Get a Quote
Greenzone senior management team supporting Zero Tolerance to Waste

Modern Slavery and the Issues Facing the Waste Industry | Greenzone supporting Anti Slavery Week

The waste industry in the UK is incredibly complex, with high levels of sub-contracting, multiple service providers and jobs that attract low-skilled temporary workers, making it particularly vulnerable to infiltration from organised crime syndicates profiteering from modern slavery. The impact of Covid-19 has exacerbated some of these issues and it is up to us as a responsible business to take extra precautions to protect not only our business, but our customers businesses as well.. But what is modern slavery? Hope for Justice have defined it as, one person controlling another by exploiting a vulnerability. It’s often been linked with human trafficking, where a person is forced into a service against their will. The International Labour Organisation estimates that there are 40.3 million people trapped in modern slavery worldwide, a truly shocking statistic. What are some of the signs of modern slavery to look out for in the waste industry? The UK Home Office identified earlier this year, that 36% of modern slavery victims in the UK are British nationals. Using information obtained from Hope for Justice, we’ve pulled together some of the tell-tale signs that can be seen from a distance, without needing to know about a worker’s individual circumstances, Has the worker been dropped off as part of a larger group? Often a victim of human trafficking or modern slavery will be transported to work each day to ensure control of their movements and limit the victim’s time away from the trafficker and potential for escape. Does someone else do the talking for the worker? Many victims do not speak English, whether due to language barriers, learning difficulties or for other reasons. Have you seen lights on at night at a business premises? This could suggest people are sleeping or living there. Does the worker have unexplained injuries or look unkempt and anxious? Traffickers prefer not to let their victims access medical or dental care, as this can open the opportunity for them to get help or to escape. Lack of money and resources means victims’ clothing and appearance is often unkempt and they will not have proper safety equipment even for dangerous jobs. Our Stance on Modern Slavery Waste companies in the UK, have in the past found themselves at the heart of controversy, being the unwitting victims of traffickers, who have exploited waste supply chains for their own profit. At Greenzone, we have a zero-tolerance approach to modern slavery of any kind in our operation and in our supply chain. Our CEO Louise Taggart said, “Modern slavery is completely unacceptable, and it’s up to us as a reputable service provider to remain vigilant on this issue. We already have very strict procurement and auditing procedures in place to identify risks in our supply chain as well as the risks to our customers, but we can always do more. I see staff and supplier education as key to raising awareness. Greenzone’s membership to the Slave Free Alliance will support us in our commitment to help end modern slavery in the waste sector.” What we’re doing at Greenzone to support Anti-Slavery Week As new members of the Slave Free Alliance, there are a few things we’re doing this year to encourage debate and raise awareness internally and externally. Internally we have formed a CSR working group, comprised of our supply chain, marketing, compliance and HR departments. We will be meeting quarterly to look at all our CSR initiatives that focus on our three pillars, comprised of our clients, people and community. Externally, our social media channels are a great way for our clients to see what we’re up to. Outside of this, we’ve created bespoke branded marketing materials that can be used across the business sectors we work in to promote the importance of anti-slavery week. If you’d like to get involved to see what we’re up to, follow us on LinkedIn or Twitter, like and find us on Facebook or contact our marketing department, and we’ll be happy to support you in raising awareness. Anti Modern Slavery Week is the 18th - 24th of October learn more Hope for Justice


Government ‘needs to legislate for consistent recycling labelling

OPRL, the UK’s world-leading resources and recycling not-for-profit, is today (8 September) launching its #MakeItEasy campaign, spearheading a broad coalition of brands, retailers and organisations campaigning to ensure the benefits of its existing world-class labelling are not undermined by a free for all in label design, confusing consumers and reducing effective recycling.. As the Environment Bill resumes its passage in the House of Lords, OPRL is calling for a single design to be adopted for the Government’s proposed mandatory recycling label.. Consumers consistently say understanding what can and can’t be recycled can be confusing – and so are multiple recycling symbols. While the Government plans to introduce mandatory recycling labelling on all packaging in the Environment Bill, the proposals would allow any business or labelling scheme to decide for themselves what the label would look like, subject to an approval process. That will inevitably lead to a proliferation of labels adding to current confusion and reducing the amount of everyday packaging that gets recycled. A coalition of businesses and organisations are supporting OPRL’s call for a single label design to be used to give consumers a clear steer. The public are being invited to show their support via the #MakeItEasy petition at Lord Teverson has tabled an amendment to the Environment Bill (Amendment 35) which would secure this unified approach to mandatory recycling labelling. OPRL’s research shows most recycling labels are poorly understood and many aren’t well recognised. Clear and consistent recycling labelling makes it easy for consumers to do the right thing. Recycling is a positive environmental action and ranked second across 18 pro-environmental behaviours UK consumers were adopting post-covid (surveyed March 2021). 3 in 4 consumers want to do something positive to help the planet and see recycling as a difference they can make, but look to Government and business to make it easy for them; 60% of consumers say they have increased their recycling over the last year as something positive they can do; 3 in 5 consumers understand exactly what OPRL labels mean, compared to just 1 in 5 for resin codes and 1 in 10 for the Mobius Loop and Green Dot; The move to clearer calls to action on OPRL’s new Recycle/Don’t Recycle labels in 2020 has improved consumer understanding by 9%, showing how small variations in label design can have a big improvement. Jane Bevis, Executive Chair at OPRL, said: “As a purpose-driven organisation we are committed to achieving the best environmental outcome by maximising recycling through clear and consistent, evidence-based labelling. We are happy to compete with other schemes in providing labelling services under Defra’s proposals as we’ve built a solid reputation as a world-leading labelling scheme, but firmly believe all providers should supply the same label design – that’s the only way to support consumers in recycling effectively.” “A free for all with endless confusing variations of design would undermine the environmental objectives of EPR (Extended Producer Responsibility) and would be a major setback. That’s why we’re willing to share our label designs and the huge consumer recognition we’ve built up over the last 12 years with other providers. We’re passionate about driving transformational change in packaging resource efficiency as part of addressing climate change and biodiversity loss. We have got to #MakeItEasy for everyone to recycle well.” Margaret Bates, Executive Director at OPRL, added: “A single label for every brand and retailer makes sense, which is why leading retailers and brands came together to form OPRL in 2009. Our labels are already on millions of products and seen every day by consumers. The UN Environment Programme, Consumers International and the Environmental Coalition on Standards have all cited OPRL labels as global good practice, so why settle for anything less?” “Like traffic signs, the OPRL label directs you to take the right action. We think all packaging should bear the same clear and consistent recycling labels. We’re asking the public to join our #MakeItEasy campaign to ask the Government to legislate for a single label for recycling.” The campaign is backed by manufacturers and retailers, packaging, and waste management businesses, and from organisations as diverse as the Chartered Institute of Wastes Management, the Local Authority Recycling Advisory Committee and the National Association of Waste Disposal Officers, the Environmental Services Association, the Foodservice Packaging Association, British Glass, the Confederation of Paper Industries and Recycling Of Used Plastics Ltd. A single label is backed by consumer groups Which? and the National Consumer Federation and green NGO the Green Alliance. Orginal Source

{​​​​​​​{​​​​​​​ old('alt') }​​​​​​​}​​​​​​​

WRAP launches Textiles 2030 ‘Ten years to transform textiles’

Textiles 2030 is WRAP’s new ground-breaking, expert-led initiative, harnessing the knowledge and expertise of UK leaders in sustainability to accelerate the whole fashion and textiles industry’s move towards circularity and system change in the UK. Textiles 2030 has already secured commitment from numerous brands and retailers, re-use/recycling organisations and affiliates. The first major high-street names to join Textiles 2030 include Dunelm, John Lewis, M&S, Next, Primark, Sainsbury’s, Ted Baker, Tesco and The Salvation Army. Gymshark, ASDA, asos and Boohoo have also joined. Over the next decade, the voluntary agreement will set out to slash the impact that UK clothing and home fabrics have on the environment through practical interventions along the entire textiles chain. The Textiles 2030 Roadmap will set out the water and carbon reduction targets, and the key milestones and activities to introduce circularity at scale. These goals will set out to transform the UK’s make-use-dispose fashion culture into one where products are made sustainably, used longer and then re-used or recycled. The Target-Measure-Act approach will be used so that textiles businesses set tough targets, measure impact and track progress on both an individual business basis, and towards national targets and public reporting. Textiles 2030 environmental targets are: Cut carbon by 50%, sufficient to put the UK textiles sector on a path consistent with limiting global warming to 1.5°C, in line with the Paris Agreement on climate change and achieving Net Zero by 2050 at the latest. Reduce the aggregate water footprint of new products sold by 30%. Marcus Gover, CEO of WRAP: “The UK Parliament has investigated the textiles sector twice in recent years and is now looking at UK fashion companies to act. Our research shows that consumers want sustainable clothes not disposable fashion. Textiles 2030 is about transforming textiles and creating a fashion sector fit for the future. “We need fast, effective action from businesses more than ever. Brand and retail signatories must show their commitment by signing up to Textiles 2030. Businesses who fail to engage will be noticeable by their absence. If your business is not already involved in Textiles 2030, now is the time to sign up.” Minister Rebecca Pow, Environment Minister, Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs: “It is time for businesses across the textiles sector to join Textiles 2030 and play their part at this critical time for the planet. “Through Textiles 2030 we invite your commitment to work with WRAP, like-minded businesses and other partners towards a thriving, sustainable, circular UK textiles sector. I would like to see every CEO involved in this initiative.” Textiles 2030 The agreement builds on the foundation of the SCAP 2020 voluntary agreement (Sustainable Clothing Action Plan) which saw businesses respond to growing public demand for fashion with a softer environmental footprint, by adopting robust measurement and targeted action. The UK’s Textiles 2030 is the first national agreement in what will become a global network of new initiatives to reduce the environmental impact of clothing around the world, led by WRAP. This new wave will be coordinated under the Textiles Action Network which is being developed by WRAP and supported by the Laudes Foundation. The project will deliver the first ever readymade plan to achieve global circular economy targets on clothing by co-ordinated national action. These plans can be used by individual nations and tailored to suit their circumstances, whilst still directing action towards global targets. WRAP, in partnership with the World Resources Institute (WRI), will develop a set of globally relevant targets and will launch the second commitment, in Denmark, in summer 2021. Orginal Source

{​​​​​​​{​​​​​​​ old('alt') }​​​​​​​}​​​​​​​

Survey shows, people want the government to green the tax system

The new survey findings suggest people want the government to do, and spend, more on the environment, with 80 per cent believing the government should be responsible for dealing with environmental issues. 62 per cent said they want higher government spending to address them. The survey found that people believe they can do more, too, and that responsibility extends to them. 63 per cent feel it is important to change their own lifestyle to tackle climate change and 64 per cent say they have already made some changes. It’s suggested that greening the tax system is ‘widely supported’. Green taxes would help people and companies to make more changes, says Green Alliance. Six in ten people showed support the principle of green taxes, with one in ten opposing it. The survey also suggests that taxes related to carbon, unsustainable consumption and material use are also supported, with support for a number specific reforms, including: carbon taxes on producers (supported by 57 per cent, and opposed by only five per cent); carbon taxes on consumers (supported by 53 per cent, and opposed by 12 per cent); greening the VAT system (supported by 54 per cent, and opposed by nine per cent); and new material taxes (supported by 51 per cent, and opposed by 12 per cent). Libby Peake, head of resource policy at Green Alliance, said: ‘Tax is one of the most powerful tools government has to deliver policy, shape the economy and give people and businesses alike incentives to do the right thing. In the fight against climate change and nature’s decline, it’s not being used to anything like its full potential. ‘Far too often the system rewards bad behaviour and punishes those who want to do the right thing. This survey shows people want that to change and there is a mandate for the Treasury to reset its approach in its forthcoming Net Zero Review.’ A clear mandate Green Alliance says this gives the government a ‘clear mandate’ to start to make changes to green the tax system. It says steps should include ending current tax reliefs that ‘work against the government’s environmental goals’ while costing the Treasury £17 billion a year in lost revenue, as well as designing and implementing new taxes to ‘drive environmentally beneficial behaviours’. ‘Time is of the essence’ if government is to develop and implement ‘robust’ policies that can contribute to the UK tackling climate change and restoring nature at the speed necessary, it says. It also says well designed reforms must not only to have positive environmental impact and avoid unintended consequences, but also to be fair, acceptable and understandable to taxpayers. But Green Alliance says tax is not the whole answer to environmental challenges. It says we also need new regulatory changes and significant public and private investment. ‘But careful tax reforms are an important part of the broad set of policy measures that will shift the UK to a much more sustainable path, and deliver the green recovery the prime minister has promised,’ it says. Orginal Source

{​​​​​​​{​​​​​​​ old('alt') }​​​​​​​}​​​​​​​

First of its kind Online Repair Directory launches in Wales

As a successful recipient of the Welsh Government’s Circular Economy fund, the Repair Directory was developed by lead Council, Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council, working with Resource Efficiency Wales and The Restart Project. As per the original London based Repair Directory, the user can input their postcode/area into the online platform, along with other selectable criteria – i.e. the item to be repaired, plus the distance they are willing to travel – and repair shops will be displayed on a map (with address, contact details). Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council’s Corporate Director of Regeneration and Community Services, Richard Crook said: “We are delighted to work collaboratively with our partners to enable the development of such an essential tool in the drive to achieve a Circular Economy. This will be the first Repair Directory of its kind in Wales.” Ugo Vallauri, Co-founder and Policy Lead, The Restart Project said: “Searching for a reliable repair business can be time-consuming and often frustrating – the Repair Directory aims to make it easier, and to grow the repair economy in the process. This is a fantastic move for Wales, and we are so pleased to be involved!” Preventing waste Sharing this information enables members of the public to avoid their items from becoming a waste and will extend the lives of otherwise disused products. This provides an essential part of the desire to build a Circular Economy in Wales and encourages the public to consider options available to them at the top of the waste hierarchy. The aim is that the Repair Directory will signpost people to reliable repair businesses and will hopefully increase the uptake of repair in the community. James Kay, Regional Waste Co-ordinator, Resource Efficiency Wales said: “This is a game changer – the Repair Directory provides a basis for promotion of inherent behaviour change, driving repair and extending the useable life of products that would otherwise be discarded – it may even save users a few pennies too! “The local authorities group has a history of innovative and ground-breaking initiatives and we look forward to seeing this latest idea to drive Wales’ Circular Economy becoming a success.” The Repair Directory, coupled with other Welsh Government funded Local Authority led projects to develop and / or support repair shops / events, provides a platform for promoting these outlets and will be key in providing the communications and advertising required to achieving the footfall needed to make a difference. Orginal Source

{​​​​​​​{​​​​​​​ old('alt') }​​​​​​​}​​​​​​​

Waste not, wontons: innovator recycled 32m restaurant chopsticks

The idea was born over trays of sushi. Felix Böck, then a PhD student at Canada’s University of British Columbia, was venting his frustration over the scant interest in his proposal to use waste wood from demolition and construction sites. How, he wondered, could he convince people that there’s no such thing as waste, but rather just wasted resources? Chopsticks in hand, Thalia Otamendi, the woman who is now his fiancée, looked at him. “She said: ‘Felix, maybe you just have to start with something small,’” said Böck. “And maybe it’s the chopstick.” He started working on the idea the next day, sketching out plans for ChopValue, a startup aimed at creating a second life for used chopsticks. The plans soon coalesced into actions; recycling bins were dropped off at restaurants across Vancouver, methods were perfected to clean the utensils and a process was developed to transform the chopsticks – most of which are made from bamboo – into sleek household items that range from tablet stands to tabletops. Four years on, ChopValue has recycled more than 32m chopsticks – diverting them from landfills and creating employment for 40 people. “These chopsticks travel 6,000 miles to arrive on your dining table for 20 to 30 minutes,” said Böck, 31. “You can’t possibly feel good about throwing them out afterwards.” The startup has expanded its footprint across North America, with its process – which uses heat, steam and pressure to transform the chopsticks into wooden tiles – now also being used in Calgary, Montreal and Los Angeles. Chopsticks are sourced from hundreds of restaurants as well as locations such as shopping centres, airports and universities; in Vancouver alone ChopValue said it collects around 350,000 used chopsticks a week. “When you walk into a restaurant and you ask them to place a recycling bin for chopsticks, they still give you the exact same look as they gave me on day one,” said Böck. “I think it’s because it’s one of these little things that we neglect. But the moment someone reminds us of that problem that’s right in front of us, it creates that immediate Aha! moment.” Among the first companies to collaborate with ChopValue was Pacific Poke, a chain of restaurants based in western Canada. “We thought it was a great idea. We were like, why didn’t anyone else think of this?” said co-founder Dong Lam. “We’re selling a couple of hundred bowls a day so you can imagine how many chopsticks that adds up to over time.” The restaurant chain has become a fine example of the circular economy that ChopValue is seeking to foster, with most of its locations featuring artwork and tabletops made from chopsticks once used at the restaurant. At ChopValue, the focus is now on exporting their model. “We do want to mass produce, just on a local scale,” said Böck. His aim is a network of franchises where chopsticks could be sourced from local restaurants and transformed in nearby microfactories with the finished products sold locally. Currently the company’s products are sold on its website and through partnerships with retailers such as Nordstrom in the US. With each item comes a hint of its previous life, detailing the 886 chopsticks that went into making a butcher’s block or the 9,600 chopsticks used for a work-from-home desk. “We’ve made money since day one,” said Böck. “We obviously reinvested every dollar we made into growth because we feel that the responsibility right now is to expand the concept globally.” His hope is that ChopValue – and the “crazy idea” behind it – will prompt people to reconsider what they see as waste. “There’s this cheesy saying that every small action matters,” he said. “But I think we’re proving that in a fairly practical and exciting way.” Orginal Source