the date it exceeded its available natural resources for the year, way back in the 1970s. Every day since Wednesday 1st August 2018 we’ve effectively been living on credit from the planet’s resources –...
  • The UK Plastics Pact 100 days: From ambition to action

    By: Marcus Gover, CEO, WRAP Posted: 6 Aug 2018
    The UK Plastics Pact was borne out of the unprecedented ‘perfect storm’ of concern, and subsequent determination, to tackle plastic pollution and the damage it was inflicting on our environment.100 days has passed since we launched our pioneering initiative which has brought together government, business and citizens under a collective ambition to transform the plastic system and keep plastic in...
  • Unprecedented appetite for change at RTF18

    By: Julie Hill, Chair, WRAP Posted: 15 Jun 2018
    The Resourcing the Future Conference is one of those events where I wish I could distill the collective expertise in the room and share it instantly with policy-makers in governments and decision-makers in businesses across the UK. Are compostable plastics good or bad? Carbon metrics better than weight-based? Need to know how to build markets for secondary materials, prevent waste crime or...
  • Social norms: the next step in improving recycling behaviours

    By: Sarah Clayton, Head of Citizen Behaviour Change Posted: 6 Jun 2018
    In the quest to improve recycling and beat the UK’s current plateau WRAP’s Recycle Now campaign team has explored new approaches and ideas for recycling communications. What we found has implications for how recycling should be communicated all over the UK.We started by examining the things that really drive individual in-home recycling behaviours. Drawing on insights from academic studies as...
  • Reform to regulations relating to packaging

    By: Marcus Gover, CEO, WRAP Posted: 15 May 2018
    The Secretary of State for the Environment, Michael Gove, recently invited WRAP, along with INCPEN (Industry Council for Packaging and the Environment) and Defra’s Advisory Committee on Packaging (ACP) to facilitate a series of cross-sector discussions to inform how the UK could respond to and reduce the environmental impact of the way we use and dispose of plastic.For the last two months, we...
  • The unintended consequences of a War on Plastic

    By: Peter Maddox Posted: 19 Apr 2018
    I remember when tax breaks were introduced to encourage drivers to switch to diesel cars. It was with the best of intentions, aiming to reduce CO2 emissions and address climate change. The action made a difference, but in choosing to focus on one environmental impact, it neglected another – air pollution.  In recent years, evidence has grown that other emissions from diesel engines, notably...
  • It’s time for us all to take more responsibility for our waste

    By: Peter Maddox, Director at WRAP Posted: 5 Mar 2018
    First published by 2Degrees NetworkThe time has come for the UK to take more responsibility for its own waste. We should do this not only because China has stopped accepting low quality waste imports, or because post-Blue Planet there is unprecedented will to prevent waste from polluting the environment, but because we have a duty to ensure our waste is dealt with responsibly, whether in the UK...