The development of a circular economy could create more than 200,000 jobs across the UK by 2030, according to a new study by WRAP and Green Alliance.
The report entitled 'Employment and the circular economy: job creation in a more resource efficient Britain' was unveiled today (20 January).
According to the report, developing the UK's resource efficiency can "make a valuable contribution to improving Britain's labour market situation" and help address regional imbalances in unemployment.
Significantly, regions where unemployment is higher, such as the North East and West Midlands could see the greatest impact in job creation, especially among low-to-mid-skilled occupations where job losses are projected for the future, the report claims.
According to the study, on the current circular economy development path, by 2030 the sector could require an extra 205,000 jobs, reduce unemployment by around 54,000 and offset 11% of future job losses in skilled employment.
The report also considers the potential geographical dispersion of jobs by circular economy activity. It states that reuse and open loop recycling are expected to remain the least geographically concentrated, followed by closed loop recycling, servitisation (business models that increase the life of products rather than using new ones) and biorefining (extracting valuable resources from biowaste), requiring activity across the country.
By contrast, remanufacturing is likely to be somewhat more concentrated and situated near to existing manufacturing sites, where "unemployment tends to be higher", according to the study. The development of the circular economy could create jobs for former employees of manufacturing industries in these areas, the report claims.