Publications

The following journal articles have been published by the RRfW programme. For details of our other publications, including posters, presentations and project publications, please visit our ResearchGate page.

Delivering Radical Change in Waste and Resource Management: Industry Priorities.
Anne Velenturf and Phil Purnell (2018). Open Access. (Published online: 26 Sept 2018)

View or download the report (pdf).

RRfW has been working with academia, government and industry to develop a shared vision for the transition to a circular economy. This reports captures the industry perspectives, with participants from a range of industries with interests in UK resource and waste management. The industry view on the future changes required to enable a circular economy aligned well the academia and government perspectives, although industry gave less priority to wellbeing and human rights. A range of important barriers were identified, strikingly all within government’s control to change. Six key actions for industry were identified, including embedding extended producer responsibility within corporate responsibility policy, engaging with policy development, innovating processes and business models, and educating staff and consumers about resource recovery to support behavioural change. The report is discussed in more detail in the following RRfW blog.

Making the business case for resource recovery
Anne Velenturf and Juliet Jopson (2019) Science of The Total Environment. 648, 1031-1041; doi:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2018.08.224 (Published online: 18 Aug 2018). Open Access.

This article outlines how to write business cases for resource recovery. Resource recovery experts identified drivers, barriers and actions for resource recovery as part of the Resource Recovery from Waste annual conference in 2017. From this 37 key themes were identified, providing a list of ingredients for business cases to industry and government. As tackling all 37 themes would amount to a lengthy business case, network analysis was used to identify key intervention points which may have the greatest influence. The most connected themes related to: 1) Expanding the types of values and costs considered from primarily economic to also include environmental, social and technical aspects, and 2) Governmental aspects such as regulatory change and policy integration. Enabling technologies and skills as well as resource security were also important.

Graphic abstract from Velenturf and Jopson 2019, doi:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2018.08.224. Reproduced under Creative Commons license Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)

Co-producing a vision and approach for the transition towards a Circular Economy: Perspectives from Government Partners.
Anne Velenturf, Phil Purnell , Mike Tregent , John Ferguson , Alan Holmes (2018) Sustainability, 10, 1401; doi: 10.3390/su10051401 (Previously available at Preprints 2018, doi: 10.20944/preprints201802.0024.v1. Published online: 05 Feb 2018). Open Access.

The Resource Recovery from Waste programme (RRfW) promotes a transition towards waste and resource management in a circular economy that restores the environment, creates societal benefits and promotes clean growth by engaging relevant actors in the transition process. RRfW collaborates with academia, government and industry to co-produce a shared vision and approach to realise such a transition. Reflecting insights from RRfW’s government engagement, this article presents a positive outlook for changing the UK economy and society. Four themes and an approach are proposed, including recommendations for regulatory instruments and a stable policy framework. Key messages are discussed in the following RRfW blog.

On a voyage of recovery: a review of the UK’s resource recovery from waste infrastructure.
Phil Purnell (2017) Sustainable and Resilient Infrastructure, doi:10.1080/23789689.2017.1405654 Open Access. Published online: 08 Dec 2017

This paper presents an overview of the UK’s Resource Recovery from Waste (RRfW) infrastructure. It introduces the waste management sector and its evolution into a resource recovery industry supporting a circular economy, and analyses key public-domain sources to review existing and planned infrastructure investment, regulation, capacity and new technologies. Chronic data deficiencies, political uncertainties, regulatory context and fiscal issues are major barriers to the sustainable development of the sector and are impeding progress towards the professed goal of achieving a circular economy. The paper is discussed in this RRfW blog and was presented at the Westminster Energy, Environment and Transport forum in January 2018.

Resource recovery from waste: Restoring the balance between resource scarcity and waste overload
Anne Velenturf and Phil Purnell (2017) Sustainability, 9 (9), 1603; doi:10.3390/su9091603 Open Access.

This article aims to explain the rationale for initiating the RRfW programme, outlining the need for a Circular Economy that contributes to a resilient environment and human well-being. It discusses waste and resource management in relationship to ecosystem stewardship, environmental and social boundaries, and economic models. It proposes that a participation approach is needed to engage the multiple stakeholders required for transformative changes, and concludes with the participatory strategy adopted by RRfW to illustrate how academia can play a leading role in the transition towards a Circular Economy. Read more about this paper on the RRfW blog.

Mini-project reports

Participatory Situational Analysis: How can policy and regulation support resource recovery? Synthesis workshop report.
Anne Velenturf, Rachel Marshall, Ana Suarez-Suarez, Henriette Christensen, Eileen Yu, Carmen Falagan, Devin Sapsford, Helena Gomes, Will Mayes. (2018) Open Access.

View or download the report (pdf).

The results presented in this report arise from four workshops that took place throughout the UK in Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales and England. Using a ‘participatory situational analysis approach each workshop strived to answer the question: “If we wanted to realise resource recovery in the UK, how would it be possible within our policy and regulatory context?” Stakeholders attending the workshops ranged from academia, government, industry and the NGO WRAP. This report captures their insights into the diverse legislative areas that need to be integrated and aligned when aiming for a more circular economy, the ways in which policy and regulation enable this, and which particular actors need to be involved and the actions they should take. Taking the results into account, an action plan with seven key elements was recommended. This report is the outcome of the RRfW mini-project ‘Participatory situational analysis for the implementation of RRfW technologies and vision‘.

Evolution of Mechanical Heat Treatment for resource recovery from Municipal Solid Waste in the UK
Anne Velenturf, Eleni Iacovidou, Kok Siew Ng, Joel Millward-Hopkins (2018). Open Access.

View or download the report (pdf).

This report is the outcome of the RRfW mini-project ‘Formulating the Environmental and Social Business Case for a Resource Recovery from Waste Process‘. The mini-project explored the potential for higher value applications of fibre recovered through a steam rotating autoclave (a form of a Mechanical Heat Treatment process). The report reviews the trends driving change in the composition and volume of residual municipal solid waste in the UK, and the evolution of the waste infrastructure required for its management. Analysis of a number of economic scenarios identifies the potential for recovering resource from the residual waste stream using this emerging technology, yet further research is required to fully assess the opportunities and challenges associated with each scenario. The report concludes by outlining that the processing of segregated waste streams, such as coffee cups, could significantly increase the quality of recovered resources and enable higher value applications.

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