Circular economy could create 200,000 jobs study finds


Britain could see over 200,00 new jobs created if it continues to develop more resource efficient activity, a new study has found.

The report Employment and the circular economy: job creation in a more resource efficient Britain was out together by WRAP and the Green Alliance.


It found that the development of resource efficiency, such as recycling, reuse and remanufacturing, requires more labour.

Significantly, regions such as the North East and West Midlands where unemployment is higher, could see the greatest impact in job creation.

Peter Sainsbury from WRAP will be speaking at Secondary Commodity Markets 2015 – the conference for buyers and sellers of recyclable materials – on 3 March 2015 in London. Find out more here

On the current development path, by 2030, the sector could:

  • Require an extra 205,000 jobs
  • Reduce unemployment by around 54,000
  • Offset 11% of future job losses in skilled employment.


WRAP chief executive Liz Goodwin said: “We’ve long been talking about the benefits of the resource efficiency agenda, working with businesses and turning ideas into action.

“But this report is the first of its kind that pinpoints exactly who, what and where could benefit from the implementation of the circular economy. This signals a major new opportunity for Britain’s economy, and could deliver jobs where they’re needed the most.”

Originator of the circular economy concept Walter Stahel added: “A circular economy will directly create numerous jobs with a broad diversity of skills at local and regional level, and give rise to new SMEs exploiting opportunities in the local loops.

“In addition, a circular economy will create skilled jobs to develop the innovative processes and technologies needed ‘to most profitably close the loops’, innovations which can be sold abroad.” 

While Green Alliance director Matthew Spencer said: At a time when many are worried about where jobs will come from in future, it is a tantalising prospect to have a sector which offers a wide range of new jobs right across the country, especially in regions with high unemployment.  

“To be able to stimulate these new jobs in remanufacturing and reuse we will need Government to play its part in setting higher standards for product and resource recovery.

“The biggest opportunity to do that is in the EU Circular Economy Package which is being renegotiated this year, but the UK will have to become an active champion of higher ambition or we could end up with no new policy drivers for investment.”

View the full report at