Top yachtswoman Ellen teams up with university to promote sustainable living

YACHTSWOMAN Ellen MacArthur is launching a new qualification with a Yorkshire University to encourage young people to develop ways of ensuring the world can survive sustainably without using up its resources.

The record-breaking yachtswoman is in Bradford for a three-day conference which finishes today promoting the need for a "circular economy" where products and materials are constantly reused.

Her campaign was started as a result of her round-the-world yacht trips.

She said: "It didn't matter what you did eventually you knew you would reach a point where your food and supplies would run out.

"When I got back onto land I started to realise that they way we are living was no different to this. We have limited materials, limited fossil fuels and we are using them up.

"A circular economy is not about recycling or trying to get people to use less and less to make finite resources last longer but about a complete rethink so that resources are not used up and products are made to be made again from the same materials."

She has launched the Ellen MacArthur Foundation to raise awareness of the issue and is now teaming up with Bradford University to develop a postgraduate course on the circular economy from next year and hold two international summits.

This week the university has hosted the Ten+One conference where 10 of the world's leading advocates for a more sustainable economy delivered lectures.

Ms MacArthur said: "An example of how a circular economy works is that instead of a customer buying a washing machine and then throwing it out when it breaks these materials would be reused.

At the moment a small part of it might be recycled but most of the materials will end up in landfill.

Instead someone could rent the washing machine for 3,000 washes and at the end of that programme the company would take it away and use it to make the next machine. They would want the machine to last and to be able recover materials from it."

This approach is known as a cradle-to-cradle product. She added: "It's time for a rethink. Cradle-to-cradle products and services are designed so that after their useful life they provide value. It's about how to thrive in a changing world, one where waste is no longer affordable."