Leeds recycling scheme to be introduced in several other cities

#LeedsByExample, a recent recycling project. A report was released by Hubbub in which an expansion of the scheme is to be taken place soon regarding the Leeds recycling scheme. Two new cities, Swansea and Edinburgh have already been confirmed in the expansion list along with a third city which will be introduced next year.

It will contribute hugely to the development of the improvement of environmental awareness of the people and will impact achieving environmental goals.

Hubbub is planning to create this campaign to more and more locations to spread awareness for the UK’s recycling schemes’ development. The campaign has been carried out with the banner “In The Loop”.

This campaign will have the option of an app named We-Recycle available for smartphones. It will be helpful for people looking for the nearest recycling points. It will be done through the help of a map and will be using barcodes.

Gavin Ellis, The co-founder and director of Hubbub said, “The huge range of eye-catching recycling bins and communications throughout Leeds city centre will make it really easy for residents, workers and visitors to spot their nearest recycling point.”

He further added, “We’re interested to discover which of these will make the biggest difference and will share what we learn openly so that the most successful elements can be rolled out in Leeds and nationally. We’re also making sure that all of the recycling we collect will be processed in the UK as locally as possible.”

The managing director of Ecosurety James Piper said, “A major part of the campaign was to clamp down on contamination.” He explained, “We’re aware that contamination from food and drink has been a challenge in efforts to date to improve on-street recycling.”

Mr Piper further added, “The communications campaign running alongside the new recycling facilities is a critical part of #LeedsByExample and we hope this will dramatically reduce the level of contamination so that more of the waste collected can be recycled.”

The Executive member of Leeds City Council for the environment Mohammed Rafique said, “With this pilot, innovative technology and interventions will be tested across our city.”

He continued, “I’m encouraging as many local businesses and organisations as possible to get behind this project so that together we can make a real impact on recycling rates in Leeds city centre.”

Some good changes have been observed after the scheme was implemented. As of the reports, 186 recycling points have been established since #LeedsByExample project that is being used to collect cans, coffee cups and plastics. Moreover, only 17 per cent of the people were recycling the drinking and food packages previously. But now the number has increased to an outstanding 49 per cent.

According to reports, 1.2 million coffee cups have been recycled. Along with that around 140,000 cans and 160,000 plastic bottles have also been recycled.

This move to roll out the campaign throughout the UK is a quite amazing decision which will be helpful in the long run to keep the environment safe and plastic-free.

According to recent reports, around half a million hermit crabs were killed due to plastic pollution

Crabs mistake trash for shells that have influenced the increasing number of deaths of hermit crabs. This is the reason according to scientists.
Study says, more than a half-million of hermit crabs were killed because of being trapped in the huge pile of plastic wastes. The huge pile of plastic waste around the beaches of pacific and Indian oceans is to blame for this horrific situation.

Researchers from the Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies (Imas) at the University of Tasmania, the Natural History Museum in London and the Two Hands Project which is a community science organisation carried out the research. They found one or two dead crabs in every square meter due to the plastic wastes.

According to the researchers, “The very mechanism that evolved to ensure hermit crabs could replace their shells, has resulted in a lethal lure.”

According to the pioneering study, “Around 508,000 crabs died on the Cocos (Keeling) Islands archipelago in the Indian Ocean, along with 61,000 on Henderson Island in the South Pacific.”

The research team searched for plastic containers and other plastic wastes around the Henderson and Cocos island. In one instance, they found a staggering 526 dead hermit crabs in a single container.

The situation gets worse because the crabs look for newly available shells from the recently deceased crabs. They try to track them down and eventually gets trapped in the plastic debris.

Dr Alex Bond is a senior curator at the Natural History Museum. He is also one of the report’s researchers. He described the situation, “The problem is quite insidious really because it only takes one crab.”

He continued, “Hermit crabs do not have a shell of their own, which means that when one of their compatriots die, they emit a chemical signal that says there’s a shell available, attracting more crabs… essentially it is this gruesome chain reaction.” He further added, “In the ocean, it entangles and is ingested by wildlife; on land, it acts as a trap, as we’ve seen, but can also be a physical barrier to species moving along the ground.”

The lead researcher Dr. Jennifer Lavers from the institute for marine and Antarctic studies at the University of Tasmania in Australia said, “High concentrations of debris are now being encountered on beaches around the world, many of which are also home to hermit crabs that can be expected to interact with plastic pollution in the same way as those we studied.”

She continues, “These results are shocking but perhaps not surprising.” She further added, “It is inevitable that these creatures will interact with and be affected by plastic pollution.”

Dr Bond says about the solution, “The solution is twofold”. He says, “The first is reducing our reliance on plastic in general. We can do some of that through, for example, using reusable drinking bottles. Equally a lot of these bottles that are already out in the ocean are a result of leaks in waste management systems. Secondly, we need to find those leaks and prevent that escape from proper waste management getting into the ocean.”

Failure on pretty much every aspect: Government condemned as UK set to miss key environmental goals

The UK will most likely fail to meet the targets set for 2020 that include tree plantation, water pollution, air pollution, renewable energy and recycling. In the next few years, the situation is not going to improve as far as the current reports are concerned. Despite the government’s continuous assertion, the pollution is far from being under control. 

 

A political campaigner at the Greenpeace UK Sam Chetan-Welsh says about this, “The government is failing to take sufficient action on pretty much every aspect of nature and the environment, despite endless promises to leave it in a better state than it found it. It’s set to miss more targets than an archer shooting blindfolded.” He added, “As rivers and air become more toxic, emissions and waste piles continue to rise, our oceans emptied of fish and countryside becomes devoid of wildlife, the government must be held to account for its failure to protect people’s health and nature.”    

 

The experts in the field worry that they will fail to meet even half of the target set for the UK by the year 2020. Many of the reports of the government show that they will be able to reach their target of carbon emission for the year 2019 to 2022. The initial target was for the year 2020 but because of shortcomings in several areas, it was extended to 2022. Still, they are concerned that they will miss the other major targets in the coming years. This implies that it would be impossible for the UK to even reach the goal for the year 2050. 

 

At present, not even half of all the rivers in the UK are in “good” condition according to the European standards. Only 35% of water bodies are in the “good” class that need to be improved.

One of the reasons behind this failure could be the budget cut that took place for Defra (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs). It seems that even after their high hopes to control the pollution in different areas and their promises to promote green issues, there has been very little implementation of those. According to the experts, UK households will not be able to recycle or reuse even 50 per cent of the wastes by the year 2020.    

 

According to the head of engineering at Newcastle University, professor Phil Taylor, “Achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions is necessary, feasible and cost-effective. But UK policy is still way off the mark and the foundations are not in place to be able to meet this target. Even with all the evidence before us, we are still opening new coal mines, extending Heathrow airport and pushing forward with fracking.”

He further added, “We have unambitious building regulations, and our drive to phase out petrol and diesel cars by 2040 is too late.”

 

The European Commission asked the UK in April to “make additional efforts to meet its emission reduction commitments”. DEFRA is positive to meet the 2030 air quality target. 

 

Sam Chetan-Welsh said, “This woeful track record demonstrates the importance of strong legislation and legally binding targets that keep the government on its toes. Yet the government’s proposed Environment Bill, which should do this, is riddled with loopholes that will sadly mean business as usual.” He continued, “It is imperative the new environmental watchdog is given true independence and sufficient powers to punish the government’s negligence, and that both long-term and interim targets are legally binding, forcing ministers to clean up their act.”

The rise in the price of recycled materials adds to the problem of plastic pollution

Plastic is such a material which is an indispensable part of our lives but has its share of problems. Since most of the plastics are not biodegradable, it is threatening for the environment. Its adverse effect, that is plastic pollution, is harming our environment in several ways. We are at a stage where it is inevitable to take necessary steps to reduce the pollution, otherwise many aspects of our environment will deteriorate.

 

Recycling is probably the most sensible way to tackle plastic pollution problem. Although recycling is in practice for a long time, it is not adequate to get rid of the conundrum. It is highly unlikely as far as the current cost of recycling materials are concerned. 

 

In recent times, there has been a drastic change in this area. For the first time, virgin plastic is cheaper than recycled plastic flakes. That means now, recycling is costing more than using virgin plastics. This situation is a matter of concern for many industries. Quite understandably, many of the large manufacturers are not willing to cut down their profits by trying to make their products from recycled plastics. This will imply a huge increase in their investment. That is why it is now easier and cheaper for large manufacturers to go for new plastic. Moreover, it will also be hard for these big manufacturers to change the types of machinery back to produce virgin plastics. On the other hand, the comparatively smaller manufacturers will have to stop plastic production from recycled materials. 

 

The economy of plastic recycling depends on two factors mainly. One is the price of raw materials and the other one is the cost in recycling or disposal of plastic wastes. The raw materials are used to produce virgin plastic. Whereas, the cost of the recycling and disposal process depends on the availability of recycling centres and disposal areas.

 

In Europe, a new strategy has been proposed in January 2018 for designing plastic products in a better way and to have the best quality recyclables. This will also result in a higher recycling rate. This infers more cost in manufacturing plastic products. According to the European market, it is estimated that a massive $250 million can be added to the production of plastic products due to the increase in the price of recycled plastics. This is the natural process of economics. Since recycling has been in practice for some time now, the demand is fueling the increase in overall cost. 

 

According to WWF, “In 2014, Britain produced 4.9 million tonnes of plastic waste. Two-thirds of it (67pc) was packaging and only 1.2 million tonnes (24pc) of that waste was recycled.” Recycling is increasing to fight plastic pollution and the cost is rising at the same time. Along with it, the reluctance of the big companies in using recycled plastics have contributed to the increase of new plastic use. That is why according to a recent plan, the UK will tax manufacturers not using 30% recycled plastics at least. Till that time, the cost of virgin plastic may be cheaper for packaging purposes. A plan to support recycle plastic is also in the queue. Coca-Cola, a huge manufacturer has plans to decrease its use of virgin plastics to half of the current amount. Moreover, they will also change the green colour of Sprite to clear so that it can be reused completely.    

 

To conclude, recycling along with reusing plastics can greatly contribute to meet the demand for plastics and reduce pollution.

Ban on several daily used plastic products to be in action from 6 April 2020

Single-use plastic products are set to be banned in 2020 by the UK and the European Union. These include plastic drink stirrers, cotton buds and plastic straws. Legislation has been developed in recent time, with draft legislation already published to ban the single-use plastics. In April 2018, Theresa May, the prime of that time announced the ban at first. It is supposed to be implemented on 6 April 2020 in England.

Probably the biggest contributor to plastic pollution is the single-use plastics. The plastics that are made for onetime use increase the number of plastics thrown at a very high rate. It will take some extra works and slightly extra cost. But it will all be contributing to a greater good, which is, reducing the number of plastics being dumped every day. For that, it is better to avoid the single-use plastics and try to be habituated with the alternatives to that. For example, Steel water bottle instead of plastic bottles, aluminium straw instead of plastic straw for coffee or drinks, stainless steel food container etc. This will decrease the use of plastic heavily since a huge number of items used daily will not have plastic.

So, the ban on plastic straws, stirrers and cotton buds is a good decision to tackle the plastic pollution problem. Although this ban is not applicable for some special cases according to the Defra legislation. For medical purposes, the plastic straws can be used and in forensic or scientific works, the use of cotton buds is also legal. Many people have appreciated the movement to have the exceptions in this law for the people who need it. About this exception, Lauren West, from Muscular Dystrophy UK said in a conversation with ITV, “Plastic straws are sometimes the only type of straw that works for disabled people due to their flexibility and ability to be used in hot and cold drinks.”

Environment secretary Michael Gove said in a statement, “Urgent and decisive action is needed to tackle plastic pollution and protect our environment. These items are often used for just a few minutes but take hundreds of years to break down, ending up in our seas and oceans and harming precious marine life. So today I am taking action to turn the tide on plastic pollution and ensure we leave our environment in a better state for future generations.

“It is estimated there are more than 150 million tonnes of plastic in the world’s oceans and every year one million birds and over 100,000 sea mammals die from eating and getting tangled in plastic waste.”

The CEO of Surfers Against Sewage, Hugo Tagholm says, “Stopping the production and distribution of these single-use plastic menaces will prevent them from polluting beaches nationwide. It’s a really positive and bold step in the right direction in the battle against plastic pollution.”

A political campaigner for environment group Greenpeace UK Sam Chetan-Welsh appreciated the move but also said that this is just “only scratch the surface”. He continued, “To really tackle the plastic crisis we need bigger bolder action from this government — including targets to radically reduce the production of single-use plastics and an all-inclusive deposit return scheme for drinks containers.”

Around 80 per cent and 90 per cent of the people welcomed the ban on plastic straws and plastic cotton buds, stirrers respectively. This move is estimated to decrease the use of straw from 4.7 billion per year to 44 million per year. Governments effort to save marine life and oceans is much appreciated.

Bottle return machines in Germany – every supermarket has one.

Good if we could have the same thing here in the UK.

Let’s learn from our European neighbours. We re-use carrier bags and it has now become part of our routine to take carrier bags to the supermarket to save money. Why can it not be part of our routine to take our empty glass and plastic bottles to the supermarket, along with our carrier bags to earn a financial incentive and develop motivation to recycle?

In Rome, you can now use public transport with money received from recycling plastic bottles – a double impact on the environment, not just recycling bottles, but encouraging the use of public transport!