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Water industry seeks partners to embed circular economy approach across the sector

The UK water industry has set itself the ambition of embedding the principles of a circular economy - maximising resource recovery and achieving zero waste from its operations by 2050.

UK Water Industry Research (UKWIR) is kicking off a programme of research to help the sector transform its approach and is looking to work with organisations with expertise in this field that will bring fresh ideas, new perspectives and a wealth of learning from other sectors.

The 'How do we maximise resource recovery and achieve zero waste by 2050?’ Big Question is being launched with two projects that will help identify the opportunities for water companies and identify the priorities for future work and innovation. They aim to answer the following questions:

  • What does a circular economy water industry look like?
  • Where is the greatest sustainable economic benefit for resource recovery in the water cycle?

Jonny Burke, programme lead for UKWIR, said: “These two research projects will kick start what is a new and exciting direction of travel for the water industry that has the potential to transform how it operates in the future.

“We want to work with partners with expertise in this area who can help us map out what circular economy water industry will look like and how we make it a reality.  Our objective is to ensure our operations are sustainable and resilient in the long term, we contribute to rebuilding the natural systems that we rely upon and we play our part in supporting growth in the context of a circular economy.””

The ‘What does a circular water industry look like (BQ11 pathfinder project)’ will provide a baseline of where the sector is today and identify any missed resource recovery opportunities and barriers to progress. It will develop a vision for what a circular economy could look like, setting the path for our future work.

The ‘Where is the greatest sustainable economic benefit for resource recovery in the water cycle?’ will build on work already carried out in Scotland through the CREW project supported by Scottish Water and extend this to cover the rest of the UK and Ireland.  It will provide a picture of where there is the greatest benefit from resource recovery in the water cycle.

The closing date for expression of interest in the two projects is 31 July 2020

Topic: Sustainability & social value
Tags: waste , water companies , circular economy , Innovation , UKWIR

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