Lifting the lid on the waste revolution

14th September 2017 | Recycling

From fly-tipped fridges to landfilled leftovers, WRAP CEO Marcus Gover is in charge of convincing UK businesses and consumers of the value of waste.

Not many people want to talk about the contents of their bins. Fewer still will volunteer for a hands-on investigation of what goes in them and how it got there. The fact is waste is a dirty, smelly and uncomfortable issue, which for many people chimes perfectly with the “out of sight, out of mind” approach.

But for large swathes of the green economy, the last decade has seen nothing short of a revolution in attitudes towards waste. More businesses than ever have set – and achieved – zero waste to landfill targets, new business ventures are making cash out of everything from coffee grounds to fabric scraps, and governments around the world are redesigning fiscal systems to favour the three R’s, “reduce, reuse and recycle”.

Waste Revolution

But while the waste landscape may have changed remarkably in the past decade, there are still considerable challenges ahead. In the UK, food waste, lagging recycling rates, rising levels of electronic trash, and the surge in demand for fast fashion are all topics high on the agenda. That’s before anyone has mentioned Brexit.

The organisation at the centre of the UK’s waste debate is Wrap, the waste advisory body that dabbles in everything from recycling standards to food waste labels and repairing electronics. Despite being in post a little over a year, CEO Marcus Gover has already dealt with his fair share of challenges at the helm, including the revelation in January that despite its best efforts, household food waste has flatlined since 2012.

But by working in partnership with government, campaigners and businesses, Gover is optimistic all of the hurdles faced by the sector are surmountable. On the food waste issue, for instance, rather than be disheartened by the news households are wasting just as much food as they were in 2012, Gover took the WRAP team back to the drawing board and devised a new, targeted campaign strategy.

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