Most resources used in the economy are not reused again at the end of their life. Typically the disposal method captures some materials, but not all. This is called a linear use of resources. It has been estimated that for the UK, of the 81% of resources that are linear, only 19% are circular.
Driving the circular economy is the idea that in this 81% there is economic value that is not being utilised. So in a world of slower growth and a continued focus on cost cutting, developing a more circular business offers companies the opportunity to build new revenue streams at a lower cost, whilst at the same time reducing their impacts on the environment.
We have worked on a number of circular economy projects with clients, developing tools that analyse the business case and the environmental benefits of circular economy solutions. These tools can be used to analyse extension, reuse, remanufacture and other circular economy options.
We are also looking at our own operations, the lessons from which can be learned in our ‘Going Circular’ video campaign.
PwC engaged with a major global FMCG company to help them understand the potential to increase post consumer recycling of their aluminium aerosol products. The client was concerned about the low levels of recycling in key European markets. Increasing consumer awareness, greater scrutiny by retailers and strengthening legislation on packaging and recycling, posed a threat to the position of their most profitable products.
To help the client to respond to this threat, we drew on our global network to deliver a high level review of country regulation and systems for aluminium aerosol recycling. The project team then carried out a review of the recycled aluminium markets, the value chain and barriers to recycling in three key countries.
As a result the client is now able to deliver a strategy to tackle these barriers and increase recycling of its aluminium aerosol products.
Henry le Fleming
Assistant Director, Plastics & Circular Economy Lead, PwC United Kingdom
Tel: +44 (0)20 7213 4097