November 18th, 2016

Marking the new balanced scorecard for public procurement

by Alex Forrest

 

The UK public sector procures a huge amount of goods, services and capital items. HM Treasury’s latest estimate of gross current procurement was £213 billion, whilst gross capital procurement was £55 billion. Eunomia recently highlighted the potentially enormous gains to be made if this substantial sum – 15% of GDP – could be deployed to purchase products and services (including construction, furniture, ICT and vehicles) with good environmental credentials: it could provide a major toe-hold in the market for greener options, and call forward innovation when used tactically. Are there real signs of this happening in the UK?

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November 11th, 2016

Learning lessons on business energy efficiency

by Rob Reid and Ian Cessford

 

It’s been a year since the then Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, Amber Rudd, made her ‘policy reset’ speech setting out a new direction for UK energy policy. Since then, we’ve had leadership, ministerial, departmental and policy changes: it seems that we already need to press reset again and check that Government is designing and implementing policies that will cost-effectively deliver its emissions reduction targets and industrial strategy goals in a post-Brexit UK.

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November 4th, 2016

What’s worse than landfill?

by Mike Brown

 

For the best part of twenty years, the message for waste managers has been clear. Landfill is bad. Do everything you can to get waste out of landfill. Over that time, it has been a pretty decent rule of thumb, if one that has its limits. However, I suspect that policy makers may soon have to face up to something that those involved at the sharp end of waste operations may already understand. Certainly, landfill is bad – but no access to landfill might, for a while at least, be even worse.

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October 28th, 2016

Are councils driving waste on the road to nowhere?

by Neil Grundon

 

In the 1980s, Margaret Thatcher took a scythe to a bloated and unproductive public sector with the introduction of ‘Compulsory Competitive Tendering’ (CCT). Like most things Thatcher did, it was divisive but effective, and eventually undone by its dogmatic application to everything. For Grundon, it opened up a huge opportunity, although not quite in the way we originally planned.

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October 21st, 2016

Solar slow down

by Katharine Blacklaws

 

The need to decarbonise the UK’s electricity supply as part of efforts to mitigate the effects of potentially catastrophic climate change is now little disputed. The UK has several targets to cut its domestic emissions to achieve an 80% reduction based on 1990 levels by 2050.  This includes an interim target to source 30% of the UK’s electricity from renewable sources by 2020, as part of a wider 15% target for all forms of energy.

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October 14th, 2016

Rejected hypotheses: analysing England’s recycling data

by Peter Jones and Andy Grant

 

Is the increase in recycling rejects in England due to an increase in the amount of contamination in recycling bins, caused by growing confusion amongst the public? Last month we identified a couple of other possibilities that would also explain the 184,000 tonne rise: better data capture, or better sorting at materials recycling facilities (MRFs). However, we didn’t attempt to assess which is the most plausible. In this article, we begin that tricky task.

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October 7th, 2016

Back to MRF: rejects and contamination

by Andy Grant and Peter Jones

 

When we wrote last month about the possible causes of the rise in reported recycling rejects, one of the concerns we raised was that materials recycling facilities (MRFs) have historically underreported rejects. We also highlighted the concerns reprocessors have in the past expressed regarding the quality of MRF outputs.

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