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The Weekend magazine coming with the Saturday edition of the Guardian will now be packaged in a compostable wrapper

The Guardian stated that the change will increase production costs, but that feedback from readers has made the decision clear. The new wrapping has so far only been introduced in London, Kent, Essex, Hertfordshire, Norfolk and Suffolk, but will be rolled out across the entire country. The material used will break down in both industrial composting plants and garden compost heaps; it should not be placed in normal recycling bins or taken to plastic bag recycling points. Advice printed on the new compostable wrapping states that it can be disposed of in a well-maintained home compost heap, a garden waste bin or a food waste bin. However, this advice may not be relevant for every reader, as not all councils accept biodegradable or compostable plastics in their food waste bins. In fact, only councils whose food waste is processed at an industrial composting plant will be able to accept the wrappers in food bins. Many councils send their food waste for anaerobic digestion (AD), which sees the waste processed in the absence of oxygen – compostable materials need oxygen to break down Orginal Source

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What if plastic waste could be caught and removed before it drifted out to sea?

The Recycled Island Foundation and the Whim Architecture firm launched the Recycled Park Project in 2014 with the aim of catching plastic waste in Rotterdam’s New Meuse river before it enters the North Sea. Three floating litter traps with nets attached collect litter in the water while volunteers sweep the riverbank. The retrieved plastic is converted into hexagonal building blocks that have been used to build a floating island park in the river itself. The park is open to the community and filled with plants and benches, giving people a new green habitat to enjoy in the heart of the city. A 140 square meter prototype was opened to the public in July 2018. It’s hoped that five more plastic litter traps can be added to the river, creating an island of at least 190 square meters. If successful, similar islands could be built worldwide, with research ongoing in Indonesia. The River Meuse carries a huge amount of plastic waste, which is exposed after high tide on the river banks. By removing plastic from the river, the more costly and difficult job of removing it from the North Sea is avoided. Orginal Source

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Canary Wharf and HELPFUL launch recycling app

By downloading the HELPFUL app consumers will be able to scan their plastic waste and receive immediate feedback from the app, informing them where on the estate they will be able to recycle or reuse the plastic products. In return, they will receive a virtual reward “coin”, redeemable via QR codes on the recycling/reuse points, which they can then spend at participating retailers at the London site. Martin Gettings, group head of sustainability at Canary Wharf Group plc said: “This app is an incredibly useful tool for informing people about different plastics used in products, as well as highlighting where our Deposit Return Scheme, water refill stations and recycling points can be found on the Estate. Even better, HELPFUL enables customers to collect rewards online; in a future-thinking step we are using ‘gamification’ to make recycling fun. Utilising technology like this is a brilliant way to enable people to get involved, make a difference and be rewarded in doing so.” Evan Michaels, founder of the HELPFUL app said: “Working with Canary Wharf Group has been highly insightful and proven it is possible to tackle single-use plastic waste on a large scale. Orginal Source

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Industry Reacts to Defra’s Resource and Waste Strategy

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) mapped out its thinking as part of its new Resource and Waste Strategy. The producers of packaging will now be required to pay the full cost of collecting and recycling. There will also be charges for difficult to recycle packaging. The costs to retailers and producers could rise to between £500m and £1bn annually. The government has also announced that it will simplify the “existing complicated recycling system” with a plan for a consistent approach across England. While many of the announcements were expected, there was one surprise as Defra appeared to include “disposable cups” to be collected as part of a deposit return scheme. The proposed scheme is designed to also increase the recycling of single-use containers such as bottles and cans. Environment Secretary Michael Gove said: “We will cut our reliance on single-use plastics, end confusion over household recycling, tackle the problem of packaging by making polluters pay, and end the economic, environmental and moral scandal that is food waste.” The Packaging Federation’s chief executive Dick Searle said that the “devil will be in the detail” and that much of the hard work will begin once the consultation begins in 2019. He also warned that business “didn’t have a magical pot of money” to pay for producer responsibility reform. Searle said that there were signs that the government was listening to industry concerns and this was reflected through the proposed reform of the PRN system. However, he warned that there is still much work to be done and that prices may go up. “Whatever industry does, it will be reflected through consumer prices,” he added. “Also, where is the consumer’s role in all of this? None of these proposals will work unless consumers do their bit. If we want to live the way we do then everyone has to play their part.” Orginal Source

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Food waste champion to help redistribute surplus to needy

Ben Elliot, the co-founder of luxury lifestyle company Quintessentially, is to advise the Government on a £15m fund to support charities redistributing food waste following his appointment as ‘food surplus and waste champion’. Elliot was appointed by Defra in the wake of the resources and waste strategy. The department said the champion would “work with business leaders to ensure that this issue remains at the top of their agendas”. His first objective will be to oversee a £15m fund to help divert commercial and retail food from being wasted to people judged in most need. Elliot is also chair of the Quintessentially Foundation, which has worked with food redistribution charity the Felix Project. As part of his role, which lasts for one year and is unpaid, he will work with business leaders to support the Coutauld Commitment 2025. The fund will be launched this year and will cover 2019 to 2020. Environment secretary Michael Gove recently told the Environmental Audit Committee it had not yet been finalised that that he was “open to all ideas” on how the scheme should work. But he confirmed that it is intended for food distribution charities such as the Felix Project and FareShare, which would need to submit bids. He added: “At this stage we are looking at a particular partner which would then be responsible for giving the money to organisations that would bid for it.” According to WRAP, around 205,000 tonnes of food could be redistributed rather than going to waste Orginal Source

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City of London Trials UK’s First All-Electric Refuse Collection Vehicle

The 26-tonne truck, named ‘Electra’, runs on lithium-ion batteries and is designed for urban environments with short routes and can complete a full 10-hour shift. The trial is part of a wider fightback against air pollution in the Square Mile. Its governing body, the City of London Corporation, works with businesses to improve air quality through its City Air Programme. In January, it launched a cargo bike delivery scheme to help City firms tackle toxic air by shifting deliveries from diesel vans to cargo bicycles. It is pioneering a London-wide crackdown on drivers who leave their engines idling and its City Air app, which is used by 27,000 Londoners, gives users low pollution travel routes across the capital with advice and alerts when air pollution is high. The City of London explained that the trial will last for two months in the Smithfield area, and that the vehicle will also be trialled in two other UK cities later this year.