The Green Alliance has released its latest report, advising that the UK needs to reconsider its resources and waste strategy and focus on halving its resource consumption.
The research has been published as part of the think tank’s work for the Circular Economy Task Force and advises that the UK’s current strategy will not be enough to create a resource efficient, circular economy.
It advises that government focus needs to move away from policies that tackle individual waste streams, such as plastics bags and straws, and address the overconsumption of resources, which the Green Alliance considers the ‘root of the waste problem’.
The report also states that climate change and nature loss cannot be addressed without reducing overconsumption and calls on the UK Government to use its position as a world leader in its approach to carbon emissions to become the first major economy to pledge similar targets to reduce its own resource consumption.
Currently, the main legally binding target for resource and waste in England is to meet a 65 per cent municipal waste recycling target by 2035.
The Government also has a number of non-strategic commitments, including working towards eliminating food waste in landfill by 2030 and avoidable food waste by 2050, as well as doubling resource productivity by 2050.
The Green Alliance says these targets are welcomed, but do not guarantee a reduction in resource use and has called for a target for resource use reduction to be added.
Libby Peake, Head of Resource Policy at Green Alliance and the author of this report, commented: “Ministers need to stop clutching at plastic straws. The UK’s unsustainable resource use is bigger than that.
“An ambitious target is necessary to focus minds on reducing our consumption to sustainable levels, just like net zero has done for climate action.
“A legally binding 50 per cent by 2050 reduction target for consumption would provide a clear signal to other nations of the UK’s seriousness to act on this major global economic and environmental issue, and will provide global leadership on resources at this year’s international summits.”