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Build back better? Lego pledges up to $400m for fresh sustainability drive

Lego is to invest up to $400m in "building a sustainable future" with the firm stepping up efforts to develop and deploy sustainable materials, while promoting environmental themed "actions" to help inspire children through play. The toy giant yesterday announced the new investment drive, which will primarily focus on the firm's Sustainable Materials Programme, where more than 150 experts work to create sustainable products and packaging such as bio-bricks made from sugar cane. The bio-bricks now represent two per cent of the company's product portfolio, but Lego is keen to rapidly accelerate its development of alternative materials that could replace conventional plastics in the manufacture of its iconic bricks. In 2015, the Group set a target to make all its products from sustainable materials by 2030. The new planned investments include both costs associated with the development of new sustainable materials and the investments in manufacturing equipment to expand the use of new materials. "We cannot lose sight of the fundamental challenges facing future generations," said Lego Group's CEO, Niels B Christiansen. "It's critical we take urgent action now to care for the planet and future generations. As a company who looks to children as our role models, we are inspired by the millions of kids who have called for more urgent action on climate change." As a first step for the new programme, the company announced it would phase out single use plastic bags from its packaging. It also reiterated its plans to achieve net zero in 2020 and divert no waste to landfill by 2025, building on its previous milestone of sourcing 100 per cent renewable power across the group. The company also announced a new ambition to help eight million children to learn through play around the world each year in collaboration with the Lego Foundation and external organisations, such as UNICEF and Save the Children. A series of initiatives will give children in need access to play and opportunities to develop life-long skills such as problem solving, collaboration, and communication. A quarter of the Lego Group's profits go to funding the Lego Foundation's projects, activities and partnerships and, in 2019, 1.8 million children were reached through such programmes, it said Orginal Source

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Green tugboats? 'Revolutionary' hydrogen ship engine unveiled

A "revolutionary" hybrid ship engine powered by green hydrogen and diesel has been unveiled today in Belgium, with developers claiming the innovation could cut CO2 emissions from ships, trains and electricity generators by up to 85 per cent. Over the past three years, engine specialist ABC has been working with shipping and logistics group CMB as part of a joint venture to develop, produce and test the dual-fuel BeHydro engine, which has a capacity of up to 1MW, the two Belgian firms announced today. They claim the 1MW hydrogen-power motor can produce as much power as a single 3MW turbine or 36,000 solar panels - enough to meet the needs of up to 3,000 homes - while helping to cut CO2 emissions by up to 3,500 tonnes a year compared to typical diesel motors. Tim Berckmoes, CEO of ABC, said the BeHydro engine was soon set to be installed on the "world's first" hydrogen tugboat currently being developed in Antwerp, which would mark the technology's maiden commercial use. "BeHydro has already received its first order for two 2MW dual-fuel engines that will be installed on board the HydroTug," he explained. "This vessel is the very first hydrogen tugboat in the world, and will be deployed by the Port of Antwerp." The companies claim they have the capacity to build up to 100 of these 1MW engines per year in the first phase of their strategy, with added potential to construct even larger 10MW motors. In addition, a mono-fuel version of the BeHydro is also currently being developed with a view to completion in the second half of next year. The announcement comes amid rapidly growing interest in the production and use of green hydrogen as a zero-emissions fuel for a range of applications, including energy storage, heating, shipping, trains, heavy road transport and even aircraft. Earlier this year the EU Commission also unveiled a major strategy to scale up the development of green hydrogen as part of its Green Deal plan to deliver net zero emissions across the continent by 2050. Orginal Source

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Currys PC World aims to help customers 'Go Greener' with new campaign

Currys PC World is aiming to become "the UK's greenest tech retailer" with a new campaign to help its customers make greener choices. Dubbed 'Go Greener', the new campaign will promote innovative green products, such as smart fridges which can help cut the average £30 of food waste produced by households every month. Other technologies featured in the campaign include smart washing machines and SodaStream Carbonating Bottles, which help cut the use of plastic bottles. Currys PC World, part of the the Dixons Carphone group, will reward customers who make greener choices with benefits such as free delivery, installation, and recycling of old products. The company already recycles 65,000 tonnes of waste electronics each year, making it the biggest e-waste recycler among UK retailers. "The issue of climate change is driving innovation in more eco-friendly tech and we're excited to showcase some of these developments in our first event aimed at helping our customers go greener," said Kesah Trowell, group head of sustainable business. Other products which the company will highlight in its 'Go Greener' campaign include Samsung's Ecobubble range of washing machines, which use a bubble-generator under the drum to help water soak through clothes, cutting water usage and energy costs. LG Smart Fridge Freezer, meanwhile, uses a cooling system to maintain a consistently cool temperature, speeding up the chilling process and "locking in freshness". And 'InstaView' technology means customers can knock twice on the fridge's door and see what's inside without opening the door, further enhancing its efficiency. Pyrolytic auto cleaning ovens and energy-efficient dryers are also featured in the campaign. "Currys PC World is committed to becoming greener, cleaner, and kinder to the planet and we're making great progress - from powering 100 per cent of our UK properties with renewable energy sources to switching to an electric or alternative fuel fleet by 2030," Trowell said. "We're in pole position to be net zero well ahead of the government's 2050 target and look forward to bringing our customers on our journey towards a more sustainable future." Orginal Source

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Biggest plastic polluters named and shamed in new report

Released on 17 September, ‘Talking Trash: The Corporate Playbook of False Solutions’ accuses big plastic polluters of obstructing and undermining legislative solutions to the plastics crisis for the past few decades. With research in over 15 countries that spanned five continents, Talking Trash analysed the top ten biggest plastic polluters: Coca-Cola, Colgate-Palmolive, Danone, Mars Incorporated, Mondelēz International, Nestlé, PepsiCo, Perfetti Van Melle, Procter and Gamble, and Unilever. The top polluters was Coca-Cola, which had a plastic footprint of 2.9 million tonnes per year, followed by PepsiCo (2.3 million tonnes) and Nestlé (1.7 million tonnes). It claims that the voluntary commitments and group initiatives these companies are committed to are used to distract consumers and governments, enabling polluters to continue making decisions solely for larger profit margins regardless of environmental consequences. The report also implies that plastic producers have even utilised the Covid-19 pandemic and the public's fear of catching the virus, as an opportunity to call for regulatory rollbacks and delays on legislation to restrict single-use, despite there being little evidence to suggest single-use plastic is safer to use during the pandemic Talking Trash lists numerous recommendations on how these companies should move forward in proving a dedication to dealing with the plastic crisis. These include the introduction of legislation that mandates at least 90 per cent separate collection of plastic waste, the inclusion of reuse targets to encourage greater rates of reuse and refill and the implementation of minimum recycled-content targets to create a circular economy. Voluntary initiatives not enough As well as the brands, Talking Trash also investigated the most prominent group initiatives, such as the Alliance to End Plastic Waste and the New Plastics Economy Global Commitment by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation that these companies have signed up to. The Ellen MacArthur Foundation launched the UK Plastics Pact that involved a range of businesses from across industry commiting to eliminating unnecessary single-use plastic packaging by 2025. The report calls out companies for using initiatives to appear to be part of the solution and then opposing and lobbying to delay progressive legislation to tackle the plastics crisis behind closed doors, laying the blame instead on individuals for littering. According to the report, Coca-Cola is committed to 10 voluntary initiatives to solve plastic waste while at the same time is also a member of at least seven trade associations that lobbied against deposit return systems (DRS) or other legislation to regulate single-use plastic. Orginal Source

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Iceland calls for mandatory packaging reporting

It will work with Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace, A Plastic Planet and Surfers Against Sewage to call on the Government to use the Environment Bill to enforce mandatory reporting on plastic packaging and plastic pollution reduction targets. Iceland said its own plastic footprint amounted to more than 32,000 tonnes in 2019. Managing director Richard Walker said: “Our message is clear. Without transparency and Government-enforced reduction targets, we will not be able to judge whether business actions are delivering real progress. “That is why Iceland is calling on retailers and other businesses to step up and commit to publishing their total plastic packaging transparently, including both own-label and branded products.” He said businesses had used incomplete data on plastic packaging and progress in reducing use. Those subject to the packaging recovery note system and due to be covered by the Government’s intended extended producer responsibility would have this data and could publish it without further effort, Walker said. He said that since Iceland made its commitment in 2018 to eliminate plastic packaging from its own-label products by the end of 2023, it had removed 3,794 tonnes out of the 13,000 tonnes used, a 29% cut. But including branded goods, Iceland’s total plastic packaging footprint for its UK and international operations comes to more than 32,000 tonnes and includes some 1.8 billion items of packaging and almost 93 million plastic bottles. Walker said: “Our figures show that two-thirds of the plastic packaging we sell relates to brands rather than own-label. “When we made our commitment to eliminate plastic from our own-label products by the end of 2023, we were aware that we would have to take further steps to lead the way in the fight against the scourge of plastic." Paul Mayhew, president of the European plastics industry body EURIC’s plastic recycling branch, and general manager of MBA Polymers UK, gave support to the company’s move. Orginal Source

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Greenwich crew features in Recycle Week film message

The message behind the “emotive film” is one of thanking key workers, said Recycle Now, the organisers at WRAP of Recycle Week which runs until Sunday. Recycle Now said that they would like to extend a a massive ‘thank you’ to The Royal Borough of Greenwich for enabling us to carry out the filming at their depot and on their streets, using real life collection workers – Victor, Sarah and John; you are all amazing! ‘Thank you’ The thank you message in the film, explains Recycle Now, is: “Whether you’re a country-maintaining collection crew member, or a life-saving key worker. A home-schooling hero, or a work-from-home star. Big business, or local legend. This Recycle Week, we want to thank each and every one of you. For pulling together whilst staying apart. And continuing to recycle. No matter what life throws in the way. Protecting our nation and our planet for the future. Together.” Watch the video here: Orginal Source