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Circular Economy

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Terms of Reference

This Special Interest Group brings together people who aim to accelerate the change of the UK economy to an efficient, circular model where resources are reused rather than thrown away. We are working with other organisations researching this area, so that our complementary knowledge and skills can effect greater change than would our individual efforts. Guided by our partners, we will seek to reduce legal and regulatory impediments to a circular economy, both real and imagined, whilst promoting those aspects that foster circularity. Contact the Convenor if you would like to join the group.


There has been growing interest in recent years in changing the traditional economic process of make-use-discard into a circular approach. The main driver is economic prudence: increasing efficiency and profits, reducing business risk and decoupling growth from primary resource consumption.

The World Economic Forum stated in 2014 that fundamental economic change is necessary and “relying on efficiency gains alone will not be enough to meet global demand: the context calls for systemic changes, and in that respect the switch from a linear to a regenerative circular economy provides credible and quantified perspectives. The potential for innovation, job creation and economic development is huge: estimates indicate a trillion dollar opportunity, and numerous global trends suggest the time is ripe for this sea change”.

The following links are useful for further research:




Recent Events & Activities

The current areas of research include:

· Exploring collaborations with PwC and the Furniture Reuse Network on both theoretical and practical aspects of implementing a circular economy

· Investigating the potential for creating sector guides to fill a vacuum of official advice. These would ideally be endorsed by the relevant regulators.

Progress on both these areas has slowed down following the Brexit vote, but we remain hopeful of a positive outcome.

There was a SIG meeting in February 2016, where the priorities for future action and focus by UKELA were discussed and decided. It is important that UKELA plays to its strengths and adds value to the work being done by others. The practical steps we should take relate to understanding the legal impediments and opportunities encountered by organisations trying to become more circular, then helping them and others benefit most from the lessons learnt.

The Defra Stakeholders’ Workshop on the circular economy was attended by Angus Middleton in February 2016.

The circular economy roundtable was held at Fablab London on 27th January 2015. This was attended by the RSA, Green Alliance, CIWM, ASPRG, InnovateUK, DEFRA, REBus (Aldersgate Group and WRAP) and UKELA. The Green Alliance and RSA agreed to suggest research topics for UKELA, including ongoing SME pilot projects, while InnovateUK and CIWM suggested that they may be able to source funding for this work. DEFRA requested some assistance with official guidance and statutory instruments.

The inaugural meeting was held at The Chandos on 14th October 2014, where it was agreed to start a special interest group and explore partnerships with other organisations working on the circular economy.


Angus Middleton

0845 458 5250
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