LORDS

Where there’s muck there’s brass: Lords investigate potential economic benefits of waste

24 July 2013

The House of Lords Science and Technology Committee today invites contributions to its new inquiry into waste and the bioeconomy. The committee will explore the potential to create a multi-million pound economy from waste, using by-products from agriculture, industry and households.

The committee will explore the potential to create a multi-million pound economy from waste, using by-products from agriculture, industry and households.

The use of technology to exploit waste’s potential to create goods, fuels and chemicals could contribute to a burgeoning ‘green economy’ in the UK.

Green chemistry and biotechnology can be used to extract useful products from waste; for example, producing green fuel for cars and producing plastics, fragrances and detergents from organic waste such as orange peel and coffee grounds. Although these examples show how waste has the potential to be exploited as a valuable resource, in many instances the technology is in its very early stages.

The committee will investigate whether this country is making the most of this technology and how it can be further exploited to turn the UK into a world leader.

The inquiry will examine a wide range of issues and ask questions, such as:

  • Should more be done to promote basic research and development?
  • Does the UK have a clear strategy for promoting the bioeconomy in comparison to other parts of the world?
  • Are there measures in place to support the commercialisation of the technology?
  • How important is the technology in providing a viable alternative to sending waste to landfill or other uses?

The scope of this inquiry is largely limited to cover organic waste and waste gases produced by agriculture, industry and households.

Written evidence must be received by 27 September 2013.

Image: istockphoto

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