One of the network’s biggest achievements was getting more people to identify waste as a resource and an asset. More specifically, the ReNEW network addressed the problem of making consumers aware of the importance of making sustainable choices.
Additionally, the Industrial Support Vouchers increased the capacity of the industry to explore new ways to extract valuable resources. Together, these measures impacted policy in the waste-management sector, as well as raised awareness among important stakeholders.
To continue, as an added benefit from promotional activities, some partner countries which were less advanced in resource efficiency technologies were able to learn from other partner countries that were early adopters of the technology. This can be seen in the case of policymakers in Northern Ireland, where engagement with ReNEW led to new expectations for rates of recycling.
Another example includes representatives from Belfast City Council, Dungannon & South Tyrone Borough Council, Omagh District Council, and the Northern Ireland Departments of the Environment and of Trade and Investment. They worked with ReNEW and took part in a study visit a site in Germany. The site was a former landfill turned into a competence, learning, and innovation centre for materials recovery technology.
Following this visit, Belfast City Council commissioned the Circular Economy scoping document. The group then produced a plan for future activities to support the development of the Circular Economy model, which involved outreach, networking, and engagement for education and awareness.