Barry discussed the circular economy at a New Year reception hosted by the All-Party Parliamentary Sustainable Resource Group, All-Party Parliamentary Climate Change Group and the All-Party Parliamentary Sustainable Built Environment Group.
Barry Gardiner MP argued that instead of reducing, reusing, repairing and recycling, humans still take, make, dispose and repeat.
Mr Gardiner detailed statistics on how much waste in the EU is not recycled or re-used and is therefore lost to the economy, whilst suggesting that this is due to the current economic system which ensures it makes financial sense for people and businesses to be wasteful.
He expanded by stating that in its current form, the market does not have to bear the full costs implied by the principle that the polluter must pay. Bearing this in mind, it was argued that every product sold should have a reduce/re-use pathway built into it from the start.
Mr Gardiner stated that through doing this and developing a genuinely circular economy it would be possible to unlock huge economic and environmental benefits, and highlighted the particularly great challenges and opportunities associated with reaching circularity in the construction industry.
Mr Gardiner concluded his talk by discussing the EU’s circular economy package and asserting the need for regulation to enforce waste reduction targets.
“We use nature because it’s valuable. We abuse nature because it's free"