Consumption, Recycling and Waste

How to capitalise on secondary markets in North East England & Cumbria

A seminar organised by the Institute for Local Governance at Council Chamber, North Tyneside Council, Quadrant, Cobalt Business Park, North Shields, NE27 0BY

Friday 15th March 2019, 9.30 – 13.00

For too long, North East England was a throw-away society – but in recent years, the region has been learning to think again before dispensing with material resources which could have a second life or using up resources that, once gone, cannot be replaced.

In debates on patterns of consumption, waste and recycling, attention often turns first to issues surrounding the reduction in energy use and diminishing the need for waste disposal. These issues are, of course, vitally important – but under the surface of these headline issues lays much complexity and indeed opportunity.

This seminar took a fresh look at patterns of consumption by focusing on how to encourage people to recognise the value of using and wasting less. But in so doing, the debate must also explore what is understood by the term waste and explore which of its constituents might more properly be described as resources if they are handled well.

By using the term ‘secondary resources’ the seminar will encourage participants across all sectors to consider those good practices they already adopt but do not necessarily recognise as environmentally valuable. And, as importantly, to think again about how, if awareness is raised, such practices might be adopted in new contexts.

The seminar, which was chaired by Colin MacDonald: Senior Manager, Technical & Regulatory Services, North Tyneside Council, had a number of speakers who addressed the issue of consumption and waste from a number of stand points.

  • Professor Mike Crang, Department of Geography, Durham University: on the current situation and how to increase awareness of secondary markets for materials.
  • Stuart Foster, Chief Executive Officer, RECOUP: on the plastic recycling journey and the use of recycled plastics in manufacturing.
  • Robin Osterley, Chief Executive Officer, Charity Retail Association: on the social, economic and environmental contribution of charity shops.
  • Stephen Armstrong, Programme Manager, Groundwork North East: on changing public attitudes to issues surrounding consumption, waste and recycling.

This was the first of two seminars in this series.  A second seminar will take place in Redcar and Cleveland in the summer on the issue of ‘circular economies’.

Seminar presentations can be downloaded here:

Stuart Foster – ILG Seminar 15th March

Stephen Armstrong ILG Seminar 15 March 2019

Robin Osterley – ILG Seminar 15th March 2019

Mike Crang – ILG Seminar 15th March

The Institute for Local Governance is a North East Research and Knowledge Exchange Partnership established in 2009 comprising the North East region’s Universities, Local Authorities, Police and Fire and Rescue Services. Further information about the content of the event can be obtained by contacting:- or