LEGO, the Danish company which is highly popular with both children and adults for its buildable plastic bricks, has taken the move to produce a new range of sustainable plastic pieces made from sugarcane. These are currently in production.
This week marked the unveiling of the world’s first plastic-free supermarket aisle. Dutch supermarket chain Ekoplaza has installed the trial aisle in its Amsterdam branch, and hopes to roll out similar aisles within its 74 other branches by the end of 2018.
The aisle features over 700 plastic-free products including fresh fruit and vegetables, sauces, meat, rice, snacks, cereal, yoghurt, and more. Those items that do require some kind of packaging have instead been packed in environmentally-friendly compostable biomaterials where appropriate, alongside more traditional glass, cardboard and metal.
While it doesn’t hit the headlines as much as plastic waste, textile waste is also a large problem for our planet – especially since the advent of ‘fast fashion’. In fact, in 2015 alone, the UK sent an estimated 1.1 million tonnes of textile waste to landfill. Most of that will have been unwanted, old or outgrown clothing.
The Food and Drink Federation’s (FDF) latest report has shown that UK-based food and drink companies had successfully reduced their carbon emissions in 2016 by 51 per cent since 1990.
An outdoor gym has recently opened in Tower Hamlets, east London, which has been constructed almost entirely from the metal of confiscated and surrendered knives and blades.
It is alleged that a large group of travellers has recently been illegally collecting waste from people who paid to have their waste removed, then fly-tipping it where they were parked up, near the Olympic Park in Stratford, east London.
Beverage retail giant, Coca-Cola Great Britain has released a new advert made using its 100 per cent recyclable bottles.
Entitled Love Story, the new advertisement follows the tale of two plastic bottles who are able to fall in love thanks to being recycled over and over again. The aim of the ad is to highlight the value of packaging, the importance of recycling, and to reinforce the fact that Coca-Cola’s packaging is 100 per cent recyclable and can therefore be recycled many times over.
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.
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.
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.