The United Kingdom’s (UK) economy is overly reliant on unsustainable production and consumption practices that deplete finite resources at rates that will increase production costs, business risk, and economic instability; it also produces emissions and waste that cause climate change and environmental degradation, impacting on well-being in the UK and beyond. 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 academia, government, and industry to co-produce a shared vision and approach that will realise such a transition. Sharing the RRfW’s government engagement results, this article presents a positive outlook for changing the UK economy and society through waste and resource management practices that maximise the values of materials by circulating them in the economy for as long as possible. Key themes, regulatory instruments, a stable policy framework, and an approach for effective academic–government collaboration are proposed. Comparing the results to government plans in four UK nations shows great differences in progress towards realising a circular economy. The article concludes with recommendations to capitalise on opportunities for growth, innovation, and resilient infrastructure whilst contributing to quality jobs and welfare throughout the UK.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited