Smart Growth: the economic case for the circular economy: WRAP paper for Business in the Community (BITC)

In ‘Smart Growth: the economic case for the circular economy’ produced in WRAP’s capacity as a member of the Business in the Community (BITC)’s Circular Economy Taskforce, we research and summarise the economic case for moving towards a circular economy in the UK.

The paper should be read alongside the Taskforce’s paper ‘Resource Productivity and the Circular Economy: The Opportunities for the UK Economy’ which sets out key areas where the Taskforce would like to see collaboration and intervention to accelerate this transition and reap the benefits of a more circular approach.

WRAP outlines that from 2000-2014, the UK improved the circular use of materials through the economy whilst achieving economic growth. We argue that there is further to go to avoid the loss of valuable materials in waste disposal, reduce environmental impact, and to exploit opportunities in higher value product re-use or remanufacturing, rather than lower value material re-use.

In this report WRAP brings together insights from a variety of different sources into the economic potential of the circular economy. The report focuses on the following six key areas of smart growth.

  • Enhancing productivity and economic growth
  • Encouraging investment and innovation
  • Improving the balance of trade
  • Generating additional jobs and wider societal benefits
  • Helping to ensure a prosperous and resilient economy
  • Reducing greenhouse gas emissions and helping meet the UK’s carbon budgets