Businesses hear how Welsh economy could save £1.7 billion a year

8th November 2012

Business leaders from across Wales will meet in Cardiff today [8 November] to learn how the nation could save between £0.9 and £1.7 billion every year. Delegates at the Closing the Loop conference, organised by resource efficiency experts WRAP Cymru, will hear that these are the projected savings if Wales adopts a circular economy1.

A circular economy is one in which we use as few raw materials as possible, re-use as much as we can, minimise waste and use resources as many times as possible. It contrasts with the traditional linear model in which natural resources are used to manufacture products that are discarded when they are no longer of any use.

Welsh Government Environment Minister John Griffiths will deliver the keynote speech, telling delegates: ‘Continuing our current patterns of resource use is not an option. As a Government we are continuing our focus on developing a circular economy in Wales’.

He will go on to say: ‘More and more private sector companies are recognising that there are real business and social as well as environmental benefits to changing the way in which they think about their waste. Most of you here today will have already seen the benefits for yourself, and know that far from being a drain on your budget, resource efficiency and sustainable waste management make good economic sense.  Businesses are already thinking of waste not as a cost but as a potential resource, generating an additional income stream and ensuring continuity in the supply of raw materials’.

WRAP Chief Executive Dr Liz Goodwin will open the conference by talking about how WRAP’s work is helping develop the circular economy and contributing towards economic recovery. She will say that for every £1 WRAP spends on its work, it saves businesses, householders and local authorities £18.

Other speakers include Head of WRAP Cymru Beth Winkley, Hay Festival’s Greenprint Director Andy Fryers, and representatives from a range of organisations - including the Office for National Statistics, Castell Howell, Ball Packaging and Castle Leisure - who will talk about the business benefits they have experienced as a result of reducing the amount of raw materials they use, preventing waste, recycling or using recycled content in their products.

The conference will also give delegates the opportunity to share their experiences, and to pose questions to the Environment Minister, Liz Goodwin and Andy Fryers. The WRAP Cymru team will be available after lunch to answer questions about WRAP Cymru support packages, including funding for the hospitality, food, tourism, events, manufacturing, recycling and reprocessing sectors.

1 Based on EU estimates from Ellen MacArthur Foundation (2011): Towards the circular economy – economic and business rationale for an accelerated transition, adapted for Wales by WRAP