CIWM president urges sector to “turn off resources tap”

New CIWM president, Tim Walker, has called on the sector to “accelerate” its transition from waste managers to guardians of raw materials, which he said are “vital” for the economy.

Following his inauguration, Mr Walker launched his presidential report – Turning off the tap: Why better design can increase resource resilience and reduce consumption. He said of it: “Resource and waste managers see the results of overconsumption, disposable design and imperfect service models every day in the millions of tonnes of material they handle. One of the issues however is that we have become too good at managing this waste and in doing so we have taken our focus off what’s really important – stemming our wasteful behaviour.

“Processed items made from multiple materials are not good for the health of the planet, especially at the scale we see today. It’s time to seriously address the role of design and development in the creation of ‘stuff’ and recognise how the resources and waste sector, which is at the nucleus of circularity, can support better decision making to effectively protect our precious resources.”

The report makes several recommendations designed to accelerate the transition to a more circular economy including:

  • Recognising CIWM as the “trusted professional body” for circularity
  • Supporting collaboration by facilitating cross-industry best practice
  • Identifying opportunities for regulation to stem the flow of resources
  • Challenging the sectors’ role in increasing consumption
  • Calling out / providing feedback to brands / retailers on problematic items to support the reduction in single use items
  • Working with other trade organisations to promote the benefits of circularity.


Mr Walker is said to be a keen environmentalist. He is currently the chief executive of the arc21, a local authority partnership in Northern Ireland, having previously headed up waste management at Belfast city council for two decades.

A member of the Defra advisory committee on packaging (UK), Mr Walker has been a CIWM trustee for several years. He also holds a number of professional and academic qualifications, sits on the board of Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful and is a visiting research fellow with Queen’s University Belfast looking at the circular economy.


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