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21 June 2018
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Public sector needs circular economy guidelines

19 February 2016 | Herpreet Kaur Grewal

The UK government should develop circular economy guidelines to help the public sector make its supply chains more efficient, says an influential group of MPs. 

Link To Link: Driving Resource Efficiency Across Supply Chains, a report by the All-Party Parliamentary Sustainable Resource Group (APSRG), is an essay collection, “structured to span the supply chain [and address] measures that would help each stage of the supply chain deliver resource efficiency practices in a cost-effective, financially sustainable way”.

It recommends guidelines that would embed resource-efficient practices for UK central and local government procurement for goods and services, focusing (for example) on procurement of refurbished and remanufactured goods, or to favour recycled goods over products made from virgin raw materials. 

Joint co-chairs of the group, MPs Barry Sheerman and Peter Aldous, said: “The UK needs to move towards a system where the entire supply chain of products moves towards the circular model. The old model of make, use, dispose cannot continue, and this is true of all sectors in the UK, not just the environmental services and waste industries.”

The collection has been compiled following findings of the APSRG and the All-Party Parliamentary Manufacturing Group (APMG) report Triple Win: The Social, Economic And Environmental Case For Remanufacturing (December 2014) and observations made during APSRG events that supply chains can hinder as well as aid improved resource efficiency. 

The European Commission recently released a report about its adoption of a Circular Economy Package that includes revised legislative proposals on waste to stimulate Europe’s transition towards a circular economy.

A report by the World Economic Forum and non-profit Ellen MacArthur Foundation has suggested that the incorporation of “intelligent assets” into the built environment will lead to “predictive maintenance models”.

The report Intelligent Assets: Unlocking The Circular Economy Potential states that pairing circular economy principles with the information generated by intelligent devices creates a fertile ground for innovation that could lead to a built environment that is more “flexible and modifiable”.

It adds that in such a circular economy all roads, bridges, public spaces, sports facilities, office buildings and private homes would be connected to “a digital library” that would reveal up-to-date condition of the assets’ components to not only enable predictive maintenance and performance models, but also to be “a platform for a secondary materials market”.