Scientists develop plastic-free microbead alternative

Scientists at the University of Bath have developed a plastic-free microbead alternative that won’t pollute our oceans.

Microbeads are manufactured solid plastic particles of less than 5mm in width, which are often found in beauty products such as body and facial scrubs, and toothpaste. These tiny plastic beads have met heavy criticism in recent years due to the fact that they slip through sewage filtration systems, ending up in our waterways and oceans, where they are innocently consumed by marine life and birds. In fact, a recent study estimated that nine in 10 of the world’s seabirds have plastic in their stomachs.

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How to live a zero waste lifestyle outside of a major city

I love reading zero waste blogs, and articles about zero waste advocates such as Bea Johnson. However, with enjoyment and admiration comes frustration at the zero waste lifestyle they all discuss being so difficult to achieve in smaller towns and cities which don’t often offer the option of purchasing an array of loose produce.

Certainly the town I live in doesn’t have anywhere dedicated to selling loose produce such as nuts, seeds, pulses, spices and household cleaning liquids. The local market sells loose fruit and vegetables, but that is where the line is drawn. Even if it did sell the loose items I required, the journey to and from the market wouldn’t be very earth-friendly as it is far away from my home and I couldn’t cycle with all my goods.

So, what do you do if your circumstances aren’t ideal for living a zero waste lifestyle? You try your best with the options you have available to you, because some waste reduction is better than no waste reduction. Try the below suggestions to cut your waste.

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Straws suck: UK pub chain clamps down on plastic straws

Peter Borg-Neal, the boss of UK pub chain Oakman Inns, was recently shown a YouTube video of a turtle having a plastic straw removed from its nostril, with the turtle in obvious pain and discomfort. This video had a huge impact on him personally and therefore on his business, too. Borg-Neal said:

“My response when I saw the video was the same as anyone else. It’s appalling and horribly unnecessary. Those straws simply should not be in the sea.”

In a direct reaction to the video he watched, Borg-Neal decided to restrict straw availability in his chain of 17 pubs, which had been collectively working their way through 100,000 plastic straws per month. He rolled out the campaign across the chain on 22nd April 2017, only giving out straws when they are requested; no longer giving them out automatically.

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Claim your free community litter pick kit

Street cleansing costs UK taxpayers almost £1 billion per year in England alone, and that is just the monetary cost of litter; it also impacts upon community wellbeing and mental health, wildlife, local business, tourism, wildlife, and the environment. Furthermore, it encourages other anti-social behaviour.

Despite the best efforts of local councils, there are still many spots around Yorkshire (and further afield) where litter builds up – after all, 62% of people in England drop litter, although only 28% admit to it, and councils have a budget to work within. However, 57% of people in England feel that litter is a problem in their area. Is it an issue in your area?

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Aldi fights food waste with improved packaging

Aldi has unveiled new fresh produce packaging, which features tips on maximising shelf life and cutting food waste at home.

This news comes following the January 2017 announcement that UK households wasted 7.3 million tonnes of food in 2015. This figure was higher than previous years, meaning food waste at home is on the rise despite Government pledges to cut it. WRAP encouraged retailers to make changes following January’s annoucement, and this packaging change is Aldi’s response.

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Pubs told to shrink plate sizes in battle against food waste

In a country that is currently throwing away £13bn of food at home each year, many suggestions are being made on how to tackle the issue of wasted food. This figure doesn’t even consider the food waste created outside of the home, which is an equally large problem faced by the UK, and one being investigated currently.

Waste Resources Action Programme (WRAP) has been advising MPs, who are investigating how to cut food waste figures in the UK, and have suggested that pubs serving carveries should switch to smaller plate sizes.

Meals at pub carveries are sold at one set price for adults and are often self-serve, which leads people to fit as much food on their plate as possible, to get the best ‘value for money’ – or just because their eyes are bigger than their stomach, as suggested by Labour MP Angela Smith. More often than not, this results in leftovers of good food on plates, which then end up in the bin.

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How one woman cut Denmark’s food waste by 25%

In Denmark, one woman has been credited by the Government for single-handedly helping the country to cut its national food waste by 25 per cent in just five years.

Selina Juul, who moved to Denmark from Russia when she was 13-years-old, has always had an interest in the environment, sustainability and global responsibility. Viewing food waste as disrespectful, Juul set up a Facebook page in 2008 called ‘Stop Wasting Food’ (Stop Spild Af Mad, in Danish), and just one week later she was a national figure.

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