Circular economy set to boost UK GDP by £29 billion Veolia report shows


A report commissioned by Veolia has found that the circular economy could reap significant benefits for the UK economy.

Independent research by Imperial College London on behalf of Veolia found that a combination of closing the loop on resource use and moving to a service rather than product-based economy has the potential to add 0.18% to UK gross domestic product (GDP) per year.


This would be the equivalent of £2.9 billion per annum. Around £29 billion of GDP benefit over 10 years could be found by:

  • Deriving £23.7 billion through reprocessing and recycling materials from households and commercial and industrial sources
  • Harnessing £3.1 billion opportunity of moving from a product to a service-based approach
  • Saving businesses £2.3 billion in taxes currently paid on waste sent to landfill
  • Generating £1.1 billion in energy from materials that can’t be reprocessed into further products
  • Capturing £888 million of value from unwanted chemicals
  • Including the £2.2 billion contribution of the waste management sector to the circular economy.


The report, The Circular Revolution, estimates that 175,000 jobs will be created by the circular economy, amounting to almost 10% of UK unemployment, with particular opportunities for growth from plastic recycling.

It also reveals that while the size of the waste management sector has fallen in tonnes, it has risen in value, pointing to the importance of the increasing value of resources.

Veolia senior executive vice-president UK & Ireland Estelle Brachlianoff said: “The world is facing an enormous challenge. Expanding populations and a rise in living standards means demand for raw materials is growing, at the same time resources are rapidly depleting. Businesses need to wake up to the unsustainable nature of our throw-away economy and put more value on resources.

“This report examines the economic benefit of this, highlighting how a transition to a circular economy has the potential to add 1.8% of our GDP over a 10 year period. The findings of the report have exceeded our expectations. Even if we only achieved a 50% shift, this would add £15 billion to the country’s economic output.”

For more information visit