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New report addresses UK waste

The report Scenario-Building for Future Waste Policy produced by Z_punkt The Foresight Company on behalf of Defra, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, provides some answers to questions regarding waste production and handling. The report has been published, and describes, in four visions of the future and quantified scenarios, how the UK can react to the growing mountains of waste.

If one were to predict what the situation will be like by 2030 based on current trends, then, in around 20 years’ time, the UK will be sitting on 16 percent more waste than today. What strategic decisions have to be taken in terms of waste policy to improve this trend? What negative trends should be avoided? With the aid of extensive comparison calculations on waste arising, the report shows what timely steps need to be taken, and, in doing so, summarizes the results of a future-orientated process that brought together key experts on the subject. The results are meant to provide input for a review of UK waste policy and guidance for long-term waste policymaking. Scenarios help to reflect systematically on possible future challenges, and, as such, support long-term orientated policy measures.

As Cornelia Daheim, managing director of Z_punkt, explained, “An interesting methodological novelty, here, is the integration of numbers and narratives. The scenarios tell stories in the form of consistent visions of the future conceived on the basis of a process involving experts, but are, at the same time, very specific due to the integrated quantitative analysis.” Daheim went on to stress that such an approach “meets the growing need on the part of decision-makers for key figures in scenario processes.”

The report is underpinned by comprehensive numerical estimates of waste risings, differentiated according to type and processing.