Achieving a circular economy could create thousands of jobs

Transforming the UK to a circular economy could create thousands of jobs and help to define levelling up, according to a new report published by think tank Green Alliance. 

In a circular economy, products and resources are kept in use at their highest value for as long as possible. 

According to the report, achieving this could help to create 300,000 new remanufacturing jobs and 30,000 jobs in repair work within the next 15 years

A third of the projected total jobs would be in lower-skilled occupations that currently see higher unemployment rates.

The report also highlights that through investment in skills, infrastructure and innovation, the West Midlands and the North West would see significant growth in remanufacturing jobs.

Recycling jobs could also help to challenge unemployment in Wales, alongside rental and leasing jobs in the South West and remanufacturing jobs in Yorkshire and the Humber.

person repairing smartphones under a lighted table

Green Alliance has found, however, that creating lots of jobs, and more evenly, is dependent on government ambition.

If the UK’s circular economy continues to develop at the existing rate, Green Alliance projects that only 40,000 new jobs will be created across the country by 2035.

Based on these findings, the think tank is urging the Treasury to bring in a series of new policies to transform the circular economy and create jobs across the UK.

These include an ambitious target to halve UK resource use by 2050; to increase consumer demand by zero-rating VAT on repairs and refurbishment, and to support workers to move into the circular economy through retraining programmes and career coaching.

Zoe Avison from Green Alliance said: ‘A big programme to avoid unnecessary waste and reclaim the value of materials would not only help consumers but create jobs in communities across the country. This is a great opportunity for the Chancellor to show his commitment to expanding innovation, and for the government to show the meaning of levelling up.’

In related news, in episode six of the Environment Journal podcast, host Stephen Cirell speaks to Carmen Valache, Project Manager for Climate Change at the Ellen MacArthur Foundation about what a circular economy really means. 

Photo by Kilian Seiler


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