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How Ananas Anam is turning pineapples into trainers

Carmen Hijosa turns pineapples into trainers. And handbags, jackets, car seats and sofas. "Globally, you've got about 25 million tonnes of pineapple waste a year which is either burnt or left to rot," explains Hijosa, founder of London-based textiles startup Ananas Anam. "Pineapple leaves contain one of the finest cellulose fibres in existence, so I thought: Why couldn't we use these to make a leather alternative?" The process for making the textile, Piñatex, is intriguing. First, the leaves are fed through a decorticating machine which separates them into fibres and biomass. Then chlorophyll and plant gum are removed, leaving a fibre which is felted together into a non-woven mesh and given a protective coating. About 16 pineapples, or 480 leaves, are sufficient to make one square metre of the textile, which weighs four times less than leather, and at £18 per metre costs around 30 per cent less. "It's passed all the technical tests needed for footwear, bags and upholstery, which is the most stringent of all," says Hijosa. "It's really strong in stitching and it flexes very well. It's also fire-retardant. I've still got a couple of prototypes that I've been using for about four years." To date, Ananas Anam has made around 3,000 metres of Piñatex and has the capacity to create up to 100,000 metres per month. The company, which has raised £100,000 in initial funding, has attracted interest from 200 manufacturers, 30 of whom have subsequently placed orders. "It goes from niche vegan designers who want a good leather alternative, to fashion companies looking for something unusual, to big multinationals," says Hijosa, who recently won the Arts Foundation's 2016 Materials Innovation award. "This has never been tried or tested by anyone before, so it's a slow process, but you should be seeing the first Piñatex products by spring next year." Orginal Source

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Recycled plastic and ocean waste: the raw materials crafting 'green' furniture, glassware and textiles

A cassette tape lost on a beach 25 years ago was hauled out of the sea and made playable again by the University of Plymouth for an art exhibition, which amazingly, the original owner of the tape visited. It is a frightening illustration of the indestructibility of plastic in our oceans, “and the constant threat to the marine environment”, says Professor Richard Thompson, head of the international marine litter research station at the university. The window at Tottenham Court Road’s iconic homeware store Heal’s in W1 is festooned with fishing nets, and displaying is the super-slim Ocean chair by Mater of Denmark. This is a revamp of a Fifties model by the renowned design duo Nanna and Jørgen Ditzel, originally in wood and steel, now with flexible slats of recycled marine plastic, for £234. It’s part of a new edit at Heal’s called Recycled, Remade. “We are showing waste as today’s raw materials crafted into quality designs,” says Hamish Mansbridge, Heal’s chief executive. “We’ve included designs from PET bottles — hence the huge stash in the window — along with recycled glass and textiles, as well as ocean plastic.” The beautiful Canopy collection, including closed gardens and vases made from recycled glass by LSA International, was developed with the Eden Project for “hydration and propagation”. Prices from £20 to £39. Friends of the Earth waste campaigner Tony Bosworth, says: “All companies should ditch throwaway plastic and make long-lasting products that can be easily reused or recycled at the end of their life.” 'It must be beautiful as well as ethical' Heal’s has fabrics and rugs by Danish Ferm Living. “We have a strong design history in Denmark and sustainability is our priority,” says Ferm’s creative director, Trine Andersen. “Our new fabrics and rugs will take back into use around 270,000 plastic bottles a year.” Danish brands have good recycling track records. Kvadrat is making boards for furniture and construction from textile waste under the brand name Really, and a beautiful upholstery cloth called Re-Wool using scraps from UK yarn spinners. Lind DNA uses surplus leather from making furniture, bags and shoes, pressed together with natural rubber for tableware, mats and furniture. Fritz Hansen is using recycled plastic for a curvy new chair in seven colours by Japanese designer Oki Sato, founder/director of the design office Nendo. Orginal Source

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'On the cusp of a transport revolution': Green mobility projects secure £90m funding boost

Drones carrying medical supplies and phone apps to book buses could soon become a reality in the UK, thanks to £90m of government funding announced today to create a series of "future transport zones" up and down the country. The funding, which comes off the back of the government's Future of Mobility strategy last year, is to be shared across three innovative green transport projects in Portsmouth and Southampton, the West of England Combined Authority region, and Derby and Nottingham, the Department for Transport (DfT) said. Successful projects include trials of last mile delivery innovations, new public transport ticket booking platforms, and 'mobility hubs' to support and encourage take-up of public transport, bike hire services, car clubs, and electric vehicles. In addition, the DfT today launched a call for evidence on how to integrate burgeoning green transport technologies - such as electric scooters and mobility-as-a-service (MaaS) projects - onto UK roads, promising the "biggest shake up of transport laws in a generation". The review covers 'micromobility' vehicles, MaaS, and flexible bus services, and seeks views on whether certain low emission vehicles such as e-scooters should be permitted on UK roads, and whether existing rules need changing to take account of emerging clean transport services and technologies. The government said it was also exploring how to test emerging bus, taxi, and private hire vehicle services, which it said could make journey planning and payment simpler and more seamless. For example, legislation could introduce a minimum age, vehicle standards, and insurance requirements for e-scooters and their users, while regulations could be altered to make it easier for bus services to operate in a similar way to on-demand taxis or private hire vehicles, DfT explained. Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said the UK was "on the cusp of a transport revolution", and that the review could "pave the way for exciting new transport technology to be tested, cementing the UK's position as a word-leading innovator". "Emerging technologies are ripping up the rulebook and changing the way people and goods move forever," he said. "This review will ensure we understand the potential impacts of a wide range of new transport modes such as e-scooters, helping to properly inform any decisions on legalisation. Funding these new zones across the country will also help us safely test innovative ways to get around, creating a greener future transport system for us all." The proposals were welcomed by leading e-scooter hire firm Lime, which hailed the plans as "great news for UK towns and cities". "Shared electric scooters are a safe, emission-free, affordable and convenient way of getting around," said Alan Clarke, director of UK policy and government affairs at Lime. "They help take cars off the road with around a quarter of e-scooter trips replacing a car journey - cutting congestion and reducing air pollution. Lime operates shared dockless e-scooter schemes in over 100 locations globally and in 50 cities across Europe. We look forward to contributing to the government's call for evidence to develop clear rules and minimum safety standards to allow this environmentally friendly option to be made available and hope to participate in upcoming trials on UK streets." E-scooters are proving increasingly popular around the world, but the proposals could yet face some opposition with a number of commentators having questioned how safe the vehicles will prove on urban roads. The £90m funding announced today is earmarked for three projects across England, which join and another existing transport trial project in the Midlands, which had already secured support through the funding scheme. Among the funding winners today, the West of England Combined Authority plans to test the introduction of booking software to allow people to book one journey across multiple modes of transport at the click of a button, as well as a trial of self-driving cars to transport people between Bristol airport, central Bath and the city's Northern Arc area. Portsmouth and Southampton, meanwhile, have secured support to pilot smartphone app journey planning technology to find out how it could improve travel in car-dominated areas outside major cities, according to DfT. In addition, e-cargo bikes in cities are to be tested for last-mile deliveries, as are drones for deliveries of medical supplies, including between the Isle of Wight and hospitals on the mainland. And Derby and Nottingham have secured £15m to jointly invest in 'mobility hubs' to integrate and encourage more widespread uptake of public transport, bike hire, car clubs, and electric vehicles, the government said. The latest developments came as a new study released today by consultancy giant EY found that e-scooter company Voi Technologies has reduced emissions from its rentable e-scooters on average by 71 percent since launching the newest models in Paris in January last year. Orginal Source

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The Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) has relaunched an investigation into electronic waste and the circular economy

The committee is calling for written submissions on implementing a circular economy for electronic goods and the state of the UK’s electronic waste sector. The previous EAC began an inquiry on the same subject last June, collecting 51 submissions of written evidence and planning a programme of oral evidence hearings. However, as parliament was dissolved for the general election, the inquiry did not progress further. Electronic waste is the world’s fastest-growing waste stream, with around 50 million metric tonnes generated globally in 2018. This waste can contain hazardous substances that contaminate soil, water sources, and food supply chains It can also contain valuable, recoverable materials such as gold, silver, copper, platinum, and palladium. However, recycling rates are currently low, with most e-waste landfilled or incinerated. The UK missed its 2018 e-waste collection targets by 45,000 tonnes, and the target for 2019 has been set at 550,577, a 12% on 2018 levels. Philip Dunne, chairman of the Environmental Audit Committee, said: “From being woken by electronic alarm clocks and putting the kettle on, to working on laptops and messaging on our mobile phones, we are constantly using electric devices. “The desire to upgrade our devices continuously, coupled with the poor design of some products, is creating a growing mountain of electronic waste. “If the UK is to maintain its position as a world-leader in protecting the environment, we have to manage our e-waste better and make the transition to a more efficient circular economy. “This new inquiry will consider what consumers and industry can do to minimise e-waste and increase how much of it we resell or recycle. Orginal Source

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Bath council may fine those who refuse to recycle

Currently, 18% of people in the area do not recycle anything at all. Liberal Democrat council leader Dine Romero said: "We need to make sure people know the value of recycling, for both the planet and the council's own resources too." The new Climate Emergency and Sustainability Policy Development and Scrutiny Panel will be considered by the council next week. Its aim is to set out proposals to help the council work with residents to "achieve the national 65% recycling target by 2035". This would, the report says, make neighbourhoods "cleaner and greener", and deliver objectives of the climate and nature emergency. The council has kerbside collections for plastics, metals, clothing, paper, cardboard and food waste. At present, 58% of its waste is recycled - seven per cent off the national target. The authority is looking at other councils - Swindon, Mid Devon and Islington - which have said recycling was compulsory and then seen a noticeable increases in recycling rates. Those councils asked recycling crews to report on which households had "recyclable materials in the black bin" and which had "no or little recycling being presented". Ms Romero said a consultation was needed before any decision was made. She said: "At present, we don't know why these people aren't recycling. "It may be that they don't know they can recycle or have been misinformed." The report states: "It is important to be serious about the possibility of fining, but many of the councils [which have also considered this] have never issued any fines. "Further analysis shows that the first letter has always generated the most positive responses." Orginal Source

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Abu Dhabi to ban single-use plastic bags

The plan involves gradually phasing out the use of single-use plastic bags by 2021, as well as encouraging the use of sustainable alternatives and recycling measures. According to Gulf News, the new policy will be implemented in collaboration with various government and private stakeholders. It will involve removing 16 most common single-use plastics such as plastic cups, lids, cutlery, straws, stirrers and food containers, which account for the largest share of marine waste. Additionally, the scheme will introduce a plastic bottle return deposit scheme to remove them from circulation. EAD secretary-general Dr. Shaikha Salem Al Dhaheri said: “The launch of the single-use plastics policy reflects our steadfast commitment towards transitioning to a more sustainable economy that seeks to minimise waste and protect vital ecosystems in our environment. “By implementing this new policy, Abu Dhabi will be joining more than 127 countries around the world that have already taken measures to ban or limit the use of disposable plastic materials. “Our policy is aligned with international standards in order to make Abu Dhabi a pioneer in reducing the use of avoidable single-use materials by 2021.” Several local environmental groups have welcomed the move. Every year, the UAE uses around 11 billion plastic bags, according to a report presented in the World Government Summit in February last year. The figure equates to 1,184 plastic bags per person per year, significantly higher than the global average of 307. Orginal Source