By Lizzie Roberts, Press Association
Businesses and individuals need to get better at recycling to “sort out the mess” and save the planet for our grandchildren, the Prince of Wales has said.
Speaking at a Waste to Wealth summit in central London on Thursday, Charles said: “We are the first generation to understand, in full and terrifying scientific detail, that we are destroying our world. And we are the last to be able to do something about it.”
The prince was speaking as major brands, including Co-operative Bank, Sky, Greggs, Heineken, Iceland and Toyota, signed up to a commitment to double the UK’s resource productivity and reduce avoidable waste by 2030.
Addressing 200 leaders from companies, government and other organisations, Charles said: “If we do not act our children and grandchildren will not be able to sort out the mess.
“So with three much-loved grandchildren and a new grandchild on the way – and some of you may be in the same situation – I do not want to miss that opportunity and I am sure you do not either.
“The small steps we’ve taken towards a circular economy need to become giant strides.
“It is clear recycling is part of the answer. We have become good at making things. Now we need to get much better at unmaking and remaking.
“This is a topic which has interested me for a large part of my three score years and 10.
“Many forward-thinking businesses are, I know, already putting principles of circular economy into practice.
“In the last five years, 12.5 million computers have ended up in British landfill sites. Worldwide, almost 150 million tonnes of clothing and shoes are sold every year. The majority ends up in landfills or incinerated, yet the infrastructure to collect, reuse and recycle already exists.
“One man’s, or business’s waste, can be another’s raw materials.”
Charles’s responsible business network Business in the Community, which is organising the summit being hosted by Veolia, is challenging companies to reduce waste or turn waste into wealth to prevent dangerous climate change.
Firms signing up to the Waste to Wealth commitment are pledging to set targets to improve productivity of resources, work to reduce avoidable waste, redesign the use of resources in products, services and operations, work collaboratively across organisations and report on progress.