LCRN’s vision is of London as a city that manages resources sustainably to maximise community and environmental benefit. Realisation of this ambitious vision will depend on the efforts and commitment of many more organisations and communities than those currently within our network, and we must reach well beyond the traditional waste sector to achieve our resource efficiency and equity goals. By changing our name to London Community Resource Network we are sending an important signal that we are working beyond waste, which is, after all, simply resource in the wrong place.
At the heart of our work is an ethos of extending the life of things, doing more with less, repairing, regenerating, building resilience, preventing and avoiding waste, and bringing people together to do this. We focus on community-based, local, self-help solutions. We are about a way of life, an economy, or a reconomy. We work with communities and businesses not just when they think of throwing something away, but across the piece to help them achieve resource sustainability. As a network we are about much more than waste and our name change is a small but significant indication of that.
£5 billion worth of resources are thrown away every year across Europe, of which a staggering 20 million tonnes is produced by London. By preventing this waste and by recycling or reusing these resources we could stop 150 million tonnes of annual carbon emissions – equivalent to the output of 7 traditional power stations! If the whole lifecycles of products are considered, from extraction of materials through transport, production, distribution, usage and disposal, resource management is responsible for at least a third of UK’s carbon emissions. By applying our approaches up the consumption and production cycles, we will lead thousands of Londoners to make practical changes in their lives and towards greater resource sustainability.
We must all take stock of London’s use of resources in order to build a sustainable future for our city. We believe that London can dramatically reduce the amount of waste it produces, increase the amount of resources it reuses and recycles and redistribute goods more fairly. LCRN has taken the first step in opening up our horizons in order to tackle resource issues by climbing the waste hierarchy, through reuse and waste prevention, to achieve new levels of resource sustainability in London. Our new name reflects changing attitudes towards resource sustainability and should help us expand and better address the growing remit of the resource sector, by working with designers, educators, cultivators, producers and other partners.